Humming Balloon

You can easily make a humming (or screaming!) balloon by inserting a small hexnut into a balloon and inflating. You can also try pennies, washers, and anything else you have that is small and semi-round. We have scads of these things at birthday time, hiding small change in some and nuts in the others so the kids pop them to get their treasures. Some kids will figure out a way to test which balloons are which without popping… which is what we’re going to do right now.

Here’s what you need:

  • hexnut
  • balloon
  • your lungs


What to do: Place a hexnut OR a small coin in a large balloon. Inflate the balloon and tie it. Swirl the balloon rapidly to cause the hexnut or coin to roll inside the balloon. The coin will roll for a very long time on the smooth balloon surface. At high coin speeds, the frequency with which the coin circles the balloon may resonate with one of the balloon’s “natural frequencies,” and the balloon may hum loudly.


  1. How does sound travel?
  2. What is pitch?
  3. How is frequency related to pitch?