On a long rainy day at home, you could let your kids stare out the window and moan about being bored, or you can help them find hours of entertainment in their own arts and crafts projects. One project that can be made from common household items is a balloon-powered race car. This project will keep kids occupied for hours: First in building the cars, and then in racing them.
The materials required for one race car include four plastic lids from soda or water bottles, a straight straw, a bendable straw, a rectangle of corrugated cardboard measuring 15 cm by 10 cm, two bamboo skewers, a balloon, a rubber band, masking tape, scissors, plasticine and colored pencils. Adults will also be required to use a hand drill in the construction of this project.
Adults can start the construction process by drilling a hole in the center of each plastic bottle cap. The hole should be just big enough to fit the bamboo skewer through. Kids can then take over the process at this point.
Cut the straight straw in half and tape half of it to the front of the cardboard rectangle and the other half to the back of the rectangle. Thread the skewers through the straw to make the axles and place the bottle caps on the end to make the wheels. Use the plasticine to keep the wheels in place. Cut the long end of the bendable straw so that it is the same length as the short end. Place the neck of the balloon over one end of the bendable straw and fasten it in place with the rubber band. Tape the straw to the flat side of the cardboard so that the balloon falls over the length of the car and the straw hangs over the end.
To propel the car, inflate the balloon and pinch the neck closed. Place the car on a flat surface and release the neck. As the air escapes the balloon, it will propel the car forward. If you make more than one car, you can race them.
Tracy Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Arkansas.