How to Fly with a Party Balloon

Here's your nightly math! Just 5 quick minutes of number fun for kids and parents at home. Read a cool fun fact, followed by math riddles at different levels so everyone can jump in. Your kids will love you for it.

How to Fly with a Party Balloon

July 13, 2017

The best party balloons are the ones that float. If you don’t hang on, they’ll fly up into the sky. So a crazy guy named Daniel Boria wondered if HE could fly using party balloons. He tied 110 balloons to a folding chair and flew right into the sky — really! He wanted to float over the Calgary Stampede rodeo in Alberta, Canada, and then jump off and parachute down. But the wind blew him the wrong way, and he landed in a field instead. He did all this to let people know about the soaps he sells. Maybe he should stick to ads on the radio.

Wee ones: If Daniel blew up red, blue, yellow, green, and white balloons, how many colors is that?

Little kids: If Daniel took off at 2:00 pm and crash-landed 2 hours later, when did he land?  Bonus: If Daniel really needed just 100 balloons, not 110, how many extra balloons did he blow up?

Big kids: In the 1980s, a guy nicknamed Lawn Chair Larry tried this trick with 45 GIANT balloons. How many more balloons did Daniel use?  Bonus: If Daniel spent $1 for every pack of 10 balloons to make 110, plus $20 on the chair, how much did his flying machine cost?

The sky’s the limit — for real: If 1/2 of the 110 balloons had popped after 10 minutes, and then 1/5 of the ones *left* had popped 1 minute later, and then 1/2 of the ones left after that had popped, how many balloons would have been left?




Wee ones: 5 colors.

Little kids: At 4:00 pm.  Bonus: 10 extra balloons.

Big kids: 65 more balloons.  Bonus: $31, since the 110 balloons cost $11.

The sky’s the limit: 22 balloons left. If 1/2 the balloons popped, he’d lose 55, leaving him with 55. If 1/5 of those popped he’d lose another 11, leaving him 44. Then if 1/2 of those popped, he’d lose 22 of them and have 22 left.

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About the Author

Laura Overdeck

Laura Overdeck

Laura Bilodeau Overdeck is founder and president of Bedtime Math Foundation. Her goal is to make math as playful for kids as it was for her when she was a child. Her mom had Laura baking before she could walk, and her dad had her using power tools at a very unsafe age, measuring lengths, widths and angles in the process. Armed with this early love of numbers, Laura went on to get a BA in astrophysics from Princeton University, and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business; she continues to star-gaze today. Laura’s other interests include her three lively children, chocolate, extreme vehicles, and Lego Mindstorms.

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