Hot Air Balloons

Explore the wonderful world of Hot Air Balloons! Click to the playlists to travel to a set of videos that put you high in the sky with balloon pilots, or choose one of the challenges listed in the choiceboard below. STEAMventures await!

Video Playlists

Digital Choiceboard

Flip over the tiles to discover crafts, experiments and more! Choose as many as you like.

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Make a Hot Air Balloon At Home!

Check out how the first balloon ever flew back in 1783! The Montgolfier Brothers burned straw below an open envelope. The hot air from the fire made the balloon rise for a short time.

Make a mini-hot air balloon and watch it rise. You just need a plastic bag, a hairdryer and straws!

Bonus: For more instructions and a slightly different twist on the experiment, check out NASA’s activity guide.

Make Your Own LEGO movie!

Do you love LEGO movies and wonder how they are made? Learn to make your own stop animation video! We recommend the Stop Motion Studio app (available for iOS and Android)

Intro video for grown-ups:


Bonus: Ask family members to create their own balloon builds to add to the scene. It’s a family balloon fiesta!

Want to Be a Balloon Pilot?

What questions do you have for a balloon pilot? Talk to your favorite grown-up about your ideas. Then read this short book about real-life balloon pilot, Dan Saul. See pictures of how everything works in his balloon!

Still have questions? Hear more from Elijah Sánchez, a 19-year-old from Albuquerque, New Mexico. He started to fly hot air balloons at age 15. He’ll tell you what to do to get a real pilot’s license!

Make a “Despicable” Character Balloon

See how a specialty hot air balloon character is created at the world-famous balloon-making factory, Cameron Balloons. Watch how a “Stuart” balloon from Despicable Me is designed and made.

Now make your own character balloon! Draw or paint your design onto the balloon or build out the shape like you would a piñata.

See more shape ideas and patterns here:

Experiment with the Secrets Behind Hot Air and Cold Air

Learn more about the importance of hot air vs. cold air in flying balloons. Which type of air is lighter? Why?

To find out, watch this episode of the tv show, The Fixies. (11:32-17:11)

Use what you’ve learned to complete the “Hot Air vs. Cold Air Experiment.”

**Use the same materials as the “Baking Soda Balloon” experiment

Make a Real Solar Balloon

Did you know that solar balloons exist? Balloons can fly with air heated by the sun. Check out this real solar balloon.

Now make your own solar balloon!

Love the movie, Up? This activity is for you!

Did you know that the movie, Up, was inspired by real-life people that have flown through the air tied to huge bunches of helium balloons? Check out these lighter-than-air journeys from people around the world!

Now let’s recreate the Up experience! How many helium balloons do you need to lift a brick person? Or a brick house? Grab your favorite grown-up, make your guesses and test with your bricks!

Listen and Draw: Imagine Your Own Hot Air Balloon Journey

Listen to this song that captures the feeling of flying in a hot air balloon. Close your eyes and listen to the music. Draw the journey that inspires you! Ask a friend or favorite grown-up to join you. Share your pictures with each other. What is similar or different about your pictures after listening to the same song?

Sky Lanterns: The Oldest Hot Air Balloons in the World

Where did the simplest form of a hot air balloon or lantern come from? Learn the story behind sky lanterns as a tradition across Asia.

Check out the Taipei, Taiwan Sky Lantern Festival!

Make your own miniature version of a sky lantern. Ask your favorite grown-up for help. Don’t forget to write down your wish for the year on your tea bag before launch!