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(UW Madison)   Help, I am looking for fun sciency stuff to do with my kid on weekends. I am trying to build a nerd here. Suggestions?   (scifun.chem.wisc.edu) divider line 48
    More: Survey, balloons, surface runoffs  
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204 clicks; posted to FarkUs » on 06 Jun 2014 at 2:43 PM (27 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



48 Comments   (+0 »)
   
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2014-06-06 02:04:25 PM  
Farnsworth fusor.
 
2014-06-06 02:07:56 PM  
Also cloud or bubble chamber.
 
2014-06-06 02:16:56 PM  
Show them how to start a fire with the sun and a magnifying glass. Then shown them it can also be done with a concave mirror.
 
2014-06-06 02:35:22 PM  
build an app
 
2014-06-06 02:40:54 PM  
Go outside and show them a tree.
 
2014-06-06 02:44:51 PM  
Do or do not.

There is no try.
 
2014-06-06 02:50:20 PM  
Fun for kids of all ages!

Seriously, though. Build a better nerd.
 
2014-06-06 02:52:35 PM  

Confabulat: Go outside and show them a tree.


We did that. followed a creek to see where it went.

Also so far we did
mixing food colors in beakers to wee what colors we can make
baking soda and vinegar reactions
elephant toothpaste
bought and worked a basic electricity kit
iodine clock
measuring acids and base pH (not really a hit)
chromatography with sharpies and waterbased markers using water and acetone


And i am about out of ideas.

-Subby

the_rev: Show them how to start a fire with the sun and a magnifying glass. Then shown them it can also be done with a concave mirror.


I like this one.  need to get some dark glasses to protect the eyes...thanks.
 
2014-06-06 02:56:25 PM  

Tricky Chicken: I like this one. need to get some dark glasses to protect the eyes...thanks.


You're welcome. I don't think you need to use the dark glasses; you don't look toward the sun. Note, it's easier and quicker to burn a dark-colored item than a white one. That can be part of your lesson. Black newsprint will burst into flame faster than bright white paperr.
 
2014-06-06 02:57:29 PM  

Tricky Chicken: Confabulat: Go outside and show them a tree.

We did that. followed a creek to see where it went.

Also so far we did
mixing food colors in beakers to wee what colors we can make
baking soda and vinegar reactions
elephant toothpaste
bought and worked a basic electricity kit
iodine clock
measuring acids and base pH (not really a hit)
chromatography with sharpies and waterbased markers using water and acetone


And i am about out of ideas.

-Subby

the_rev: Show them how to start a fire with the sun and a magnifying glass. Then shown them it can also be done with a concave mirror.

I like this one.  need to get some dark glasses to protect the eyes...thanks.


My wife won't let us do this one :(

I have an LED kite on the docket myself.  It's pretty simple.  A large kite, small battery, wires, and LEDs
 
2014-06-06 03:00:31 PM  
Magnets are fun. I just bought a handful of small rare-earth neodymium magnets, and they are *amazing*.

Be careful if you do this...pinched fingers can happen very easily.
 
2014-06-06 03:01:45 PM  
For tons of ideas, go to youtube. Just search for "fun science tricks" or something.
 
2014-06-06 03:02:04 PM  
Crystal radio.
 
2014-06-06 03:11:32 PM  

Tricky Chicken: And i am about out of ideas.


Sticking with the chemistry theme, growing copper sulfate crystals can be interesting. You can also use it to copper-plate metal objects.

Make some plastic sulfur (outdoors).

Concave mirrors are useful for more than just starting fires. You can teach some basic optics and explain the difference between real and virtual images.

Model rockets teach some basic aerodynamic principles, as well as introducing concepts like force and impulse.

Drop a rare-earth magnet down a plastic pipe and then down a copper pipe of the same length.

Use a prism or diffraction grating to look at the spectrum of different light sources (sun, fluorescent, LED, ...). You can also show how different chemicals produce different colors in a flame (sodium, potassium, etc).
 
2014-06-06 03:12:21 PM  
Take him to watch the neighborhood kids play football or basketball. Stand well away from the action and explain to him that he'll never be any good at that and that he'll probably just break his neck. Then take him to a bookstore and buy him something with a dragon on the cover.
 
