Bring out our child’s inner engineer with this fun DIY rocket! Here are the steps to make a squeeze bottle rocket and the physics behind its launch.
Are you looking for a way to combine the thrill of space exploration with a fun family activity? Then why not try making your very own low-cost, easy-to-construct squeeze bottle rocket?
As a parent, you want to give your kids opportunities for unique play experiences that will fuel their curiosity and sense of adventure. DIY science projects like homemade squeeze bottle rockets are fun ways for kids to explore science concepts in a hands-on way.
Your aspiring astronaut will love assembling the squeeze bottle rocket and decorating the rocket itself. Plus, watching them launch the rocket into the air gives you an opportunity to bond with your mini-engineer as they learn about physics and motion!
In this blog post, we’ll show you exactly how to make a simple squeeze bottle rocket at home—all it takes is a few common household items and some creative thinking. Don’t forget to check out the free downloadable rocket template that you can print out for your kids to color and cut!
How to Make a Squeeze Bottle Rocket
- Plastic bottle with sports cap**
- One smaller straw (we used a regular drinking straw)
- One larger straw (we used a boba tea straw)
- Optional: Printable rocket template (Scroll to the bottom of the post for directions on how to get your free download)
** You can use a regular water bottle with a flat cap, but since you need to seal the area around the straw, it’s just easier to use a bottle with a sports cap. Another option is to drill a hole in the center of a flat cap and stick the straw threw the hole.
1. Pick a rocket from the printable rocket template and decorate it. You can use markers, coloring pencils, crayons, whatever you like! You can also draw your own rocket.
Cut out the rocket outline with scissors when finished.
2. Stick the smaller straw through the sports cap opening.
3. Put Play-Doh around the straw and around the opening of the sports cap to seal it. If you are having trouble with the Play-Doh, you can use masking tape and secure the straw to the sports cap, then apply the Play-Doh.
At this point, we decided to cut off the top of the sports cap so it’s not just hanging there. This is optional.
4. Cut off a small section of the bigger straw. Use tape to seal one end of the straw.
5. Tape the bigger straw section to the back of the rocket template.
6. Place the rocket with the straw (open-end down) on the smaller straw.
7. Squeeze the bottle to launch the rocket in the air!
The Science Behind Squeeze Bottle Rockets
Squeeze bottle rockets demonstrate the basic principles of Newton’s third law of motion, which states that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. In addition, they involve concepts such as air pressure, potential and kinetic energy, thrust vectors, friction, drag force, and more. All these concepts come together to help students gain an understanding of how motion works in real-world environments.
I used the squeeze bottle rocket experiment to explain air pressure to my elementary school kids. When you squeeze the bottle, you reduce the internal air pressure, resulting in a net force that pushes the rocket upward. The harder you squeeze, the more air was forced out of the straw, and the higher the rocket flew!
Squeeze Bottle Rocket Template
To grab your free printable squeeze bottle rocket template, simply click on the image below!
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