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Make a Balloon Hovercraft


A hovercraft is a vehicle that can travel over water or land without touching the surface. Have you ever wondered how hovercrafts work? They use a cushion of air to float above the ground. You can make your own hovercraft at home with just a few simple materials! 

Balloon hovercraft

What To Get: 

  • A CD or DVD 
  • A pop-top bottle cap (such as the kind found on liquid dish soap) 
  • A balloon 
  • Strong glue or packing tape 


What To Do: 

  1. If you’re using a CD, flip it over so that the shiny side is facing up.  
  2. Center the bottle cap over the center of the CD or DVD. 
  3. Glue or tape the bottle cap in place. Be sure to seal all around the edges of the cap so no air leaks. 
  4. Make sure the bottle cap is in the closed position. 
  5. Blow up the balloon, and pinching the neck of the balloon to keep the air from escaping, stretch the neck of the balloon over the top of the bottle cap. 
  6. Let go of the balloon and carefully open the bottle cap to see it move! 


The Science Behind the Experiment: 

The balloon pushes air out of the bottle cap, creating a cushion of air under the hovercraft. This cushion of air keeps the hovercraft from touching the ground, so it can float over any surface. 

You can experiment with different sized balloons and different amounts of air pressure to see how it affects the speed and movement of your hovercraft.  


Scientists Ask Questions: 

  • What happens when you use different sized balloons? 
  • What happens if the bottle cap is not tightly sealed to the CD or DVD? Does any escaping air affect the stability? 
  • What surfaces work best for your hovercraft? 


Hovercrafts are a great way to learn about science and engineering. They’re also a lot of fun to play with. Get creative and experiment with different designs to see what you can create. 


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