Very popular with elementary school teachers, these hardcover blank books let students create their own storybooks. (Middle-schoolers interviewing and making books for primary grade kids is a popular and civilizing project.) Also great for sketching, journaling or scrapbooking. Pure white blank covers with (14) sheets (28 pages) of 80-lb blank paper inside with a sewn-in binding. You pick the 6” x 8” books or the 8-1/2” x 11” versions.
Make a whole bunch of fun and instructive Lego® machines/chain reaction models like marble runs and mousetraps involving ramps, buckets, funnels balances and much more. Comes with (33) Lego® elements, (6) Lego® balls, a dozen paper props, and a 78-page instruction booklet for (10) machines. You add a few common household items. Includes suggestions for more complicated devices if you have your own Lego® pieces, and if you don't, what are you waiting for? ! WARNING: CHOKING HAZARD–Small Parts. Not for children under 3 yrs.
If you're devoted to explosions, and who isn't, you'll love the new expanded 2nd edition of William Gurstelle's Backyard Ballistics, now 25% longer, with 25% more ka-boomery. Still the go-to reference work for building rockets, cannons (carbide and potato), flingers, fire kites, electromagnetic pipe guns, tennis ball mortars, cleaner-bag balloons, ballistic pendula and petards. You simply can't have more fun with common household materials. The soft-cover, 210pp compendium includes detailed and illustrated instructions, parts lists and sensible ways not to be hoist on your own petard. Be careful out there.
"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.
Kids driving you nuts? We think a 3D coloring book ought to tie 'em up for an hour or two. You get a book with (8) different pictures to color, including the ocean, planets, hot air balloons, birds, and others. You also get (5) markers, (1) each in orange, red, yellow, blue and green, plus a coloring guide and a pair of cardboard 3D glasses. It's almost like real life.
Lego® goes crazy with this 100+ piece kit with everything you need to build (16) different contraptions (be pretty stupid if they made 16 of the same contraption) for your amusement. In the mix are gears, pulleys, belts and axles, which you could turn into a rocket racer, Lego® launcher, donkey cart or scissor grabber, among other things. Includes a 50-page spiral-bound graphically illustrated instruction booklet. And, yes, adding Lego® pieces of your own just ramps up the fun.
Titled "The Field and Forest Handy Book," this volume has been justifiably in print since 1906. Written by Daniel C. "Uncle Dan" Beard, the founder of the Sons of Daniel Boone and one of the founders of the BSA, it's a compendium of eternally relevant woodland lore, from building cabins, sleds, boats, and bridges to camping in swamps. The only part we skipped was on how to cook a muskrat. (We know a place that delivers.) Loaded with illustrations. In soft cover from David Godine's Nonpareil Books, 428 pages.
Start them out right with this (profusely) hand-illustrated, 96-page book: The Story of Inventions. Includes toasters, toilets, television, computers, cars, chocolate bars, dishwashers, pianos, flying machines, bicycles and blue jeans among many others. Includes a timeline, glossary and index. No age recommendations, but we like it for pretty much anyone.
50 Science Things to Make and Do is just that, a passel of experiments, all illustratively explained in two facing pages of this big 104-page flip book, and all easily done with common household items. Includes wind and water power, bugs, crystals, paper planes, rubber-band guitars, balances, gloop, optics and a ton of other fun, informative stuff. Officially classified as "cool" by several of our geekiest staffers.
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In addition to this fabulous on-line catalog of incredible stuff, American Science & Surplus has three great retail locations. If you're in the neighborhood, please stop by! Store hours may vary. Feel free to call for store hours and directions.