2014-06-06 03:13:08 PM  
Ammonium nitrate and diesel.
 
2014-06-06 03:15:55 PM  
Buy him all the Calvin and Hobbs books.

Imagination is more important than knowledge -A. Einstein


/Pretty sure they're why I became a nerd.
 
2014-06-06 03:23:38 PM  
Seriose answer: Put some wet paper towels in a dixie cup and stick a bean between the paper towels and cup and let the bean grow. Good way to see how a plant grows
 
2014-06-06 03:32:03 PM  
"Maker Dad: Lunch Box Guitars, Antigravity Jars, and 22 Other Incredibly Cool Father-Daughter DIY Projects" by Mark Frauenfelder

The title says daughters, but a lot of the projects are pretty gender-neutral.

For most boys and some girls, ballistics is fun.  Crossbows, blowguns, slings, etc (under adult supervision, not near pants-wetting hoplophobes, proper backstop, etc.  You're an intelligent adult.  You don't need all that crap that is for stupid people who won't take responsibility for their own stupidity).
 
2014-06-06 03:39:50 PM  
Check out the Make magazine blog and Hackaday for awesome stuff to do.
Off the top of my head-
vibrating brush bots
sugar rockets
jello magnifying glass
Take apart broken stuff (old printers, VCRs, DVD players, anything mechanical) and build new stuff from the parts
Arduino projects
Robots

Also consider getting your kid involved with First Robotics. I got involved a few years ago as a mentor and it's awesome.
Buy your kid the Mad Scientist's Club books. They made me the geek I am today.
Make it fun- if it blows up, fizzes over, makes cool noises, moves around, glows, changes color or otherwise does something cool, kids will be engaged.
Have fun and be careful.
 
2014-06-06 03:41:33 PM  
i236.photobucket.com
 
2014-06-06 03:53:28 PM  
Following up on the "baking soda + vinegar reactions" - combine that with a pH indicator and try to produce a relatively pure solution of sodium acetate. Then use that solution to demonstrate supercooling.

Mix some ammonia into a solution of magnesium sulfate (epsom salts). It will produce a white precipitate of magnesium hydroxide. Filter that out and use it other acid-base reactions.

Shine a laser pointer at an angle onto a compact disc.

Start a collection of elements from the periodic table (preferably in pure form, but accepting compounds for some of the more difficult ones like fluorine). You can make your own hydrogen, oxygen, and chlorine through electrolysis.

Borrow a telescope or a pair of binoculars and look at the moon and whichever planets you can find.

Extract DNA from fruit.
 
2014-06-06 04:09:06 PM  
Get a kids' microscope and look at stuff under it.  A cross section of onion skin,  swab from the inside of the cheek, living stuff.  See what a cell looks like and talk about the parts of the cells.
 
2014-06-06 04:11:26 PM  
Making "plastic" from milk and then letting them make it into stuff was a big hit.

http://imaginationstationtoledo.org/content/2010/06/plastic-milk-2/

Homopolar motors are also pretty interesting and easy to build.  What makes it especially fun is if the kids are a bit older and you've done some other electric / magnetism stuff prior to this one - and they've got the basic concept about how a motor works i,.e. mine kept insisting it wasn't possible and there was some hidden trick to it that I was keeping secret from them.

Coupled pendulums was also an easy one but another that had them scratching their heads for a bit trying to figure out exactly what was going on.  It was popular enough that at their request we made one in their bedroom attached to the ceiling just so they could mess with their friends during sleep-overs ( betting them that they could make one of the pendulums swing back and forth without ever touching it ).
 
2014-06-06 04:15:36 PM  
Kill a hobo and dissect him
 
2014-06-06 04:36:33 PM  

Smeggy Smurf: Kill a hobo and dissect him


Don't horn in on my weekend plans. There's only so many hobos to go around.
 
2014-06-06 04:38:39 PM  

Ambivalence: Get a kids' microscope and look at stuff under it.  A cross section of onion skin,  swab from the inside of the cheek, living stuff.  See what a cell looks like and talk about the parts of the cells.


