Balloon Rocket

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If you checked out our Fun with Flight Kiwi Crate adventure, then you saw Travis and I made an indoor balloon rocket. We wanted a chance for a repeat outside, and decided it merited its own blog!

This time we made a few significant changes. First, we stretched our string between two fence posts, allowing for a longer space for our “rockets” to fly.

The next innovation was a wide straw (look for “milkshake straws” at the grocery store). This flies much more smoothly come time to launch! Thread the straw onto one end of your string.

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Blow up a balloon – but do not knot – and tape it to the straw. Release the balloon and watch it fly.

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This was just so beautiful outside in morning sunlight, too!

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“3, 2, 1, Go!”


Straw Rockets

Straw Rocket (8)Travis and I have been launching all kinds of things lately, from marshmallows to disks. Today, we made little rockets that could have races!

Cut squares of construction paper that are 3 inches x 3 inches. Make as many of these as you’ll want rockets.

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Wrap each piece of paper around a straw, making sure it is loose enough to fly off the straw when needed. We secured these with tape.

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Although there’s no need to, it was fun to add decorations. Travis soon was swirling pipe cleaners into all kinds of creations!

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I helped with one that was recognizably a “rocket,” as well as a few silly ones. Definitely have fun with these; we even had a little alien with googly eyes.

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We used hot glue to affix our pipe cleaner creations to our paper pieces. Now our rockets were ready to launch!

Lift the straw to your lips and blow, and see how far it flies.

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You can even turn it into a race, and see whose rocket flies furthest.

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Marshmallow Launcher Redux

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Every once in a while, it’s fun to repeat an activity at one- or two-year intervals, and see the differences in the way your children play at different ages. Travis and I first made a marshmallow launcher nearly two years ago, but with some extra Dandie’s marshmallows in the pantry, today we decided to do a repeat!

First, cut the bottom from a few paper cups, one for each launcher you want. At nearly 5 years old, Travis can handle the scissors himself, unlike at age 3!

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I tied the end of a balloon into a knot, then had Travis help snip off the top of the balloon.

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Stretch this balloon over the cut end of the cup, and secure with an elastic.

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Place 1 marshmallow in the cup; pull down on the knot of the balloon and release. Boom!

Needless to say, we soon had marshmallow bombs all over the apartment, and an eager little boy who had to run and grab all the ammo.

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For some experimentation, we tested what happened when we put multiple marshmallows inside, but unsurprisingly, they didn’t launch as far. Then we tried to hone our aim, using some unwitting Ninja Turtles as target practice. Here’s a quick clip:

All in all, what fun!

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Making a Rocket

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An extra mailing tube from the post office spurred this idea, and turned out to be a huge hit.

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To turn a simple mailing tube into a rocket, the first thing you’ll need to do is paint it silver using a metallic acrylic paint. Travis has his own agenda more and more these days, a busy three-and-a-half year old. He normally isn’t so into painting, but when I told him we were using “big boy paint” (i.e. non-washable) like real astronauts, he leaped to the task!

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Cut two fins for the rocket from cardboard and paint those as well. Let dry completely.

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For the flames of the rocket, you can trim lengths of orange and red fabric into strips, hot glue the edge of the fabric onto plastic piping, and insert into the bottom of your rocket. Or you take a vast short-cut, cut strips of orange and red construction paper, and glue them in. Yup, we went the simple way!

As the final step, I hot glued the two cardboard fins to the body of the rocket, and then made the cap. Cut a piece of shiny craft paper into a circle, and cut out 1/4 of the circle. Fold into a cone, and hot glue onto the top of the rocket.

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As soon as the glue was cool, it was Travis’s toy to zoom, and oh boy was he exited!

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It was his suggestion that we launch the rocket off a launch pad, so we repurposed an old cardboard box as our launch site.

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Definitely a big hit with this three-nager.