Build a Car STEM Project – Balloon Powered Dragster

The Creation Crate Junior Program is no longer available. However you can build a Balloon Car out of Recycled Materials with our simple tutorial. Check it out here: Balloon Car STEM Project.

Recycled Materials Balloon Car

Read on to learn more about how our Recycled Balloon Car build differs from the one depicted below. How do you think the two designs would compare?

Got a kid who loves cars? Why not challenge them to build a car with this fun and educational kit that teaches engineering, friction, force and thrust as they build a kit car balloon powered dragster. A simple build for elementary ages. Ours has been shooting up and down the halls for days!


A boy is smiling as he blows up a yellow balloon in a dragster car build. Overlay text says Balloon Dragster STEM Build

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I have a kid that is obsessed with cars and building things. So when we discovered Creation Crate had expanded with a a new Junior line that was focused on mechanical engineering we were so excited!

Our first two builds from the Creation Crate Jr. program were a snapping snake and a draw bridge. We had so much fun building them. I loved that my son was able to do these projects with a lot of independence.

So it was an instant YES when we saw they had a Dragster Car kit. It was the perfect kit for my car loving, mechanical engineering addicted kid!

I’ll let this video show you how much fun we had!


We have really enjoyed building the circuit and programming kits from the regular Creation Crate program, especially with my oldest. But for my younger son, he isn’t really interested in coding. He is more of a hands on kid who likes to create and build with his hands.

That’s where Creation Crate Jr. is so fantastic. It is truly the perfect fit for my kid.

And the lessons! So many amazing hands on discovery lessons!

In this Balloon Powered Dragster Car build we learned about engineering and construction. This included troubleshooting as we figured out ways to keep our car together using paperclips while the glue dried. Or figuring out the best way to measure and cut the wood dowels.

We explored friction and how we needed to limit friction to help our car power forward smoothly. This involved very careful placement of our wheels.

We learned about wind resistance, and the importance of using the wind currents to our advantage.

Most of all, we had a massive failure which led to some fantastic lessons in physics.

A home built car is ready to launch!


After we completed our build, we had to leave it for a whole agonizing night while the glue set (a whole night really probably wasn’t necessary but that was how our schedule worked out).

So when morning finally arrived my kid couldn’t wait to blow up that balloon and test out his dragster. He got it all set up, aimed it down my hall. Chased the cats out of the way repeatedly. Then let go!

And nothing happened. The air trickled out with a high pitched whistle. The car not moving at all.

These failures always result in the best, most memorable lessons!

My oldest, who is also my physics and science nut, happily joined in to help troubleshoot. It turned out we cut the slot too tight, so we were not getting the fast, forceful airflow out of the balloon that we needed to propel the car forward.

A couple of snips later and we were racing!

Create Crate Jr.

If you are looking for a really fun, educational building project for your young STEMists, definitely check out the Creation Crate projects. They are incredibly well done, have incredible value, and are so much fun. My son is already asking for the next one!

How to Build a Car STEM challenge has a boy preparing to launch a balloon powered dragster car he just built. The balloon is bright yellow and it is ready to launch.


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