DIY Robotic Articulated Hand

DIY Articulated robotic hand

Let’s make an articulated robotic hand that can be controlled with kid’s finger movements.

This is an activity that will describe the finger movements to kids with an easy explanation. You can also try this at home with kids. We have uploaded step by step demonstration for your easy reference.

How it all started?

My younger kid is very naughty and once she playfully closed the door when my elder one was keeping her hands in the closure. Her fingers got caught and she had pain. It was not very harsh though so I managed to keep ice cubes to relieve her from pain. At that time she was asking me about how the finger bends and why thumb finger has only two partitions while others have 3 etc. To cut the story short, these questions inspired me to teach her the anatomy of fingers with a DIY experiment.

Things required for making articulated hand

Before we talk about science, let us first see how to make this articulated hand model using simple things available at home. We bought few things from our local store. But, we have provided some links for your reference which you can refer to order online.

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Steps for Making Robotic Articulated Hand

Step #1: Tracing and Cutting

Trace the hand on the cardboard by placing the hands on it in such a way that the fingers are facing you. Cut the outline and refer video to know how much tracing is required.

Trace and cut articulated robotic hand

Step # 2: Bending the cardboard to make fingers

Use a ruler and bend places on the finger-like we bend our fingers. There are three lines in each finger and bending is complete in the portion where the fingers and the palm are connected. The next line also fingers bend thoroughly except for thumb finger. The topmost line in the finger bends partially. Make sure you check this action so give a perfect movement to your articulated fingers.

create tendon bends in cardboard articulated hand

Step #3: Straw cutting and pasting

Cut the paper straw into small pieces to make fingers with bones as well as tendons. Cut them small and place them in between each bend you just made. Remember the twine will pass through this straw and make the movement of the fingers possible. So place straw pieces in equal distance.

The straw will act as bones for fingers and twine as the tendons.

Note: You must make sure to give a gap between each straw and that is the best way to let the fingers bend flexibly. Also, do not tighten too much which will make it rigid and the hand anatomy will not be reflected properly.

paste straw tendons robotic hand making

Step #4: Pass the twine and tie beads

Cut strings into pieces and for length refer to the video. Tie the beads to the string pieces and 5 beads are required for one finger. Connect them with the straw to the thumb and other fingers too. However, beads are optional. You can skip beads and pass through twine in the straw as we did as well.

Ensure twine length and give enough space to allow it to move.

pass twine and tie beads to form nerves robotic hand

Step #6: Make a handle

Holding will become simple with the help of this cardboard cutting. Fold them and use glue gun to fix the handle. You must cut it that way and fix your hands inside.

Finally we used pipe cleaners to create rings for each finger and attached them to the twines. You can use actual play rings if you have.

It is over and the hands are ready to make any movement. You can hold things, play with the gun and much more.

Paste straws with the glue gun and allow it to try so that it is fixed correctly.

playing with articulated hand

I let the girls have fun for some time. Then we are ready for our final bit.. now that we made bones, tendons and nerves, why not we add flesh to make it look like a real hand.

My elder daughter suggested we should try inserting this hand in a glove to see whether it looked like a real hand.. Here is how we tried it..

inserting articulated hand in glove

Since we used cardboard, it was bit difficult to get it inside the glove. But we finally succeeded with few extra folds in the cardboard. That made the hand more flexible and less sturdy. But we could still use it to make finger movements.

Articulated hand with flesh
Science Behind Articulated Hand
  • Every finger has three bones whereas thumb has only 2. We call these bones as phalanges. That is why there are two lines in the thumb and three for other fingers to separate each small bone. We have straws to show them externally.
  • These phalanges will connect to the five bones present in the main portion of the hand. That is named as metacarpals. (You can find 8 bones in the wrist which are called carpals, but we have not shown that in our handcraft.)
  • The forearm contains the muscle which actually moves the thumb and the fingers.
  • Long flexor tendons are the one that extends from the forearm muscle and passes through the wrist as well as the palm to the thumb and fingers.
  • Tendon sheath is the place where the tendon slide and this passes through a snug tunnel. This is attached to the small bones of the thumb and other fingers. The tendons are held in place with the help of these sheaths. Contraction of forearm muscles will pull the tendons and thus the bones are moved.

Since the tendons are linked to the fingertip from the forearm, whenever there is minor damage in tendon it will affect the entire finger. I explained this to my kid and hence she suffered pain when the door slashed on her fingers.

The hand contains the veins and the arteries where the blood flows from and to the fingertips. The nerves present will let the feelings happen when you touch something with the fingers and hands. Indeed hands make a vital part of our body. These nerves are represented by the twine that forms the fibrous tendons.

Suitable For

It is a tricky activity but aptly suits 5+ years kids. We must provide help to them to make it work properly.  However, 7+ kids can do it on their own.

For kids above age 8 can understand the anatomy and so teach in detail about the finger science.

Word of Caution
When you make this articulated hand activity with cardboard you must be around as they need to use scissors to cut them. Cutting the cardboard can be tricky so my husband helpedme out. I would suggest you cut it for them to avoid any injury.Glue gun end point is pretty hot and avoid keeping near children. Alternatively, you can use double side tape like this one just to be safe.   

Try this DIY and share your feedback for improvement. Trust the video helps you make a hand model at ease. Refer this link for better understanding in case you wish to go in-depth about hand science to kids.

Disclaimer : This post contains affiliate links from Amazon. An affiliate link means that when you purchase using the link provided in this page, I would get a small referral fees WITHOUT any extra cost to you. I highly appreciate your understanding and support.

Candle Under Glass Experiment

We did this cool candle and glass experiment last week. The experiment teaches of role of oxygen in fire and its presence in the air. This one takes less than 5 minutes to complete it.

Candle Glass Fire Experiment
Suitable For
Kids who are less than 5 can only understand that oxygen is required for a candle to burn and when we close with the glass tumbler oxygen goes off and hence the candle.

