Why does it do that? Develop an elemental understanding of magnetism, electromagnetism, electrochemistry, radio, thermodynamics, light and optics. Simon Quellen Field's 228-page paperback, Gonzo Gizmos, Projects & Devices to Channel your Inner Geek explains processes, equipment and scientific terms -- and then, for starters, tells you things like how to make a rotary steam engine in 15 minutes from a soda can, a candle and a few scraps of rubber tubing. It's the favorite of our resident geeks -- but not for kids unless they're working with an adult. That would be a mature adult. An insured, mature adult.
"WE DARE YOU!" by Vicki Cobb is a 322-page book for children, filled with over (300) scientific challenges and experiments that can be done with ordinary household stuff. A savvy adult could introduce kids to science by betting them their allowance money on the afore-mentioned challenges, including making square eggs without using a square chicken, writing with potatoes, blowing frozen soap bubbles, and a whole bunch more.
Surprise your parents with a little science at home. “Science Surprises” is a 192-page paperback in its third edition with over 100 experiments that can be done using common household goodies. OK, a couple of things might require a trip to the hardware store, but still. The science ranges from the Bernoulli principle and Stroop effect to making your own perfume and cold cream. (And remember what Shaw said: “Science never solves a problem without creating ten more,” so that makes a thousand experiments.)
We like The Usborne Book of Science Activities a whole bunch. It’s volume one of the Helen Edom and Kate Woodward series, a 74-page hardcover that includes experiments with water, magnets, light and mirrors, with plenty of puzzles and projects--profusely illustrated, throughout. Handy for keeping your young one's mind in shape when not in school or as family learning projects.
BOOM! is a terrific, if mis-titled, science book with 50 science experiments to try at home with the kiddies. No explosions, but plenty of great stuff, many involving food, including measuring the speed of light with margarine, finding the iron in breakfast cereals and making fizzy candy. Lots of other basic chemistry, optics and magnetism, among other things, along with excellent explanations. Total of 144 pages of heuristic fun.
The Big Book of Gizmos & Gadgets is a 96-page book from Woodworking & Crafts magazine, and has designs and full-size patterns for (15) projects from toys, noisemakers and automata to a rubber-band Gatling gun and gear machine. Most can be made with hand tools and patience, but the authors admit that a table saw, scroll saw, drill press, sander and rotary tool make things a whole lot easier.
A whole bunch of science and scientific learning happens outside of the school lab. These 144-page books by Liz Lee Heinecke have a year’s worth (that’d be 52) of experiments. You pick: Outdoor Science Lab for Kids with (52) experiments in (12) units covering biology, gardening, botany, physics, earth science and chemistry, all with common household items; or Kitchen Science Labs for Kids, with experiments in biology, physics and chemistry using the ever-popular common household materials.
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