I'd advise not getting an old-fashioned-look-through-the-eyepiece kids' scope.  USB microscopes are fantastic for doing what you suggest, and will do a much better job than anything else you can buy for less than several hundred dollars.
 
2014-06-06 04:40:50 PM  
img.fark.net
 
2014-06-06 05:11:13 PM  
Breadboard.

Blink some LEDs.
 
2014-06-06 05:15:35 PM  
Make yogurt and/or cheese. Or even beer!
 
2014-06-06 06:22:47 PM  

Calmamity: Smeggy Smurf: Kill a hobo and dissect him

Don't horn in on my weekend plans. There's only so many hobos to go around.


There is no shortage of bums in Eugene or Portland.  My town only has about 600 but I'll share a few if you're short
 
2014-06-06 07:01:44 PM  

the_rev: Tricky Chicken: I like this one. need to get some dark glasses to protect the eyes...thanks.

You're welcome. I don't think you need to use the dark glasses; you don't look toward the sun. Note, it's easier and quicker to burn a dark-colored item than a white one. That can be part of your lesson. Black newsprint will burst into flame faster than bright white paperr.


Eclipse glasses are inexpensive and can be used for viewing sunspots as well. You'll need them in 2017 anyway.
 
2014-06-06 08:16:30 PM  
9 volt, build a simple transformer, shock some people.
 
2014-06-06 08:41:50 PM  

Laobaojun: "Maker Dad: Lunch Box Guitars, Antigravity Jars, and 22 Other Incredibly Cool Father-Daughter DIY Projects" by Mark Frauenfelder

The title says daughters, but a lot of the projects are pretty gender-neutral.

For most boys and some girls, ballistics is fun.  Crossbows, blowguns, slings, etc (under adult supervision, not near pants-wetting hoplophobes, proper backstop, etc.  You're an intelligent adult.  You don't need all that crap that is for stupid people who won't take responsibility for their own stupidity).


Not lunch box, a cigar box guitar is the proper way to go.  And here's Samantha Fish rocking her cigar box:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qx7FDGpZQsQ

Also in that ballistics category are catapults and trebuchets.  Fun for the entire family to build and operate.  Also helps you deal with that annoying neighbor you never liked.
 
2014-06-06 08:56:46 PM  
 
2014-06-06 09:52:24 PM  
One of these is nice to have around the house.

http://www.thinkgeek.com/product/9c42/
 
2014-06-06 10:21:59 PM  
demonstrate osmosis with an egg.

Put raw eggs in vinegar overnight to remove the shell.  rinse VERY carefully, observe, etc.

put egg into corn syrup or "maple" syrup, let sit overnight, observe.

put egg back into tap water, let sit overnight, observe!

Throw nasty-vinegar smelling watery balloon eggs at people you don't like ;)
 
2014-06-06 11:00:38 PM  

Tricky Chicken: Confabulat: Go outside and show them a tree.

We did that. followed a creek to see where it went.

Also so far we did
mixing food colors in beakers to wee what colors we can make
baking soda and vinegar reactions
elephant toothpaste
bought and worked a basic electricity kit
iodine clock
measuring acids and base pH (not really a hit)
chromatography with sharpies and waterbased markers using water and acetone


And i am about out of ideas.

-Subby

the_rev: Show them how to start a fire with the sun and a magnifying glass. Then shown them it can also be done with a concave mirror.

I like this one.  need to get some dark glasses to protect the eyes...thanks.


Go get back issues of Scientific American from the library or online.  They used to have a column called The Amateur Scientist.  Any one of those makes for an awesome project.
 
2014-06-07 12:31:19 AM  
Doesn't anyone take their kid fishing anymore? WTF?
 
2014-06-07 12:52:13 AM  

FrancoFile: Tricky Chicken: Confabulat: Go outside and show them a tree.

We did that. followed a creek to see where it went.

Also so far we did
mixing food colors in beakers to wee what colors we can make
baking soda and vinegar reactions
elephant toothpaste
bought and worked a basic electricity kit
iodine clock
measuring acids and base pH (not really a hit)
chromatography with sharpies and waterbased markers using water and acetone


And i am about out of ideas.

