Balloon Cars

Overview of Activity

Make a car powered by a balloon.

Equipment Needed

  1. Cardboard that doesn’t bend easily (not Amazon boxes) or 3 pieces of cereal box stuck together
  2. 2 coloured drinking straws (for the axels)
  3. 1 large bore clear straw (for use with the balloon)
  4. 2 wooden kebab skewers
  5. 4 plastic bottle caps
  6. Balloon
  7. Duct tape or masking tape or sellotape
  8. Sharp knife
  9. Scissors
  10. Tape measure


  1. Cut out a length of cardboard to be the body of your car.
  2. Tape the 2 coloured straws to the base of the cardboard at either end. It doesn’t matter if they stick out either side a little but you may wish to trim them.
  3. Make 4 holes in the bottle tops with the kebab skewers. Push them through to the widest part of the skewer to make sure the hole is big enough.
  4. Very carefully with the knife, cut the pointed end off the skewer and trim to size.
  5. Push the skewers through the straws and then through the holes in the bottle top wheels.
  6. Check that they spin like wheels should do.
  7. Next, stretch out a balloon by blowing it up and then letting the air out of it a few times. This is quite important as it makes it much easier to blow the balloon up when it is attached to the car.
  8. If you are using a small balloon insert the clear straw into the mouth of the balloon and seal the opening by wrapping some tape around it several times.
  9. If you are using a larger balloon you may wish to fix the balloon over the neck of the sports bottle lid as this makes it easier to keep the air in the balloon.
  10. To mount the balloon and straw/sports lid on the car simply tape it to the top of the cardboard with the straw/sports lid overhanging the back of the cardboard.
  11. If the straw/lid doesn’t overhang then it will almost impossible to blow up the balloon.
  12. Find a hard surface like a long table or floor.
  13. Blow up the balloon through the straw/sports lid at the mouth of the bottle.
  14. Pinch the base of the balloon to prevent the air from escaping too soon if using a straw. If using the sports lid, simply push it closed.
  15. Set the car down, let go of the balloon or pull the lid open, and watch it go!
  16. Use the tape measure to see how far it has gone.
  17. Now you know it works the next step is to….PIMP YOUR CAR! How awesome can you make it look? But remember to leave room for the balloon to blow up into!

The video uses a drill to make the holes in the bottle lids. The lids we have provided should only need a firm push in the centre from the pointed end of the skewer to make a hole.

Using the sports lid pictures:


Risk Assessment

Leader in charge:

Hazard Identified/Risks
from it?
Who is at
How are risks already controlled?
What extra controls are needed?
Craft equipment, Is it appropriate for the activity?AllCheck that the tools and equipment provided are in good enough condition, appropriate for
the planned activity, and the right size for everyone taking part. For example, do scissors need to have pointed blades? Would a safer adhesive work? Should the task be done on a table? Is PPE (such as eye protection or gloves) required? Make sure there’s enough space between participants.
Sharp items, Injuries from mistakes or misuse.AllAdult to supervise young people when they’re using sharp items. Brief young people on using the sharp item safely before they use it.
Latex allergiesAllConsider using non latex alternatives where people may have a latex allergy