Flutterby™! : Help finding projects

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Help finding projects

2010-07-07 20:21:11.143959+00 by Dan Lyke 6 comments

Somewhat related to that last entry on the perils of parenting, on Monday along with the other projects on the house Charlene and I did some chemistry experiments, and we've been doing various crafts and projects with the kids across the street and some outings with our COTS Family Connection kids, and Charlene's been running the free lunch program up at the Vida Nueva development in Rohnert Park.

Sorry for the digression. The upshot of this is that Charlene has said, roughly, that she thinks we need to help give all of these kids some of the amazing experiences that my parents gave me when I was growing up. So we've been looking through various chemistry books, and leafing through The Boy Mechanic[Wiki], with an eye to setting up a series of projects that we could do in an evening, hopefully with some parental involvement, at Vida Nueva.

(The kids across the street are in a different class, their mom's a teacher at the Live Oak Charter School, and they come to us with projects they want to do that are more than we could accomplish in a group setting.)

We're starting to develop a list. Among the things we've come up with are things like kite making, Jacob's Ladder toys (I could cut and rout the blanks, we could show up with ribbons and glue to finish building them), tops (with the opportunity for learning about some cool optical illusion effects), pantographs, maybe an easier to use version of the bottle rocket launcher that Sage (the kid across the street) and I built, with older kids maybe some basic chemistry experiments (crystals and supersaturated solutions).

Anyway, if anyone's got brainstorming on fun projects to do with kids, with the ulterior motive of teaching kids at an experiential level about chemistry and physics and that we can create cool stuff, I'm all ears.

And if you haven't looked through The Boy Mechanic[Wiki] recently (available on Gutenberg.org and from Lindsay Books).

Bonus awesome: Gina Siepel's The Boy Mechanic Project: Portable Folding Boat video

[ related topics: Children and growing up Books Sociology Boats Machinery Education Video Archival ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2010-07-08 05:49:33.975412+00 by: hananc

Somehow related - Fifty Dangerous Things (you should let your children do)


#Comment Re: made: 2010-07-08 11:23:08.500771+00 by: meuon [edit history]


Please cease and desist all activities involving attempts at educating children. You are undermining the authority and carefully selected curricula of educated liberal arts majors whom are unemployable outside of academia.

You should place them in front of the television and/or computer where they will be taught to be product and media consuming units as they are intended.

These attempts to empower them with hands on thinking and problem solving skills, as well as exposure to the outside elements counteracts thousands of hours of formal classroom instruction time.

The Department of Homeland Security department THX-1138 views your actions as potentially harmful to the security of the society and individuals.

Work hard, increase production, prevent accidents and be happy.

#Comment Re: made: 2010-07-08 18:26:10.413834+00 by: Dan Lyke

Some simple electric motors, a slightly more complex electric motor.

The QProx QT-113 touch sensor IC gives me some ideas for when we're looking for a simple soldering project. A way to turn the simple "let's build a doorbell" into a "whoah, cool, my doorbell doesn't do that!" (although for a home-made buzzer it'll probably need a booster transistor).

TLC suggests doing the penny top with cardboard. That'd be a good start on optical illusions.

And this MeFi entry on the marble machines of Denha is awesome.

#Comment Re: made: 2010-07-09 18:17:51.358247+00 by: Dan Lyke

the mention of http://www.fiftydangerousthings.com/ (which is now on order) also led to http://www.tinkeringschool.com/blog/ . Lots of goodness there.

#Comment Re: made: 2010-07-10 16:31:30.718021+00 by: Larry Burton


There was a time when most kids made their own kites. They aren't that difficult to construct and can be made from things lying around the house. After making a few simple kites creativity can take hold and the kids start wondering about their own design.

#Comment Re: made: 2010-07-11 14:26:08.195932+00 by: meuon


Somehow, I think it is all related. Above link is a newsweek article on the decline of creativity.