-Subby

the_rev: Show them how to start a fire with the sun and a magnifying glass. Then shown them it can also be done with a concave mirror.

I like this one.  need to get some dark glasses to protect the eyes...thanks.

Go get back issues of Scientific American from the library or online.  They used to have a column called The Amateur Scientist.  Any one of those makes for an awesome project.


I don't know what the new versions are like but they did a compilation in a book that I got as a kid - when the local library was throwing it out.  I actually built a rudimentary x-ray machine using that book, an old vacuum tube from a TV with a magnesium getter, a model T ignition / spark coil ( got that from the bus driver that collected the things / cars not coils ), and a hand wrapped oudin coil... and my own special addition - film from a disassembled polaroid cartridge and a rolling pin...

I hate to say it but I had a ham enthusiast as a neighbor - and NOT a nice guy... I probably got more use out of the oudin coil part than anything else... he would be a butthead and I would wait until the next time I saw his radio room light up - then just fire the coil up... then laugh my butt off watching him go out to check his antenna lines...

Yes - I was a horrible child...
 
2014-06-07 02:21:40 AM  
If you can, find a science museum nearby. Bonus if it's got interactive exhibits. There's bound to be all kinds of shiat you can't do at home.
 
2014-06-07 03:45:04 AM  
I am told that the formula for large, strong bubble membranes is 1 cup Dawn to 10 cups water, plus three tablespoons glycerine.  But the cool, sciencey part is dipping 3D frameworks into it:

www.funsci.comwww.funsci.com
 
2014-06-07 05:10:14 AM  
 
2014-06-07 05:40:29 AM  
+1 to what rikdanger posted

model rockets are pretty cool, definitely one of the things that got me into science as a young lad
 
2014-06-07 07:26:21 AM  

FrancoFile: Go get back issues of Scientific American from the library or online. They used to have a column called The Amateur Scientist. Any one of those makes for an awesome project.


Actually, some of them were damn serious projects well beyond the average kid's resources.  For example, one high school student built a rig for studing reverse flames--a jet of oxygen burning in a surrounding "atmosphere" of methane.  As well as being somewhat risky, it involved a lot of work and some glassblowing skill.  The result was some original research in a field that professional chemists had not bothered to look into.
 
2014-06-07 07:54:42 AM  

dj_bigbird: Seriose answer: Put some wet paper towels in a dixie cup and stick a bean between the paper towels and cup and let the bean grow. Good way to see how a plant grows


Ivo Shandor: Tricky Chicken: And i am about out of ideas.

Sticking with the chemistry theme, growing copper sulfate crystals can be interesting. You can also use it to copper-plate metal objects.

Make some plastic sulfur (outdoors).

Concave mirrors are useful for more than just starting fires. You can teach some basic optics and explain the difference between real and virtual images.

Model rockets teach some basic aerodynamic principles, as well as introducing concepts like force and impulse.

Drop a rare-earth magnet down a plastic pipe and then down a copper pipe of the same length.

Use a prism or diffraction grating to look at the spectrum of different light sources (sun, fluorescent, LED, ...). You can also show how different chemicals produce different colors in a flame (sodium, potassium, etc).


Sliding Carp: Crystal radio.



Great ideas. Trying to keep these to a few hours at this point. We will get into more biology based stuff later.

Thanks guys.

Calmamity: Smeggy Smurf: Kill a hobo and dissect him

Don't horn in on my weekend plans. There's only so many hobos to go around.


Eddie Adams from Torrance: Ammonium nitrate and diesel.


Trying to hold off on the felonies for now. But come to think of it, he is a minor...
 
2014-06-07 03:00:37 PM  

Tricky Chicken: Great ideas. Trying to keep these to a few hours at this point. We will get into more biology based stuff later.


My fusor and bubble chamber suggestions are probably not feasible, but check out the cloud chamber - it is definitely buildable by total amateurs, and may squeak into your 'few hours' constraint.  And it's cool as hell when you get it working.
 
2014-06-07 08:36:00 PM  
Show them the stars, and teach them about space. Some binoculars to look at the moon. Periodically you can watch the International Space Station fly overhead. Early August will be the Perseids meteor shower.
 
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