Here are 14 different simple science and engineering projects that kids are sure to love! I’ve included lots of instructions and photographs–courtesy of many exhibitors at this year’s San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering Expo, held yesterday at Petco Park. I also blogged about the event last year.
Check out this fun stuff! Feel free to share! First up . . . how to make slime!
HOW TO MAKE SLIME
Who doesn’t love slime? Slime is fun! And making it is easy! These instructions are courtesy of Vertex Pharmaceuticals, who had a fascinating exhibit at the big STEM education event held at Petco Park.
Just click the image with easy directions to enlarge it! You can enlarge the other images on my blog in the same way, if you want a closer look. Feel free to share these useful how-to photos on Pinterest or with your friends, if you’d like!
HOW TO MAKE A FUN PAPER ROCKET
Follow the diagram to cut and fold a simple paper rocket with paper clip! These instructions are courtesy of the San Diego Air and Space Museum in Balboa Park. Kids love the world-class museum. It’s one of the coolest places in San Diego!
HOW TO FOLD AN ORIGAMI BOAT
Look at these instructions on how to fold your very own origami boat! My friends at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park provided this information! I even once made one! (And if I can succeed, believe me–anyone can do it!)
HOW TO MAKE MATCHBOX ROCKETS THAT REALLY WORK!
Here’s how you can make a tiny rocket that actually works in much the same way as a real solid-fuel rocket. Wrap a single matchstick in a small strip of tin foil, then crimp one end. Look at my photos to get an idea of what to do. Be careful! You know what they say about playing with matches! Have an adult help out!
Oh, I forgot to mention. This cool experiment is courtesy of the Magnolia Science Academy!
HOW TO MAKE AN “AIRZOOKA” THAT SHOOTS CO2 RINGS!
Here’s another cool project I discovered at the Magnolia Science Academy booth. A student had created a simple “Airzooka” that shoots perfect white cloudy rings of carbon dioxide!
The trashcan with a hole part looks easy. To create the membrane that launches the CO2 rings, you’ll need to use a somewhat flexible material, like a plastic sheet. Once the can is filled with gas, just slap it with your hand and out comes a “smoke ring”!
HOW TO CRAFT A FUN PAPER BAG HAT
What can you do with a paper grocery bag? Crumple it up a bit and form a Mad Hatter hat! Use your imagination and maybe a bit of glue!
This crafty idea is provided by the San Diego County Fair. This summer’s fair will have an Alice in Wonderland theme! I can’t wait!
HOW TO MAKE A TINY PARACHUTE
I remember creating one of these when I was a kid. I made my parachute for a toy action figure! Just look at the picture and go to work! Pretty simple!
This parachute was put together by to the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center. The Fleet, located in Balboa Park, is a super cool place with loads and loads of fun hands-on science exhibits for kids, plus an awesome IMAX theater and planetarium!
HOW TO MAKE A SUPER COOL STAR WARS COSTUME!
Okay. No instructions here. Just imagination. That cool costume is actually made of all sorts of Star Wars toys! Incredible. I’m guessing that wicked-looking dude is on the Dark Side.
I believe this guy was part of the STAR WARS Steampunk Recycled Fashion and Engineering Challenge.
HOW TO USE YOUR IMAGINATION TO BUILD ANYTHING!
What are we building here? Absolutely anything! It just takes some imagination!
Just look at some of the common household items one can use to invent cool things. I’ll bet you have some of this stuff in your own home.
I took this pic at a fun table display in the Qualcomm Thinkabit Lab tent.
HOW TO MIX UP SOME SNAIL GOOP
Slime…snail goop…boogers…it’s all the same good stuff. At least it’s the same mixture of borax powder, water and white glue. A truly yucky and wonderful substance. Science rocks!
Thanks (maybe) to the Steam Maker Workshop for this gloppy sight.
HOW TO CREATE A 3-D OPTICAL ILLUSION WITH STRING
Here’s a cool experiment that demonstrates concepts in math and spatial geometry. Perhaps imagine that the string is a ray of light. From the “tower”, stretch the string so that it touches each of the four top corners of your cube, and plot where the string finally reaches your piece of paper. Connect those points with lines the way my photographs show, then look at the image from the end of the string! It looks like some sort of weird optical illusion, but you’ll see the result actually makes sense!
This exhibit was provided by San Diego State University’s InforMath Collaborative.
HOW TO ASSEMBLE A COOL TENSEGRITY CONSTRUCT
Oh, man! I think you could construct most of this cool stuff with Tinkertoys. Look at the diagrams and go wild! You’ll need lots of rubber bands!
Tensegrity is another science concept that was being demonstrated at the STEM education event. A friendly gentleman explained that the sticks are like bones and the rubber bands are like muscles. So human beings and other critters are examples of tensegrity!
Oops. I apologize for not knowing who put on this exhibit.
HOW TO MAKE A VORTEX CANNON
Here’s a pic that has exact instructions on how to build a vortex air cannon. Looks really easy! (As usual, click the image to enlarge it.)
Uh, oh. I don’t know who created this exhibit, either. I forgot to take a picture with their name. My research got a bit sloppy. Sorry about that. Whoever had this table–very cool!
HOW TO STIR UP LAVA IN A CUP
Finally, I’ve heard of java in a cup. But lava in a cup? Why not?
Adding salt to the floating oil makes the blob sink. It has become more dense than water. When the salt dissolves, the oil rises again!
Those instructions look super simple!
That’s it! You now have a whole bunch of cool and creative science projects to try out! Have a blast!
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