Bottle Rocket

This experiment demonstrates how a build up in pressure can launch a rocket.

As we pump air through the water the pressure inside the bottle builds up until the force of the air pushing on the water is enough to push the cork out of the end of the bottle. The water rushes out of the bottle in one direction whilst the bottle pushes back in the other. This results in the bottle shooting upwards.

Bottle rocket


What you need

  • an empty plastic bottle
  • cardboard made into a cone and  4 fins
  • a cork
  • a pump with a needle adaptor
  • water


  • Push the needle adaptor of the pump through the cork, it needs to go all the way through so you might have to trim the cork a little bit.
  • Decorate the bottle with the cone and fins.
  • Fill the bottle one quarter full of water and push the cork in tightly.
  • Take the bottle outside  and connect the pump to the needle adaptor. Ours wouldn’t stand up on the fins so we rested it on a table, but if you make some strong fins it should stand up by itself.
  • Pump air into the bottle, making sure all spectators stand back, the bottle will lift off with force after a few seconds.




Please make sure an adult is around as the rocket takes off very suddenly and forcefully as you can see in this video clip. Do not approach the rocket once you have started pumping even if it looks like nothing is happening.

The Science bit

Space rockets work in a similar way to the bottle, but instead of squirting water they burn fuel to make a powerful jet of hot gas. The force of the gas  downwards pushes the rocket upwards.

Isaac Newton worked out the three laws of motion which describe how all objects move. The third law says:

‘for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction’

This is demonstrated by the bottle rocket.


 Bottle rocket


We’d love you  join our Science Sparks community on G+ and  follow us on  FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.


Some of our favourite products



Author: Emma Vanstone

Science Sparks, is a site dedicated to making Science fun for kids. I’d love you to follow me on my Google Profile+.

Share This Post On


  1. What a lovely project! We’ll give it a go too, thanks for sharing:)

    Post a Reply
  2. This is so fun! I was out searching for kid’s crafts to feature on Fun Family Crafts, a site similar to Craftgawker (but kid’s crafts only) when I came across this. I would love it if you would submit it!

    Post a Reply
  3. Oh WOW Emma and Kerry this is AWESOME!!! We will definitely be trying this amazing experiment out …. all for the children’s benefit of course (cough, cough).
    Donna :) :)

    Post a Reply
  4. This is so much fun, I used to do it with my 5th grade class. I’d love for you to stop by and link up to my Share the Wealth Wednesday Link Party! I’m your newest follower!

    Post a Reply
    • Thank you. We are very excited by it, and can’t wait to add to our growing collection of experiments!

      Post a Reply
    • It was brilliant! I’m so glad you liked it. :-)

      Post a Reply
    • It was quite scary! We were lucky it didn’t go out of the garden! x

      Post a Reply
  5. That looks awesome. I learned the hard way not to go near projects like that after I did……. That was an unpleasant chemical burn and took a few days to stop stinging.

    I’ll have to see if we have a hand pump anywhere.

    Post a Reply
    • ouch, sounds painful! The rocket was fantastic though.

      Post a Reply
  6. The little blue cone makes the rocket look so much more exciting!!!

    This is a great experiment that I think any kid would enjoy! Thanks for sharing with Learning Laboratory at Mama Smiles :)

    Post a Reply
    • its great and so easy!

      Post a Reply
    • Thank you, my children thought it was fantastic

      Post a Reply
  7. Love love love this experiment! Such fun! And love the Science Sparks look!

    Thank you for sharing on Kids Get Crafty! Great to see you there!

    Maggy & Alissa

    Post a Reply
  8. This looks so much fun I can remember making them with my physics class. J would also love it. I love the new look to science sparks.

    Thank you for linking up to Tuesday Tots

    Post a Reply
    • oh no. what happened?

      Post a Reply
    • oh wow, thank you.

      Post a Reply
  9. is excited to include a photo from Science Sparks on our site! In our article we will provide a link back to your blog post. Please contact us if you have any questions or if you would prefer that we not use your photo.

    Post a Reply


  1. Space Exploration Experiment Kit | Science Sparks - [...] The first thing Z wanted to try was the rather exciting looking rocket.  It consisted of a small base …
  2. Red Ted Art's Blog » Blog Archive » Space & Galaxy Crafts for Kids - [...] you can’t have a Space Get Crafty without including the fabulous(ly mobile) Bottle Rocket from Science Sparks! Be sure …
  3. The MAD Blog Awards Carnival – Fun | dorkymum - [...] of the fun how-to activities is a bottle rocket from Science Sparks. This one looks like DorkySon’s kinda fun …
  4. Kids crafts - rocket - [...] space and science in general. We’ve done a few science posts on science sparks, like this rocket, which he …
  5. 10 Fun Ways to Play Outdoors - Housing a ForestHousing a Forest - [...] Bottle Rockets  [...]
  6. Weekend Reads 4.6.13 | Not Just CuteNot Just Cute - [...] Bottle Rocket {Science Sparks} [...]
  7. 12 Fun Summer Activities for Homeschooler | Free Homeschool Deals © - […] way to help your kids understand more about pressure and how things fly. This simple-to-make DIY Bottle Rocket from …
  8. 20 Fun Science Activities for Outdoors - Science Sparks | Science Sparks - […] You’ll need LOTS of space for this super fast bottle rocket. […]
  9. Air pressure for kids | Science Sparks - […] more Air Pressure Science Sparks style take a look at these: Coin Poppers, Magic an egg into a jar, …
  10. 15 Awesome Science Experiments For Older Kids - Lemon Lime Adventures - […] a bottle rocket using recycled […]

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title="" rel=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

CommentLuv badge