Balloon Car

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Build a car that runs on air. Using household materials, experiment with the power of air to create thrust powerful enough to move a homemade car. This activity allows you to explore a range of science topics including Newton’s Third Law, simple machines, and friction. Newton’s Third Law states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. If you let go of a balloon filled with air, what happens? [Activity is publicly available through a web crawler capture on Activity write-up only, images are unavailable.]

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Learning Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per student

Age Range:
Ages 4 - 11

Resource Type:


Materials List (per student)

  • Half-Gallon Milk Carton
  • Balloon
  • 2 Drinking Straws
  • 4 Spools
  • 4 Straight Pins (length must be shorter than spools’ diameter)
  • Sharp Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Pen


  • Physical Sciences
    • Energy
      • Potential and Kinetic Energy
      • Energy and Power
      • Work and Machines
    • Motion and Forces
      • Machines
      • Momentum and Velocity
      • Acceleration
      • Projectile Motion
      • Newton's Laws
    • States of Matter
      • Gases

Informal Categories

  • Model Building
  • Toys
  • Transportation


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • be mobile
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Access Rights:

  • Free access


Source Collection

  • TryScience