10 science and building projects for kids and teens

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an arch bridge made out of popsicle sticks
popsicle arch bridge
  1. Baking soda and vinegar science experiment

A classic experiment to do with your young child that will also give them a basis on chemical reactions and chemistry is the baking soda and vinegar reaction. When mixing the two together, a fizz similar to opening a shaken pop can will take place. If you are interested in taking it a step further you can also make a papier-mâché volcano and color the vinegar red with food coloring

  1. The potato battery

Teach your kids that all living thing have electricity in them by using a potato as a battery. This is done by sticking something made of zinc (a galvanized nail or screw) and something made or copper (a penny or copper wire) into the potato. If you have a volt meter you can measure the electricity output by the potato. You can also get creative wiring potatoes in series to get enough voltage to power a led or spin a motor. Lemons are a substitute for potatoes

  1. Make plasma with a grape

Show your kid the 4th element, plasma using 2 household things, a microwave and a grape.  Do this simply by cutting the grape almost fully in half but leaving a small piece of skin attaching the two halves together. Then face the two cut ends of the grape facing upwards. Place it in the microwave and set it to a normal setting, and after a few seconds you will see a brief spark of plasma exit the grape. Occasionally you will get a “defective” grape and I also recommend NOT eating the grape after finishing with it.

  1. Make a card tower

A fun way to teach your child about structures is to make a card tower. Use a deck of cards and carefully place the card in triangles (they work best). Then connect sets of two triangles with a horizontal card then stack on top of that and so on. See who can stack the tallest card tower. It is easiest to do it on a carpet if you don’t need the setoff card you can also fold them and bend themBuild-a-Tower-of-Cards-Step-7

  1. Have a bride building competition

Using popsicle sticks and a hot glue gun (works best because it dries fast) build a bridge. Establish rules such as the amount of popsicles stick you can use and the distance the bridge must span. 50 Popsicle sticks and 30cm works well but you can adjust the rules depending on your resources and time. Once complete test the bridges with weights such as books to see whose bridge hold the most weight. Or work as a team whatever works best.

  1. Egg drop

You can do this as one big team or make it a competition. The goal is to build a contraption that will protect your egg from a fall. Using material like plastic bags, newspaper, cotton balls, egg cartons and string make an older for your egg. To protect it from the impact of falling you may want to make a parachute or put cushioning around the egg. Once everyone is done drop the eggs from a ladder or staircase, make sure to cover the ground in newspapers to avoid having to clean up broken egg, and see whose egg survives

  1. Mousetrap car

Learn about kinetic and potential energy with your child by making a mousetrap car. Remove the spike from the mousetrap, make a car with the mousetrap on it. Once you attach the axle to the mousetrap by a string. Fold the mousetrap back and watch the car use the potential energy stored up in the mousetrap to travel forward. You can modify the size of the wheel and length of the arm attached to the mousetrap to make it travel more distance

  1. Coke and Mentosmousetrap3

A simple experiment that demonstrates chemical reactions. All you need is a 2L bottle of coke and a pack of Mentos. When doing this experiment make sure you are doing it outside and don’t mind getting wet. Open the bottle of pop and let the Mentos slide into the bottle. Make sure to stand back because as soon as they drop in, the pop will shoot into the air

  1. Boats down river

Using recycled materials like pop cans and water bottles and popsicle sticks or skewers to hold it all together, make a boats to race down the river. Consider adding a sail to make your boat look cooler. Once everyone makes their boat, launch it down the river. Be sure to have someone  waiting further down to collect the boats. Judge the boats on aesthetics, performance and design to determine the winner.

  1. Birdhouse

Do research to find common birds that are found in your area.  Determine which birds you would like to see in your backyard. Look on YouTube to find how to build a birdhouse fit for that type of bird. Once complete place it in your backyard and watch as hopefully a new family of birds will move in!

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