5 – 6-year-old kids can experiment this by noting time and they can learn how much oxygen is required to burn the candle. They can learn about smoke and wax.

8+-year-old kids can learn chemical equations, balancing them and the detailed science behind the candle and glass experiment.

How to do this candle and glass experiment

The simplest experiment to do but has a big science behind it. Don’t panic this science is easy for even kids to understand. Let us first do this experiment and study the science behind it.

Materials required for carrying out the experiment

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Arrangement

Place the candle on the plate. Keep the matchbox and glass tumbler ready.

close glass on top candle

Action

Light the candle and leave it for some time and then close the candle with a glass tumbler so that you can see through the light.

flame size reduces in seconds light and candle experiment

Result

After a few seconds, you can see the flame comes down slowly and eventually goes off. You can try opening the glass when the flame is low to see how it picks up oxygen again and the flame goes higher.

You can also see a small sediment of moisture in the inner walls of the glass. That is a proof that fire releases H2O.

flame goes off candle glass experiment

Variations

Yes, the experiment is over. Now, try these and share your experience with us.

  • Now you can do this using a stopwatch and check the time taken for the light to go off after closing the candle with glass.
  • Use the candle of different size and check the timing.
  • Also, use bigger and smaller glass to check the timing.

Do this experiment with kids and allow them to make the observations.

Science Behind Candle Glass Experiment
Assume candle as a miniature version of a chemical factory. So much of chemical equations are involved in that small matter. The candle is made up of wax and the wick draws fuel called oxygen from air and burns when lighted with a matchbox. When the glass tumbler is kept on the candle the oxygen in the surrounding goes off in a while and then the candlelight also follows.

Therefore oxygen is required for the candle to burn for a long time.

Detailed science with terminologies

Hydrocarbons present in the wax are converted to carbon dioxide and steam and this chemical process is called combustion. The oxygen gets pulled at the bottom and the wick draws the fuel. This will provide heat at the top and that makes air hot to rise up. This is how a candle burns. The steam part gives the blue color to the fire. The unburned carbon deposit makes the walls nearby black. Better oxygen means brighter the flame. Match stick is required to ignite and that produces the activation energy to start the entire burning process.

The chemical equation for your reference

Methane (hydrocarbon) + Oxygen –> Carbon dioxide and Water

CH4 + 2 O2 –> CO2 + 2 H2O

Check scienceline for more science facts.  Also, read candles.org explanation to master the science behind candle and science experiments.

FAQs

What happens when you put a candle in a jar?

When the candle is placed in the jar it limits the flow of oxygen and hence the candle flame goes off.

What will happen if a burning candle is covered with a glass jar?

Oxygen is the fuel for wax and makes the wick burn. When the candle is closed with the glass jar the oxygen supply is stopped. Initially, the candle burns by making use of the oxygen within the glass and slowly when there is no oxygen the flame goes off.

Which candle goes out first?

The candle that is the shortest will go out first. It is because the CO2 is denser than air so it will settle down at the bottom eventually putting off the fire.

Can I use any glass jar for candles?

Glass is also prone to crack and break due to heat. Check out for heat resistant glassware and use them for this experiment.

Where does candle wax go when you burn a candle?

When the candle is lighted the heat of the flame will melt the wax first near the wick that is on the top. Thus the wax will melt and that liquid wax gets drawn up again by the wick due to capillary action. The flame’s heat vaporizes the wax in the liquid state and that will initiate the hydrocarbon break down process. The hydrocarbon breaks down further into molecules of carbon and hydrogen.

Do Candles burn oxygen?

Combustion is the chemical reaction happening in the candle burning process. Wax is derived from petroleum and is a carbon chemical and it reacts with the oxygen present in the air. This process creates CO2 which is a colorless gas.

Does burning a candle clean the air?

Yes and no. Yes if it is pure beeswax. No, if it is not a pure wax. Candles made of pure beeswax will produce no smoke and cleanses the air around. It does this by releasing negative ions in the air. Such released negative ions bind with the toxins and remove them eventually from air. Also, natural pure beeswax burns slowly, when compared to paraffin candles and hence they last for long time.

Why a burning candle does gets extinguished when covered with jar? (Or)
Why does a candle stop burning when covered with a glass tumbler?

Candle burning requires oxygen and that is present in the air naturally. When we close the candle with jar, then oxygen flow is limited and once all the oxygen present is exhausted the candle gets extinguished.

candle under glass fire experiment
Word of Caution
I request parents, teachers or elders to supervise kids while they do this experiment as it involves fire. Irrespective of the age of the kids it is good to monitor them. Tell them not to touch the burnt candle as they will be hot too. Instruct them to deal with the glass tumbler and not break to poke in their legs.

Overall, stay around and explain to them to have fun.

In addition, please note that Candles are AC’s enemies. Yes, teach this to kids.
AC room lacks oxygen and hence burning candles will not get oxidized completely leading to forming carbon monoxide. It is dangerous to health which leads to serious complication including death. Beware!

What inspired me to do this experiment?

Let me share my experience in how did I arrive at doing this experiment? During one summer we had a massive power failure. My little ones had never been used to such a situation ever. But this time the situation was tough and they had to spend the whole night without power. That is when I lit a candle for light while we had dinner.

As usual, my curious elder daughter asked me how does a candle burn. Why does it not require electricity as lights and fan do? How come it gives brightness as an electric bulb does. She bombarded me with questions I was like feeling glad that she thinks all these things. At the same time, my naughty little younger one as usual in her style started doing fun things. She blew the candle and sang “happy birthday”. 

We finished dinner and suddenly my little one using her empty glass covered the candle. In a few minutes the candle went off. I lighted the candle and told her not to play with fire. Again in few mins when I was away she did the same job to check if the light goes off.  It did go off and my elder one was puzzled to know why it happened.

