Dippy at Home - Make your own Mini-hovercraft

Type:Indoor

2 completed balloon hovercrafts

About

Suitable for: children aged 5-11.

One of the main themes of Dippy on Tour is sustainable futures. We're going to have to find sustainable types of energy in the future, so why not have some fun with wind power today and make your own mini-hovercraft? Scientists believe that when Dippy passed wind there was enough in one bottom burp to fill a hot air balloon, but you won’t need that much today.

How to make your mini-hovercraft

What you'll need:

• An old DVD or CD - please don’t use one that you’ll want to use again
• A pop-up sports bottle cap from a recycled plastic sports drinking bottle.
• Blu Tack or modelling clay. If you have a glue gun that would work too.
• Balloons (1 per hovercraft) – you can use different balloons and see if it affects your craft.

Instructions:

1. Take your pop-up bottle cap and check it's airtight when closed. To test this, close the cap and blow through it - you should not be able to feel any air on your hand.

2. Make sure your pop-up cap is closed so that the air cannot escape. Fix the base to the disc using Blu Tack, modelling clay or the glue gun so that the bottle cap covers the hole in the centre of the DVD or CD. Let it set.

3. While this is setting, stretch the balloons by blowing them up several times. This will make it easier to fly the hovercraft.

4. Make sure the bottle cap is closed.

5. Inflate the balloon and slip the neck of the balloon over the bottle cap.

6. You're now ready to fly your mini-hovercraft. Prepare your countdown and then open the cap, making sure the balloon neck is still over the cap.

7. Put the mini-hovercraft down on a smooth flat surface. Your mini-hovercraft should glide over the surface. If you've any pets be careful as cats can be attracted to these.

See a photo of 2 finished hovercrafts

You can decorate your DVD or CD and race your mini-hovercraft with members of your family.

 

How your mini-hovercraft works

The air flow created by the balloon causes a cushion of moving air between the disc and the surface. This lifts the DVD or CD and reduces the friction which allows the disc to hover freely. Large scale hovercraft are capable of traveling over land, snow and water.

Please use the hashtag #DippyAtHome to share any photos of your mini-hovercraft.

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Opening times

Season (19 June 2020 - 12 Dec 2020)