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! In this Montgolfier Reenactment, see how the 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 with EpicScience 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 for making Bag Balloons.

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).

Grown-ups can get up to speed with this Stop Motion Video for Kids.

Up-an-coming young directors can get started by watching Easy Stop Motion Animation from TinkerLab.

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 I Fly Hot Air Balloons from Reading A-Z about real-life balloon pilot, Dan Saul. See pictures of how everything works in his balloon!

Still have questions? Hear more from Young Pilots Fueling the Future of Hot Air Ballooning. Elijah Sánchez, a 19-year-old from Albuquerque, New Mexico, started to fly at age 15. He explains how to get a real balloon pilot’s license!

Make a “Despicable” Character Balloon

Learn how a specialty hot air balloon is created at the world-famous balloon-making factory, Cameron Balloons with their Despicable Me 2 Balloon Production Story.

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

Check out 40 Paper Mache Balloon DIYs for more shape ideas and patterns.

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 the Hot Air Balloon episode of The Fixies. (11:32-17:11)

Use what you’ve learned to complete the Hot Air, Cold Air Science Activity from Learning4Kids.

**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 The World’s First Solar-Powered Balloon Flight.

Now make your own Solar Balloon from!

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 on Jonathan Trappe’s Cluster Balloon blog!

Now let’s recreate the Up experience! Try out Science Sparks’ experiment: How Many Helium Balloons To Lift a LEGO Man. 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 New Horizon’s Hot Air Balloon Ride guided meditation to imagine your own adventure. Close your eyes and follow along with the story. What do you hear and imagine on your journey? Draw what you remember after the story. 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 story?

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! Watch as Hundreds of Lanterns are Released into the Sky at the End of the Lunar New Year Celebration.

Make your own miniature version of a sky lantern with TinkerLab’s Flying Tea Bag Hot Air Balloon activity. Ask your favorite grown-up for help. Don’t forget to write down your wish for the year on your tea bag before launch!