Her question was when there is more air candle goes off that’s exactly what happens when we blew the candle. But here the contradiction happens and when the candle is closed it should not go off as airflow is cut. Then why it happens. I told her that there is a science behind that action.

Now, we started doing this experiment to explain the concept to the kids.

Disclaimer : This post contains affiliate links from Amazon. An affiliate link means that when you purchase using the link provided in this page, I would get a small referral fees WITHOUT any extra cost to you. I highly appreciate your understanding and support.

Lab Safety for Kids ( Rules & Symbols ) – Infographics

Let’s discuss lab safety for kids in this article. 

Need For Lab Safety

It has quite often been observed that children learn more effectively when they are practically involved with a particular subject. And this is observation is highly relevant in the field of science where children are constantly engaged in various aspects of the field. By being practically involved, children develop an intuition wherein they can scrutinize, question, touch, smell, and experiment with the various tools. The result of such practical involvement with science is witnessed in the development of their critical thinking skills.

While it is important to bestow a vast body of knowledge via the means of a science lab, it is equally important that kids ensure their safety whilst they are in the laboratory. There are laboratories out there that are concerned with safe experimentation. However, a majority of laboratories participate in dangerous experiments involving hazardous materials such as chemicals and electricity. As a result, it is important that apart from knowing about the miracles that occur within laboratories, students are also aware of the safety rules and measures to be implemented while working in the laboratories.

Generic Rules For School Laboratories

There are certain general rules which are followed by school laboratories all around the world. These rules should be heeded by the students whenever they are in the presence of scientific equipment. A few of these include:

  1. Maintain Safe Distances from Hazardous Materials and Equipment – Even though they are developed to promote creativity and facilitate the learning process for children, laboratories contain elements which should be kept far away from the reach of children. Kids should not be allowed to touch or fool around with any materials or equipment unless instructed to do so and under adult supervision.
  2. Constant Adult Supervision – Experimenting and learning about new concepts within the laboratory is a good thing. However, it should only be performed under the supervision of a teacher or a lab assistant. If neither is available, students should be prohibited from using the library owing to the presence of numerous risks.
  3. Experiments Should Be Performed With Complete Clarity – All experiments are performed in a laboratory should be undertaken only when the students have complete clarity over the subject. If the students are unable to follow up with a particular concept or experiment, they should make it a point to consult with their teacher and clarify it before proceeding.
  4. Alertness Should Be of Prime Importance – Being completely alert in a laboratory is a matter of prime importance. When the students are in a laboratory, they should be cautious owing to the presence of the hazardous chemicals and equipment that are present around them. Moreover, they should cease to perform all activities which are irrelevant in a laboratory. A few such activities include drinking, playing pranks, mobile phone usage, listening to music, etc.
  5. Familiarity With The Elements – When using the chemicals provided, children should mandatorily read the label on the bottle before using it. Failing to do so may lead to situations in which they might combine two hazardous elements and set off uncontrollable situations. Furthermore, while performing the experiments, students should be vigilant in keeping all equipment such as test tubes, beakers, glass rods, etc., that have been in contact with the chemicals away from your face, mouth, and the body.
  6. Disposal of Chemicals – At the end of certain experiments, students often find out that they are left with certain leftover chemicals. During such cases, do not put the leftover chemicals back into the original bottles. Instead, you should ensure the perfect disposal of the chemicals according to the guidelines provided by the laboratory assistant or the science teacher.
  7. Safety Equipment – Before a student enters the laboratory, it is predominant that they mandatorily equip themselves with the required safety equipment. This safety equipment could refer to the various clothing and accessories that are required including safety goggles (we use these ones), lab coats, and proper shoes. Take care that students do not wear loose clothes or sandals in the science labs. Moreover, girls should ensure that their hairs are tied.
  8. Examine The Apparatus – Before you eagerly go over to experiment and learn, you should make it a point to check the apparatus that has been provided to you. This is more important in the case that the apparatus is made of glassware. If you find that the glassware is chipped or cracked, do not try to use them.
  9. Allow The Heated Apparatus To Cool Down – A lot of experiments require the apparatus to be heated up. And it takes a significant amount of time for such an apparatus to cool down. Make sure that you allow them to do so. Rushing the process by using water may result in the apparatus becoming cracked and unusable. Moreover, when you are handling the equipment, ensure that you always use tongs or heat-protective gloves to pick up the apparatus.
  10. Stay Calm During Accidents – In the event of an accident, ensure that you do not panic. You will not be able to think clearly if you panic. Instead, you could take steps that minimize the extent upto which the accident affects you. Inform your teacher and the lab assistant immediately. Consult them for all the help and heed their instructions to reduce the damages.

 

Generic Rules for Home Laboratories

The safety rules which encompass are highly comprehensive. This is due to their ability to cover a wide range of safety issues. And it is due to this that such rules should be followed by people even in laboratories present at their homes. However, home laboratories also require an additional set of rules that are required to be followed to ensure perfect safety. These safety rules are:

  1. Prevent Using Contact Lenses – If you or your child use contact lenses for their vision needs, ensure that you don’t use them while working with chemicals. In numerous cases, dust tends to accumulate between your eye and the lenses leading to irritation and causing distraction from your experiment.
  2. Keep Unauthorized Experiments at Bay – While exploring through the experiment at school, your child is surrounded by trained individuals that include the lab assistants and teachers. However, it is highly doubtful that you be having support to such an extent at your homes. Therefore, it is greatly advised that you refrain from performing risky experiments within the confinements of your home.
  3. Keep Emergency Equipment Handy – While working with chemicals, keep in mind to check whether or not you have been facilitated with emergency equipment. Various tools that include an extinguisher, water, first-aid kit, and a telephone, should be kept handy.
  4. Work With Small Quantities – It is generally advised that you should work only with small quantities when you work at a home laboratory. Usually, this quantity should be equal to the amount that is enough to suit your needs. Doing so, allows you to easily take care of any accidents that involve fires, burns, and cuts.
  5. Keep Unauthorized People Away – When you are experimenting with your child, ensure that there are no unauthorized people present in your laboratory. Taking care of this allows you to greatly minimize the potential unforeseen accidents that could have occurred and affected you. If you do allow a particular person to accompany you to the lab, ensure that they adhere to the safety rules.

