3-2-1 blast off! What happens when you use a balloon to power Santa’s sleigh? Will he make his rounds in time or will he fall flat? The kids are going to love this super easy to set up Santa STEM balloon rocket physics activity that is not only awesomely fun but also explores physics and the Laws of Motion! Homemade science and STEM ideas are perfect year-round and especially fun when you add holiday themes.
SIMPLE SANTA STEM BALLOON ROCKET PHYSICS ACTIVITY!
This is an awesome STEM activity for filling an afternoon, turning off the screens, and getting the kids up and moving while learning some great physics.
The supplies are simple, and you probably have everything you need in the junk drawer. You can use our sleigh printable or let the kids draw their own. That might keep them busy just a bit longer too. I am pretty sure my son would add jet boosters the next time.
The science behind it is awesome, and I love that you can explore physics (think Newton) with such a playful activity that really gets the kids involved. Hands-on learning is an excellent way to really help kids understand what’s happening and to be a part of the learning process.
A STEM challenge like this Santa STEM activity is an excellent way to learn about the design process that goes along with engineering ad also to learn about the science behind what they see happening.
Make sure to also check out: More Christmas STEM Ideas!
SANTA STEM BALLOON ROCKET PRINTABLE PAGES
Below you will find a printable set of sleighs, a printable design process flow sheet, and also a holiday-themed STEM journal page. Make sure to also check out our Build Santa a Sleigh STEM Challenge for another great afternoon of fun.
Make sure to check out even MORE CHRISTMAS PRINTABLE ACTIVITIES!
- Sleigh Image (or draw your own)
SANTA STEM BALLOON ROCKET SET UP
Let’s get Santa’s sleigh balloon rocket set up to fly! You will need some space and two objects to tie the string to in a room. If you live someplace warm, you can even take it outside.
First, cut out the sleigh or design your own. You can use ours as an outline of the kids want to color and decorate their own.
Next, cut the length of the straw and feed the string through the straw.
Then you will want to tape or tie either end of the string to go across a room. You can set up two chairs and tie the string to the chairs. Use a doorknob or whatever works in your area.
Next, you want to blow up the balloon and fill it with potential energy! Use the clothespin to hold the balloon closed, so you have time to get it set up perfectly.
Then you will want to tape the balloon below the straw. Make sure the straw moves freely. This is a good opportunity for problem-solving with the kids.
Don’t forget your sleigh! You want to tape the sleigh graphic to the side of the balloon!
Lastly, make sure the balloon is all the way on one side of the string. You can get a stopwatch or timer ready if you really want to make it official and collect data!
Now for the big moment! It’s time to release the clothespin and let Santa’s sleigh fly!
What happened or didn’t happen? Now is a great time to evaluate the activity and make sure everything happened like you hoped it would. If your balloon rocket didn’t work, what else can you try? Re-test and re-evaluate, that’s the best part of this Santa STEM activity!
SANTA’S SLEIGH BALLOON ROCKET SCIENCE
So how exactly does Santa’s sleigh get its go? It’s all about the thrust and Newton’s Third Law of Motion that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
Let’s start with thrust. You blow up the balloon, so now it’s filled with gas. When you release the ballon the air/gas escapes creating a forward pushing motion called thrust! Thrust is created by the energy released from the balloon.
Then, you can bring in Sir Isaac Newton. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. This is the third law of motion. When the gas is forced out of the balloon it pushed back against the air outside the balloon which then pushes the balloon forward!
Kids will love testing out this science concept over and over again, and you can easily turn it into an experiment for the older kids. Test out different shaped balloons, change the angle of the string or the type of string, play around with the straw!
Try a sleigh race and set up two strings. Have the kids race their balloon rockets!
SANTA STEM BALLOON ROCKET PHYSICS ACTIVITY FOR KIDS
Also, make sure to check out this Santa STEM challenge too! Click on photo.