Here's How to Make a Jet Plane Your Kids Can Fly in the House!

This past weekend at a picnic, my son was introduced to stomp rockets. I thought we might never convince him to come home. He’s been obsessed with flight lately, thirsty for knowledge about anything that flies. Rockets ships, passenger jets, blimps and zeppelins (they’re two different things apparently), biplanes, sea planes, gliders, you name it. So when he gave that launcher a good solid stomp, and the foam rocket went shooting up into the air, he was hooked.

“We’ve got to get one of these!” I said to my husband. But this would probably be the last picnic of the year. There was already a nip in the air, and the forecast was calling for a dip in temperatures that would mean that the next time we had a chance to play with a stomp rocket, we might be on to dinosaurs, or monster trucks, or calculus. Who knows!

But he loved that stomp rocket so much! Could we do it in the house? I wondered for all of half a second before the next rocket went zooming down the field at enormous speed. No, clearly not. But then I remembered something. A project I used to do with my students. Could this project be modified to suit a particularly savvy almost-three-year-old? Spoiler alert: it could.

Want to fly jets in the house? Check out this cool indoor rocket project.

You Will Need:

  • A piece of paper (half a sheet of printer paper is a good size)
  • A length of string (the rocket will fly as far as the string is long, so it’s up to you)
  • A plastic drinking straw
  • A balloon
  • Duct tape (masking tape or packing tape will probably work too)

Step 1: Make a paper airplane with the piece of paper. (If you’re not sure how to make a paper airplane, you can find instructions here.)

Step 2: Set the airplane aside. Thread the string through the drinking straw so that it can slide back and forth along the string.

Step 3: Tie each end of the string to a fixed point, so that the string is pulled taut in a straight line. (You could tie each end to doorknobs that are opposite each other. Or you could bring two chairs, set them up opposite each other, and tie one end of the string to each.)

Step 4: Tape the paper airplane to the straw so that it is sitting on top of the straw. (It will be top heavy at this point and fall upside down when you let it go, but that’s okay.)

Step 5: Pull the straw along the string so that it is all the way at one end of the string, with the airplane facing down the length of the string.