 

 Essential Safety Symbols In Laboratories

Safety symbols are one of the greatest assets for lab safety. They can easily relay information to people by the means of a simple graphic asset. A few highly common symbols that are present in school laboratories are:

  1. General Warning – The General Warning symbol is one of the most common safety symbols. It consists of a large exclamation mark upon a yellowish background. The sign is used to describe potential dangers that might be present in the laboratory. To ensure safety, individuals are advised to follow the regulated procedures as mentioned by the laboratory.
Lab Safety General Warning Symbol
Image source
  1. Safety Glasses – The safety glasses symbol are characterized by a simple pair of lab spectacles. The symbols indicate the possibility of a surrounding consisting of chemical, radiological, or mechanical irritants that may cause harm to the eye. The individuals are usually provided with laboratory glasses, designed with polycarbonate, in such situations.

Lab Safety - Safety Goggles Symbol

Image Source

  1. Flammable Material – Represented by the means of a black outline of a flame on an orange background, the Flammable Material symbol is used to describe the presence of substances which are capable of being ignited and burned in the air. These substances are also labeled as combustible substances.

Lab Safety Flammable Hazard Symbol

Image Source

  1. Hearing Protection – The Hearing Protection symbol represents a pair of headphones. In various laboratories, the noise has become a growing source of concern. Although some of such laboratories might have noise levels below the threshold level of damages, it is still quite loud to distract you from your work. Therefore, the Hearing Protection symbol warns individuals to equip themselves with the proper noise-cancellation gear before entering the laboratory to resume their work.

Lab Safety Ear Protection Required Symbol

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  1. Corrosive Hazard – The Corrosive Hazard symbol is picturized by the means of a symbol that has two test tubes leaking a corrosive liquid upon the hands of a person and a certain surface. The symbol is used to indicate the presence of hazardous materials, capable of harming the skin if placed in direct contact. Therefore, such materials should always be stored in locations where they cannot be reached by children.

Lab Safety Corrosive Substance Symbol

Image source

  1. Oxidising Material Hazard – The Oxidising Material Hazard symbol is displayed via the means of a circular object which has been ignited. This entire symbol is placed on a yellow background. The symbol denotes the fact that there are substances which are capable of increasing the chances of fires and explosions in the absence of air.

Lab Safety Oxidising Agent Symbol

Image Source

 

Educational Videos Regarding Lab Safety

Videos are probably the best means of teaching kids about basic lab safety tips. There are various channels on YouTube which have produced videos regarding the subject of lab safety. These videos are available in various forms, however, the ones that seem to stick on with the kids are animated videos.

  1. Amoeba Sisters – General Lab Safety: The Amoeba Sisters is a YouTube channel which features exactly that, two amoeba sisters. The channel discusses the various aspects of science and enables children to understand even the most complex of concepts in an easy way. In their General Lab Safety video, they introduce children to the various lab safety guidelines with the help of memorable illustrations and animations. In their video, they cover a wide range of subjects that include lab dresses, disposal of materials, precautions, and such.
 

  1. CrashCourse – Lab Techniques & Safety: CrashCourse is another YouTube channel which educates children on the various subjects that range from sociology, computer science, film history, mythology, and many more. However, this channel is meant more of a more matured class of children. In their Lab Techniques & Safety video, the host Hank discusses the practical side of chemistry and teaches the various aspects of lab safety. Moreover, another aspect that makes this video engaging is its ability to combine animations and illustrations with real-time footage of the host.
  1. Buzzle – Essential Lab Safety For Kids That Must Not Be Taken Lightly: Buzzle is an educational YouTube channel. The channel produces videos which are meant for kids for all ages and can serve as a source for motivation, entertainment, as well as education. In their Essential Safety For Kids That Must Not Be Taken Lightly video, they discuss the various rules which are applicable when teachers and students are working in the laboratory. They understand the mishaps that take place in science labs and hence, they want to educate people on taking the right steps to prevent such mishaps.
 

 

Conclusion

In recent times, there have been a vast majority of individuals who have been spreading awareness regarding lab safety. This is because lab safety has become an aspect of utmost importance. Not only does it help to protect property and lab equipment, but it also facilitates in preventing cross-contamination. Moreover, it ensures that the records maintained are not tampered with owing to any mishaps that could have occurred.

Science TV shows for kids (Increase Kid’s Science Thinking by 200%)

Popular Mechanics for Kids

Here is a list of Science TV Shows that will help improve science knowledge for your kids. 

Children’s watch too much television! Is it really good for them to watch TV for long hours!? Can we make their screen time more interesting and educational!? I say, ‘Yes’.

Now a days, children are interested to imitate the characters that they watch in television. Those characters might be with violent behaviour and notorious from which parents get pissed off!! Too much exposure to pure entertainment and violent content in particular puts your child at higher risk for poor academic development and poorer cognitive achievement. Do not panic, we have a great solution for your kids to learn some science and educate themselves while watching TV. Yes, switch to the science TV shows from the useless programs. Science TV shows can be a great help to improve natural curiosity in our kids about the world.  There are some interesting kid’s science TV shows that explain scientific concepts in age-appropriate ways. The recent studies revealed that these educational science TV shows play an important role in enhancing child’s cognition and knowledge.

Recommended Age Group: Science TV shows are available for all age groups of children. Children of all age groups are benefited from science TV shows as the directors and producers release different shows based on the age groups.  

Science TV Shows for Kids

Here is the list of science TV shows that enhance your kid’s knowledge and would be very helpful for those who wants to get your kid in to science.

