At Home With Hands On!

Flying Tea Bag Ghosts (10/7/15)


  • Scissors
  • A black pen or permanent marker
  • Flame resistant surface
  • A tea bag (Any kind will do, but you may want to experiment with different tea brands as some, mostly the thicker bags, will work much better than others).
  • Lighter or match


  1. Gather up the supplies listed above!
  2. Take the tea bag and the scissors, and cut the top of the tea bag off. (Ensuring that if there is a staple at the top, that gets cut off as well).
  3. Carefully dump out the tea and straighten out the tea bag so that it now lays down as a cylinder.
  4. Take your black pen or marker and get in the Halloween spirit by drawing a ghost face on your tea bag!
  5. After your face is complete, balance the tea bag upright on the flame resistant surface. (Make sure an adult helps with this next step)!
  6. With all other materials cleared in and around the area, go ahead and have an adult light the top of the ghost with the lighter.
  7. Watch the tea bag burn down and your little ghost fly up into the air!


This experiment comes with an explanation of a fancy term – convection currents!

Have you ever been camping and have seen the ashes fly up from a campfire? Well, a similar thing is happening here with our ghost! When air molecules get hot (like when we light the top of our ghost), they move around quickly and spread out to leave room for the cooler, slow moving molecules outside the tea bag cylinder to rush in. Since hot air molecules are less dense (less heavy) than our cold air molecules, the lighter molecules (hot molecules) rise above the heavy molecules (cool molecules). This movement of air molecules creates a current that helps push the tea bag up into the air – giving our little ghost that extra push to make it take flight!