Birthday balloons

The small boy recently turned three!  It's hard to believe that three years ago he was a tiny newborn when now he's so full of his own ideas about how to do things (often not the way you or I would go about them...).  He asked for a birthday cake with an astronaut, the moon, Earth, Mars and Venus.  It was with some trepidation that I showed him the cake I made (particularly as he mentioned having a rocket on his cake a few minutes beforehand), but thankfully he loved it!

3rd birthday cake, complete with astronaut on the moon

The following day we had a lot of fun with his (air-filled) birthday balloons with a bit of science involved.  The first thing we did was to play with static electricity.  We rubbed the balloon on his hair to transfer some electrons and make it charged, and then waved it around above his head to make his hair stick up on end. He briefly enjoyed seeing his hair moving in the mirror, but had far more fun using his brother as a test subject.  The smaller one was surprisingly obliging and it worked nicely with his fine hair!  We briefly talked about how the balloon and hair were oppositely charged and attracted to each other, which he already knew something about thanks to Maddie's Do You Know (I think it's the episode where they cover a watering can in powdered paint).  There are more fun things that you can do with balloons and static, but these can wait for a future year's birthday balloons.

Baby brother's hair is attracted to the charged balloon

The next fun activity with our balloons was when we deflated one and blew it up as big as it would go before letting it fly round the room like a rocket.  This was a huge hit with both boys, and we spent almost an hour repeatedly inflating the pink balloon, counting down to 'take off' (if ever there was a good way to teach counting backwards from ten to zero, this is it!) and watching it zooming around the room.  We talked a bit about why it worked, and showed how it was hard to blow the balloon up because you are squashing the air in so it is at a higher pressure and 'wants' to escape, and that when the air comes out, it pushes the balloon forwards.  But mostly we just had fun with a pink balloon rocket, trying to catch it, predict which way it is going to go and retrieve it from behind various pieces of furniture!

The last set of birthday balloons stayed inflated for over a month, so hopefully we've got several more days of balloon-related fun to enjoy.