Bill Nye the Science Guy

Bill Nye the Science Guy
Image: Source

Bill Nye the Science Guy, is an American live action science program telecasted in Walt Disney television, a local TV station. It was originally telecasted from September 10 1993 to June 20 1998. It is also aired on PBS from 1994 to 1999. But who is the host!? The show is hosted by William Sanford Nye, popularly known as Bill Nye the Science Guy, is an American television presenter, science communicator, and mechanical engineer. He is very popular in the media as a science educator and is best known as the host of PBS as well as some children’s science shows such as ‘Bill Nye the Science Guy’ and the Netflix show ‘Bill Nye Saves the World (2017-present)’. The show explains the basic concepts of science in a humorous and understandable manner to help young children understand them better.

Blaze and the Monster Machines

Blaze and the Monster Machines
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Blaze and the Monster Machines is everyone’s favourite TV show or series with friendly characters and STEM content. It is an animated preschool TV series to comprehensively cover the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math as well as trajectory and buoyancy through the adventures of monster truck and friendly human characters. Mainly kids are encouraged to help characters to solve problems through color recognition and number sense which enhances the pre reading skills in the children especially young kids.

Earth to Luna

Earth to Luna
  Image: Source

Earth to Luna is a Brazilian animated children’s TV show which is premiered in American channel Sprout on August 16 2014. It is created and directed by Celia Catunda and Kiko Mistorigo. It is debuted in Brazil on October 13 2014 on Discover Kids. It is telecasted in 52 episodes each lasting 15 minutes. Children between the ages of 3 and 5 years old are benefited much more than the rest. Luna, a young and imaginative kid in love with science and nature, learns how things work with her little brother, Jupiter and the pet, Ferret Clyde. Luna is an inspirational character to all young kids (by following her adventures) as she shares her passion for science.

Popular Mechanics for Kids

Popular Mechanics for Kids
   Image: Source

Popular Mechanics for Kids is a wonderful TV series created in 1997. Jay and Elisha are the amazing hosts for this amazing TV show travel to different locations to bring educational information about how technology works in this world. There is something to learn in each and every episode as the hosts take an adventurous trip around North America targeting to get some information about technology.

F.A.Q

F.A.Q
   Image: Source

F.A.Q is a mixture of fun and science as it educates and entertain your children at the same time. The show is hosted by ‘Prateek’ and his friendly robot ‘Crash’. It mainly targets to enhance the kids knowledge in science in a fun way. They answer the most frequently asked and posted questions through simple and easy experiments. They also perform amazing activities with amazing tricks and hilarious pranks. This encourages and inspires your children to perform their own simple and fun activities on their own.

Dinosaur Train

Dinosaur Train
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Dinosaur is a Canadian, American and Singaporean children’s animated series created by Craig Bartlett. This TV series features a young and curious Tyrannosaurus Rex, named Buddy along with his adopted family takes a dinosaur train trip to explore the multiple habitats and time periods in detail. The series is hosted by the show’s science advisor, palaeontologist Dr Scott D. Sampson.

Nutri Ventures

Nutri Ventures
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Nutri Ventures is a Portuguese food themed adventurous TV series that promotes healthy eating habits. In this series the featured characters Lena, Theo, Ben, and Nina go on adventurous trip to food-group kingdoms. They collect the nutri powers of lost foods while travelling from one food group kingdom to another food group kingdom. They basically aims the Obesity issues and spread a positive and inspirational message on healthy eating for young people suffering from obesity.

How it’s Made

How It's Made
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By the name itself, you will get to know what is all about the show. Yes, this fascinating fact-based educational series is all about learning how ordinary products and tools are made. It keeps your children’s attention and interest through visual demonstration. This science show is not only enjoyed by kids but the adults who are interested in knowing how the daily used items are made.

Beakman’s World

Beakman’s World Go Science Girls
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Beakman’s World is an American television show based on an award winning comic strip named ‘You Can with Beakman and Jax’. The show starred Beakman, played by puppeteer Paul Zaloom, as he answered questions from viewers with a zany tower wig and a green lab-coat and also constantly experimenting to visually demonstrate the effects of natural phenomena, like gravity, and volcanoes. The inventions also include light bulbs, engines, and microscopes. If your kids are favorites of Bill Nye, then they should definitely watch out Beakman too!

The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That

The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That
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‘The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That’ is currently airing on PBS in United States. The series mainly focusses on teaching children about the nature around from the changing seasons to plant and animal life. It also aims at improving kid’s personal behavioural development like pro-socio lessons like behaving and being polite to others, and working as a team etc. The characters Sally and Nick, who go on adventures in learning with The Cat in the Hat and his pal, Fish, via a magical device called the Thinga-ma-jigger.  The series is broadcasted in Canada on Treehouse TV.

Sid The Science Kid

Sid the science kid logo
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Often introduced as Jim Henson’s Sid The Science Kid after its creator, the show is a massively admired amongst the age group of 3-5 yr olds. The show is massively popular for its ability to provide a comedic take while answering numerous questions that concern basic scientific problems. The antagonist of the show is Sid, the eldest child of Mort and Alice. With the help of his friends, family members, and his traits, Sid solves the problems and imparting the knowledge to the audience. The show’s popularity also stems from its ability to teach via cognitive learning theory while encountering topics from the preschool science curriculum as well. Here is a short preview of an episode:

 

Xploration Earth 2050

 

Xploration Earth 2050 is one of the various shows aired under the Xploration Station Block. Created on a three-hour requirement as defined by the Federal Communications Commission, the show promotes the various concepts of STEM amongst the students in practical life. Every episode showcases a particular niche of STEM, explores it further, and explains to the audience watching the show. Furthermore, the show brings in experts from the niche, who go-ahead to talk about the importance of technologies in the lives of other people. As a result, people who aren’t overly innovative about the field become mesmerized with the show.

