Flying: By balloon

This learning block represents one week’s work. Aim to watch at least one video and choose at least one activity or project to complete. 

There are two videos to choose from about hot air balloons. The first one is better for younger kids, the second one will appeal to older kids. Feel free to watch one, or both!

Meet a Hot Air Balloon Captain

Captain Smiles is the first black woman hot air balloon pilot. She flies in Africa.

Now choose an Activity

Warm Air Rises

Hot air balloons need nothing more than hot air to make them fly.  Here are two experiments that explore rising hot air.

When air is heated, it rises upward. When it cools, it falls. In this experiment, we will heat and cool the air in the bottle with the water and observe what happens. 

For the experiment you will need:

  • an empty plastic bottle
  • a balloon
  • a container filled with hot water
  • a container filled with cold ice water


  1. Put the empty balloon opening onto the top of the empty plastic bottle.
  2. Place the empty bottle with the balloon on it into the cold water and observe.
  3. Move the cold bottle into the hot water for a few minutes and observe what happens.
  4. Move the bottle out of the hot water and back into the cold water. Watch to see what happend to the balloon.


Homemade hot air balloon using candles

This is a project that uses fire from candles to lift a homemade balloon. It is really fun to see. Do no attempt this at home without an adult. Fire is very dangerous. 


Draw a Hot Air Balloon

Watch this video on how to draw a hot air balloon color wheel. Then make your own. 

You need:

  • Marker
  • Ruler
  • A Circle Object, like a lid from your recycling bin
  • Crayons, markers, or water color paint

You can use this drawing for the next activity of labeling the anatomy of a hot air balloon.


Parts of a Hot Air Balloon

Watch this video and pay attention to the main parts of a hot air balloon. Then add labels to your drawing. 

The main parts include:

  • Envelope
  • Vent
  • Burner
  • Basket
  • Skirt

Books About Hot Air Balloon Flying

Click on a book to buy it from Amazon, or you can ask for them at your local library. Lighter than Air and Hot Air are picture books. Freddy and the Perilous Adventure and Around the World in 180 Days are chapter books.

Lighter than Air Read Aloud

Hot Air Read Aloud

Advanced Projects

Further exploration for the older learners. Choose a project below or complete your own project to add to your portfolio.

Compare The Aeronauts Movie with History

The Aeronauts is a modern movie based on history. The full movie can be found on AmazonPrime Video. After watching the video, create a powerpoint or google slides presentation comparing some of the events in the movie with history.  Which facts did the movie depict accurately? Which ones were fictional? Which ones were left out altogether? 

Consider questions like:

  • Who (the person, people, or communities involved)
  • What (what did they do differently)
  • When (timeline of figures or events, think about the context of what else was going on in the community or world and the influences that exist)
  • Where (Where did this happen?)
  • Why (Why did this happen? Why did people act the way they did? Why did it matter then? Why does it matter now? Why should we care?)

Include your presentation in your portfolio. Write a description and then provide a link.

Create a Hot Air Balloon Festival Newspaper

Hot air balloon festivals happen all around the world. Create a mini newspaper with three short articles and at least one advertisement based on one of these festivals. Use a free newspaper template tool for Google Docs to make your newspaper look professional.

Include your finished copy in your portfolio.

NOw Let’s Have some fun!