BALLOON POWERED LEGO CAR – STEM ACTIVITY
A year back we had a toy car that we had purchased from a local toy store – the toy car that is balloon driven. All you need to do is blow the balloon and let it the end free, as the gas moves out the car, it starts moving. Everything in the toy car is already set, all that we have to do is just blow the balloon. We did a DIY version of the toy – “Balloon powered Lego car”
Why we did this? Sometimes I really wonder at Chintu’s memory, he recalls even the simplest things. Last night when we got to bed, he started to talk about this balloon toy car that we had – and obviously a tantrum asking for the toy. Hence, we did a DIY version today, which is totally cool.
Things Used to make Balloon Powered Lego Car:
- Lego blocks
- Lego wheels
How to play with the Balloon Powered Lego car?
- Let the child build his car using the Lego blocks and Lego wheels
- Once the car is built, help your child to build a hole through which the balloon can stick through.
- Now slowly blow the balloon and hold the end tight – place the car on the floor
- Release the end that your holding, and watch the car move.
The trickiest thing is in how the child constructs the car – the design is very important.
We had a few trail and error on the design of the car, not every car that Chintu build moved successfully, so we had to work on the design, some serious engineering skills.
Few things that we analysed is that: there has to be a balance maintained in the car that is built, a flat car works , a flat long car works, tall cars dint work for us, may be it needs better balancing , I don’t know, also we had only few blocks with us, if you have a Lego collection do try different designs. We will be trying more designs in the future.
The hole that you build for the balloon has to be in the right size – the balloon will fall out if the hole is too big, the balloon won’t let out air if it’s into a really small hole (if the balloon is stuck between two holes) – so everything has to be looked into.
Things that you can try and experiment on:
- Work on the design and watch the change it brings in the movement/speed of the car – the height, length, weight.
- Try on different surfaces and observe the movement/speed of the car
- The distance and speed in which the car travels on different conditions
- The size of the balloon: blow the balloon bigger, smaller – what change does it bring? observe.
- Try different types tyre, place the tyre in different positions and see what happens.
There are a lot of variants that you can work on – especially with older kids you can discuss so many things, work and learn new things – this is a simple activity with so much to learn.
We worked on different surfaces and a little bit on the design – (just figured out what car design works for us). We decided to work on more design in the upcoming days, will definitely share more details when we try them.
Another thing that we figured out today is that the balloon has to be opened up on the back of the car, Chintu designed a car where both the front and back looked the same – he said “simple and easy ma, it is balanced now, try out”, and it worked. So just make sure that the balloon is not opened up on the front.
Finally, our observation on the car moving on different surfaces:
- Smooth Tiles: longer distance and good speed
- Rough Tiles: longer distance and good speed
- Bubble wrap: very short distance and very slow
- Carpet: short distance and slow
These are the four surfaces that we tried today, its was a fun learning for us. Will share more details when we work on the other variants.
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