The Magic School Bus

The Magic School Bus
Image:Source

The Magic School Bus is another children’s animated television series which is based upon a series of books by the same name. Created by Joanna Cole and Bruce Degen, the show focuses on a class of students led by their teacher, Valerie Fizzle, as they embark on a series of exciting adventures. On their endeavors, these young adventurers discover new locations, scientific facts, and the other wonders of science. The magic school bus is, in fact, really ‘magical’ in nature. For the bus can modify itself into various shapes and sizes as required. Historical episodes have shown the bus to travel to outer space or the human body.

 

Science Court

Science Court
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Science Court is quite different from other television series. The crux of the series is based within the confinements of a court. Whenever a person sues another, he or she is brought to the court where the parties try to solve the case by implementing scientific principles. Created in the form of half-hour consumables, the show combines courtroom drama, science experiments, and humor to appeal to the audience and educate them regarding the various concepts that are normally taught to middle and elementary grade kids. Additionally, the series also discusses the misconceptions that students are often acquainted with.

The Magic School Bus Rides Again

The Magic School Bus Rides Again
  Image:Source

The Magic School Bus Rides Again started again in 2017. The series serves as a continuation of the earlier series that had its run from 1994-1997. Owing to the massive popularity of preliminary seasons, the series was rekindled to innovatively reteach the scientific principles. This series features a retired Valerie Frizzle passing on the keys of her trusty bus over to her younger sister, Fiona Frizzle, who commences onwards to various adventures with her class students. The show imparts a sense of nostalgia as it breathes a fresh breath of life into educative shows while teaching about the various wonders of science.

 

DragonflyTV

DragonflyTV

Image:Source

DragonflyTV focuses on the prime objective of teaching the wonders of science by propelling the audience to participate in the activities. The 7-season series features 30-minute episodes in which the show tries to teach real scientific concepts by the means of discoveries and investigations that they perform on the show. The main objective of this is to propel the audience to get out of their houses and explore the world around them. They want the audience to learn more about various scientific principles and concepts by physically interacting with the world around them, essentially allowing them to grow.

 

Crash! Bang! Splat

Crash! Bang! Splat! is an innovative educational program which teaches its students the simple way to learn natural science. The show redefines science, for it teaches kids that they don’t essentially need huge scientific equipment or an advanced apparatus for performing experiments. All that people need to know more about the various niches are the means of fun do-it-yourself experiments. The show is hosted by a group of inquisitive kids themselves which allows the viewers to elegantly relate with. Additionally, children can then perform those experiments at home.

Lab Rats Challenge

Lab Rats Challenge
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The Lab Rats Challenge is an educative television program which has its origins in Australia. This show has been curated in the form of a game show to make the show even more interesting while teaching the various notions to kids. To implement the same, the show features several fixed challenges that are placed within the confinements of the show. It all starts with the Nano Challenge after which it proceeds over to What’ll Happen if, Method Madness, and Rat Race. Finally, every episode of Lab Rats Challenge ends with a final challenge known as The Labyrinth wherein each of the teams goes through a series of physical and mental challenges.

Brain Games

Brain Games is a television series which is meant for a slightly more mature group of children. The show primarily focuses on teaching children about cognitive science by focusing on a variety of illusions, psychological experiments, and counter-intuitive thinking. The show is hosted by a wide variety of hosts that range from Neil Patric Harris, Jason Silva, Keegan-Michael Key, and more. Apart from presenting such celebrities, the show also interacts with volunteers to further the cause of engaging the audience to the show. Moreover, these volunteers also assist in proving the points that the show is based upon.

 

Xploration Awesome Planet

Xploration Awesome Planet is another educational television series which serves as the constituent of the Xploration Station Block. The series is hosted by the Phillipe Cousteau Jr., the grandson of Jacques-Yves Cousteau. A man of innumerous skills, Jacques Cousteau was a legendary naval officer, explorer, conservationist, filmmaker, photographer, author, and much more. The show involves Philippe exploring the most spectacular and mesmerizing places present on our earth and above it. As the show takes the viewers from the varying heights of the mountains to depths of the rivers, it mesmerizes them while educating them about the various associated concepts of STEM.

 

SciGirls

SciGirls Go Science Girls
   Image:Source

Created to serve as an educational outreach program, SciGirls focuses on elementary and middle-school children to teach them about the various concepts of STEM. Aimed particularly to create awareness of STEM subjects amongst girls, the show focuses on two characters, namely Jake and Izzie. Apart from showcasing the aforementioned, the program also introduces the viewers to numerous groups of girls, who eagerly perform tasks to answer the problems posed in a particular episode. Such an eagerness propels the children watching the show to become inquisitive and explore the world around them, enabling them to discover the presence of science and technology all around. 

 

Nina and The Neurons

Aimed particularly at the age group of 4 to 6-year olds, Nina and The Neurons teaches the students about the basic concepts of science. The show focuses primarily on a neuroscientist Nina who often registers five of her neurons to help her in figuring out the answers towards the problems which have been posted in a particular episode. The Neurons are essentially five of Nina’s senses which go by the names of Felix, Belle, Luke, Ollie, and Bud. Each of these senses plays an individual role in tackling the problems and finding a solution to them while entertaining and teaching the concepts to the viewers.  

 

Backyard Science

Backyard Science is a television show which was formed into existence owing to another pioneer science show. The show is a recreation of the Crash! Bang! Splat!, which was earlier broadcast in the USA. Backyard Science comprises of numerous curious children who explore the world and learn about the everyday scientific aspects without needing any additional or advanced apparatus. As a result, they propel children to make fun and practical applications of the show with the help of everyday objects to provide them with newer insights within their world. 

 

Xploration Outer Space

Xploration Outer Space

Image:Source

A lot of television shows which are present on this list explore the learning opportunities that are present on this earth. Xploration Outer Space, on the other hand, takes the viewers beyond the atmosphere of the earth and brings them to additional learning opportunities that lie in wait. Hosted by former NASA employee, Emily Calandrelli, the show explores some of the most prominent celestial bodies that are present out there in space. Not only does this show promote STEM learning for children, but, being a family show, it also grapples the attention of the other members of the family. This facilitates a full-fledged source of education for the entire family.

