Fun Toys You Can Make
sound of a PVC didgeridoo.
The commercially made entry model didgeridoos
are made of PVC pipes that are painted with attractive
designs and colors. They typically cost anywhere from $20.00 to
over $100.00 depending on the level of work put into it. None the
less, an exorbitant price considering a 10' length
of 1 1/2 " diameter PVC pipe can be obtained
for about $6.00 at any hardware
or building supply stores. Here's a short video
on how easy it is to make one on YouTube.
A PVC didgeridoo obviously is not going to sound the same as a
real eucalyptus limb didgeridoo. The key difference
is the texture of the inside wall
of the instrument that cause the right amount of back pressure when
blown. A tree limb hollowed out by ants does not have a perfectly
smooth and straight inside wall of a PVC pipe. It is highly textured
and never arrow straight. It is these imperfect textures,
bends, bumps and curves
of a natural tree limb that produce back-pressure
when blown and the right amount of back-pressure is what makes the
real didgeridoo sound.
These natural imperfections of a tree limb can be simulated
on to a PVC pipe, all that's needed are non-toxic
glue, saw dust and a heat gun.
You can simulate wood texture by coating the inside of the PVC with
glue and then applying sawdust. The heat gun is used to soften the
PVC pipe enough to bend or twist it slightly and to make bumps both
from the inside and outside by pressing on the heated pipe with
a small rounded object like a round headed bolt for example.
Become a rocket scientist NASA
rocket science pages and interactive rocket modeler for kids.
A site where kids can design their own rockets using real
math and science. Choose construction materials, propellant, design
types and other inputs for exact readout of the rocket dimensions.
When parameters will not work, the program shows "unstable"
in a red box.
II Version 2.1f
A link to kids NASA pages that explain the math and
science principles involved in designing a rocket. Beginner's
Guide to Rockets Take the Guided
Tour, a more structured approach to the information.
Want to design a kite to fly on Mars? Now you
can with this nifty kite modeling program developed by a team of
NASA scientists from the Glenn Research Center.
Kite Modeler Version 1.4a
Take the Guided
Tour and let NASA explain the math and science principles of
kite building and flying.
Making fun bubbles No need to buy
when you can make your own bubble making solutions using common
ingredients. The basic formula is water, soap and a small amount
of glycerine or syrup (the magic ingredient for really big bubbles).
There are many formulas available but experimentation will produce
the best results. Successful bubbles depend on purity of ingredients,
cleanliness of cups and tools and the weather. Less wind the better
and higher humidity, like after a rain, increase the duration of
©Steve Ford Elliott
1 cup distilled water
2 tablespoons soap.
1 tablespoon glycerine or Karo Syrup
Purity of water is important and distilled water,
readily available in gallon jugs, will ensure it. Using the right
type of soap is also important. Use liquid hand washing soap or
detergent. Don't use soaps and detergents made for dish washers
and washing machines. They have anti-sudsing agents in them which
are not good for making bubbles. Glycerine is the magic ingredient
for reducing the surface tension of bubbles enabling them to grow
really big. It's readily available in drug stores but an economical
alternative is using Karo Syrup. However, the sugar content may
end up attracting unwanted bugs.
Bubble making tools There are many
bubble wands available for sale but they can easily be made from
wire coat hangers. Basically a loop or circle on one end and the
other end for a handle. Straws can also be used but for bigger bubbles,
a paper cone works well.
Making play dough A great medium
for nurturing creativity. When young, our kids loved it and played
for countless hours creating little figures and worlds. Easy to
make using safe kitchen ingredients and equal in performance to
ones in stores.
1 cup flour
1 cup warm water
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/4 cup salt
Mix all of the ingredients into a sauce pan. Stir
and cook over medium heat until smooth.
Remove from heat and cool until you can comfortably handle it without
being burned. While it's still warm, knead until it is smooth.
Cool and store in a plastic bag.
For children old enough to know not to eat the dough,
add essential oils to create fun smells.
|Underwater Viewer This is a nifty
gadget that enables kids to see clearly underwater. Fun to use in
ponds and tide pools to see what's at the bottom, fish, plant life,
aquatic creatures, junk or treasures. The concept is old and is still
used by fishermen and pearl divers to see underwater from their boats.
Here's how to make one. Take a plastic milk
or juice jug, wash thoroughly and cut the bottom out in a circular
pattern. Use a kitchen plastic wrap about 14" square and cover
the bottom. Use a rubber band to hold the plastic in place tightly.
Then use a length of duct tape and tape around the edge of the plastic
wrap to the jug. It's important to keep the wrap taught. The duct
tape is to make a water tight seal, to prevent water from seeping
inside the jug. To make viewing easier, the top can be cut to enlarge
the hole but the jug handle should be left intact for easy handling.
How to play Spoons
A fast and fun card game that is our family favorite.
One less spoon than the total number of players are placed in the
center of the table. Four cards are dealt to each player. The dealer
looks at the top card of the remaining deck to see if he or she
can use it to help make a four of a kind. If not helpful, it's passed
on the table to the player to his right or left. Players must hold
four cards at all times so if the card they pick up is a keeper,
one in the hand must be passed on. That player picks it up and checks
to see if it's helpful, if not it's passed to the next player and
so on. The dealer checks and passes cards off the deck as fast as
possible. The game takes on inertia as more and more cards are being
passed. Organization and decision making skills are taught as players
must deal with an avalanche of cards coming in. When a card returns
to the dealer it's discarded in a pile. The object of the game is
for the first player to accumulate a four of a kind to grab a spoon.
The rest of the players at this time must also grab a spoon, irregardless
of what cards they are holding. Since there is one less spoon than
the number of players, it now becomes a test of peripheral vision,
awareness, reflex and hand speed. Players take turns being the dealer
since they have the advantage of controlling the flow of cards to
their liking and the fact that they don't have to pick the cards
off the table.
|When I was kid in Los Angeles
in the late 1950s taps were the rage in my neighborhood.
We weren't into dancing but for the distinct clicking sound
made when walking on the sidewalk. We thought it was a blast
plus there was the element of menace we liked to project to
other kids. After all no one wanted to get kicked by one. It
was all in fun though. We would get what they called horseshoe
taps, shaped like a flat horse shoe that nailed to the shoe
heel and smaller oblong shaped ones for the sides and the tip,
from the local shoe repair man. The best part was at night you
can run and slide on the taps making sparks. It was so cool.
I don't see the horseshoe taps anymore but these would work.
A note of caution though, the schools ended up banning them
as they were destructive to floors and kids were slipping and
Pop-pop boat construction links. What
the heck is a pop-pop
Slater Harrison's instructional
pages. He's a science teacher with a wealth of information not
only about these boats but other fun science projects.
Marc Horovitz's "how
to" page for a more advanced (metal) boat.
He is the author of the definitive web site on pop-pop
Toys You Can Make With Your Kids" Great site with a large
selection of simple yet fascinating science toy projects. They provide
detailed instructions and also sell necessary components.
Yann's Model Airplanes Designer and builder of
cool ultra-light, electric-powered, radio-controled airplanes
with unusual designs that everyone can build.
Magnet Man Web
site devoted to magnetism and cool experiments to do.