CHOKING HAZARD -- Small parts. Not for children under 3 yrs.
Toysmith UFO Solar Balloon
|Price:||$2.25 + $6.99 shipping|
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- 10 foot long plastic solar balloon
- For ages 6 and up
- Educational toys that help children learn
- Made using safe and high quality materials
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In a world where fossil fuels are constantly on the brain, it's time to keep solar energy in mind. The UFO Solar Balloon is the intensely fun educational toy that is powered by the Sun! Fill the UFO Solar Balloon with air, attach the line and watch it magically rise. Bright direct sunlight warms it in a few minutes and it soars!.
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But we learned some things as we went. Follow these tips and you're much more likely to achieve a quick, successful liftoff:
1) Go for the morning, when the outside air is cooler. This gives you a better air temp differential - and more lift. 10 a.m. is perfect. Good sun angle but still some morning crispness in the air.
2) Before you go outside, tie one end and tie on the string. This will reduce the amount of fiddling with it you have to in the field, reducing the chance that you'll tear it once you're outside - or test kids' patience once you've got them out the door. You're also more sure to get a good, tight knot - at least at one end.
3) Once you've got it filled and the second end tied, you'll need two people. One at each end. Then hold it LOW parallel to ground, preferably over blacktop. Bare dirt works alright, too. But grass will likely be too cool. This lets the radiant heat from the ground assist the sun overhead to heat the air inside quickly.
4) Once the end without string will lift, the helper can let go. Hold the string to guarantee that you've got successful lift off. After about 50 feet or so, you can be confident that you've got sustained liftoff. If not, you can safely guide the balloon down with the string and try again until you've got it securely in the air. When everybody's ready, let go - or not - depending on your proclivities and local ordinances.
One of the best 5 bucks we've ever spent. We tracked it for over an hour before we lost it - at least a mile up and 5 miles away. Buying 5 more and one of the 50 foot versions, from which we'll learn teamwork, if nothing else.
It's easy to use .. I tied one end, my six year old ran with it, and then I tied the other end with the clear string provided. Leave the balloon in the sun for a couple of minutes on a 75 degree day like we did and it soars. :->
The balloon pulls like a kite and I helped my six year old to fly it. It soared about 10 feet in the air at the highest, which was just fine for us. It was fun to watch and fly it and a number of passersby were intrigued and asked what we were flying. Everyone said it looked very cool and my six year old was so proud that it was hers. :->
We folded it up carefully afterwards and I bet we'll get a second usage out of it. I can't wait. :->
A 32 gallon trash bag weighs about 50 - 55 grams.
This weighs 61 grams, but the volume can be calculated to about 180 gallons. When this thing fills up with air, it's impressively huge.
So you get your kid to help you launch this on a sunny day. You have him tape a little postcard to it with his name and address on it. You explain to him about expansion and gases and Brownian motion. You have an ice cream together and watch it float around awhile. Then you let go of the string and wave bye-bye, hoping to get the postcard back someday.
Or, you wait for the sun to go down, watch it land on a fence, or rosebush or whatever. It's done for - there's no patching it.
Either way, well worth the $6.00!!
The downside is that the balloon leaks. The heated air will leak out the ends regardless of how well you tie them off and if you have even a tiny hole in the side that accellerates the deflation. Flying it in any wind also further accellerates the deflation. On a day with 10 mph winds, we never got above shoulder height.
Still, it was cheap, it was fun and it was educational. I have another one that we're going to use when it is hotter and really, really calm.