 

Nova

Nova
   Image:Source

Nova is one of the most widely watched television series on American television. The series has been created in the form of a documentary focusing on the various aspects of the field of science since the beginning. Not only does it explore the historical aspects of science, but the award-winning documentary series also focuses on the numerous applications of sciences which have been developed throughout the ages. Moreover, Nova often interviews scientists who are witnessed performing researching a particular field. A few of the various subjects which are often covered in the field include Colditz Castle, elementary particles, the eruption of Mt. St. Helens in the 1980s, global warming, and much more. 

 

Odd Squad

The Odd Squad
Image:Source

A Canadian live-action television series, Odd Squad is an educational program which focuses primarily on educating their viewers about the basic concepts of mathematics. The show involves an organization known as Odd Squad which is run entirely by children. With the help of their mathematics skills, the children practically employ their skills to solve the problems that they posed with every episode. Each episode of the Odd Squad show is of generally of 10-12 minutes. Two episodes of such are often paired up to create a 30-minute long show.

 

Mythbusters

MythBusters
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Mythbusters is an American-Australian science television show which was first aired in the December of 2003. The main purpose of the show was to use scientific elements and methods to test how much truth there is to the various rumors, myths, movie sciences, internet videos, and other hoaxes that we often find floating within our midst. Initially, the television featured Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman who explored through the various myths with the help of various special effects. As the series further progressed, it began to feature various other members regularly to test the viability of the various rumors.

 

Xploration Nature Knows Best

Xploration Nature Knows Best
Image:Source

Xploration Nature Knows Best is one of the most prominent shows from the Xploration Station Block. Hosted by marine biologist Danni Washington, the show primarily focuses on how nature has been inspiring people to develop the most notable technologies of our ages. Xploration Nature Knows Best is one of the most fascinating STEM series. Not only does it offer a fun and clever insight into the ways by which the world’s most advancements depend on nature for their creation. A few of the creations which the show has showcased involve the dependency that airplanes had in birds and dragonflies in their creation. Moreover, the show also introduces viewers to those people who were involved in creations.

 

Curious George

Curious George
Image:Source

Curious George is television which serves as an adaptation from a popular series of books by the same name. The series features a chimp by the name named George who was brought to live in a giant unnamed city from his natural habitat of Africa. George has often been witnessed to be a curious chimp who often causes unintentional problems. And it is while solving such problems that show teaches its viewers regarding the various newer concepts to the newer audience. Usually, the show uses George to explain the various features of maths and science by engaging the students in various forms of experiments.

 

The Blue Planet


Image:Source

Created and produced by BBC, The Blue Planet is a British nature documentary. Premiering on the 12th September 2011, the show was narrated by David Attenborough and is often described as one of the most comprehensive series which described the natural history of the world’s oceans. The series also features numerous sea creatures which had never earlier been discovered. Owing to an exemplary range of music and cinematography, the series was acclaimed several Emmy and BAFTA TV awards. The popularity of the series sparked the creation of a sequel series referred to as Blue Planet II.

DIY Christmas Tree Bubble Wand {Learn bubble physics}

 Learn to make a bubble wand and teach kids about bubble physics.  Check this link for more STEM activities for Christmas with fun for kids. 


Make a Christmas tree bubble wand and explore bubble science through play

Playing bubble is my pass time activity with kids. We used to have loads of joy. I wanted to gift my kids with happiness this Christmas with a DIY bubble wand. This will double the joy of Christmas fun and wands matching the occasion!

We have made wands several times for different occasion and trust me there is a learning every time. The physics concepts are learned from this experiment. We try different shape and make it unique every time.

Related: Check out other bubble wands by clicking the link below.

  1. Geometric shapes
  2. Easter egg
  3. Heart Shaped

Suitable For

All age group kids will enjoy with bubbles and at each age, they will experience different fun. Usually, babies will be fond of seeing and touching bubbles. On the other hand preschooler and KG kids will learn how to make it and how it works. My daughter’s Pritika and Tisha were 6 and 4 respectively when we tried this for Christmas.


Playing with Christmas Tree bubble wands

How to make a Christmas Tree Bubble Wand

Things required

  • green tape
  • chopsticks
  • bubble mix solution
  • a cup
  • 12″ x 6mm pipe cleaner sparkly metallic green and 12″ x 6mm pipe cleaner furry green

From the list, you can see that there are two pipe cleaners we used namely the sparkly and the furry type. The trees will look different. Both displayed the same performance but my kids enjoyed sparkly one when compared to the furry type.

 Instructions to make them

  1. Take the pipe cleaner and fold it into half and mark the center point which will be the top of the Christmas tree.
  2. Bend and make a Christmas tree shape by joining the end in the center of the tree base
  3. Twist the rest of the pipe cleaner around chopstick end.
  4. Use tape to wrap it and secure it.
  5. Take the bubble mix in a bowl
  6. Before blowing check with kids if they know what shape will come out of the wands.
  7. Dip the bubble wand in the mix and blow

Christmas tree bubble wands

Tisha expected it to come out in Christmas tree shape. But she understood that it will be only round in shape after blowing a couple of times.

Christmas tree bubble wand bubbles
Catching a bubble
Christmas tree bubble wand hero

Then I explained to her about the science behind it in simple words.

I told her that the shape is a sphere and it is happening due to the push-pull force between air and the bubble mixture.

Blowing bubbles with a DIY Christmas tree bubble wand

Christmas tree bubble wands

Later on, my elder one joined us from school and then I gave her a detailed explanation.

I told her that air is present everywhere but not visible and it can be felt. The soap solution reduces the surface tension of the water. When the bubble is floating the air present inside push the bubble outside and air outside pushes the bubble in and hence there is a push-pull force which makes the shape round.

Even with the Christmas tree shaped bubble wand the bubble will be round as the sharp corners will not balance out the inside and outside air. The outside air will push persistently till bubbles become round. Pritika observed that when the bubble landed on a slippery table it change shape to semi-sphere.

Semi sphere bubble

I told her that the third force coming from the table makes it appear flat on the table Hence, spherical bubble lands as a semi-spherical one. Pritika tried adding another bubble to the first one to see the shape.

Every time the touching portion appeared to be flat. Rest of the portion was round in shape.

Then we imagined and tried to make many bubbles float around attaching to each other. The bubble in the center will become a cube as all other bubbles touching it will make it flat. Across all sides, the sphere becomes flat to appear like a cube.

She also tried to look at the biggest bubble and its structure. She did eight bubbles on the table. It took time to stack and few disappeared in the process and she managed to arrange 8 of them in one go.

Creating a seven or eight bubble structure

Likewise, she tried in different ways and we enjoyed. Tisha had more fun and less understanding. But Pritika understood concepts and experimented new things. 

Fun Science

Bubble mix contains soap and water. Adding soap to the water lessens the surface tension and hence water becomes thin and flexible. So you can make great bubbles with this texture.

Therefore bubbles are made up of the soapy water film containing air inside. The pushing out force of the air inside the bubble and the pushing in force of the air outside will balance out by forming a round shape.

Do you want to know the shape of the bubble in space?


Christmas tree bubble wand play

Christmas tree bubble wand square

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Check Christmas Science page for more Christmas related activities.

 

 

Physics fun activities are available at Physics Experiments for Kids

 

 

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Christmas tree bubble wands and bubble science for kids - fun STEAM activity for holidays

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Catapult STEM Project – DIY Catapult for Kids

We are going to add fun to your kid’s life with a catapult experiment. Do not throw the Popsicle stick next time when you buy an ice candy. It will be useful for our STEM project which includes math, engineering, physics, and play as well.

How many of you agree to my point that ‘Exploring physics is bit boring for kids’!? I guess most of them say ‘Yes’. But this time I have come up with a special activity that proves physics and STEM could be so much fun. That is nothing but ‘Making a Catapult at home’.

lets build catapult for kids

Catapult!! Have you wondered listening the word ‘Catapult’!? I would say, ‘Yes we can make catapult at home with our kids absolutely’. Building a catapult with our kids would starts out as a craft and ends with an energetic fun activity. The end result could be the wonderful and perfect toy for kids.

What is a Catapult?

A catapult is an ancient weapon or a ballistic device used mainly to launch stones, spears, and projectiles to a greater distance without the help of explosives. It is in use since ancient times and proven to be one of the most effective mechanisms in military during war.

Making a Catapult is a classic building activity and fun science project for kids during summer. This activity doesn’t need you to run behind the fancy stores since it requires only few commonly used household things (kids are familiar with).

Today, we made three different mini catapults in three different methods. I have included a video too along with the post i.e. on the catapult action-how it works after it is made. I know you all are also eagerly waiting to learn. Ok! Let us learn how to make a catapult at home.

Suitable For

No hard and fast rule as to who must try this activity. It is best suited for all the naughty little toddlers, girls and boys from age 3 and above. My little ones are 3+ and 5+ and both had equal fun.

Off course the preschoolers need some guidance and support, to begin with, the projectiles as well as to measure the distance. Instruct them to make a mark with chalk on the floor every time the projectile reaches to know the longest distance the catapult travels. Explain to them why the distance varies every time even though it is the same catapult and same kid does it.

However, 5+ years kids will be eager to measure the distance on their own. You can even teach them to make a table and draw a graph with many readings. Don’t spoon-feed them but ask them to find a way to measure the distance. You will be surprised to see the brainpower of your kids.

On the other hand, ask 7+ kids to design a catapult on their own. They will start from scratch. Let them find out by making the arms short and long to see how they work and the projectile distance.  They will understand the force and the foolproof length of the arm etc by doing on their own.

Method 1 : Making a Catapult at home using Popsicle sticks

Items needed to build a catapult

Building a mini catapult with Popsicle sticks require very few items or supplies. Let us see.

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Procedure

Step-1: Create the base of the catapult

Stack two Popsicle sticks and glue it together in order to make it standard. Make a square shaped base using these stacked popsicles. Use rubber bands to make ‘U’ shape and tie them near corners to create a square shaped base. On the fourth side, use a cylindrical shaped thin wooden stick and tie it to the corners of the ‘U’ shaped base so that it is making a square shaped base all together. Do not forget to pass a 2 inch straw piece in the middle of the wooden stick.

bundle sticks with rubber band for catapult

Step-2: Create a t-shape

As the title suggests, create a ‘T’ shape at the fourth side where we have attached a piece of straw. This time you need to use glue to fix it to the Popsicle stick since it need to be strong to hold little weight.

make square structure with sticks catapult design

create rotating shaft for catapult

catapult base with sticks and rotating shaft

 Step-3: Attach Bottle cap

Now, it’s time to arrange some space for the projectiles (nothing but our tiny objects like marsh mallows or cotton balls or any light weighted plastic balls) to launch. Attach a bottle cap upside down to the free end of the ‘T’ shaped Popsicle (on top side). The bottle cap is used to launch tiny objects as projectiles for our activity. 🙂

catapult design with spring and ice sticks

Step-4: Attach a spring

A spring of about an inch should be attached to the Popsicle stick which is quiet opposite side of the wooden stick where the straw is inserted. Glue it to the Popsicle so that it does not move or shake during experiment. After attaching the spring make sure the spring is quiet in the middle of the Popsicle and quiet down to the bottle cap end as shown in the figure.

attach spring to catapult base

Here we go, our powerful mini catapult is ready to launch projectiles for our simple and engineering project for our little ones. My kids had a blast after preparing this in front of their eyes. All it needs is a little patience and time for your kids to show them such a beautiful and educational act.

catapult with spring ice sticks in action

Method 2 : Using the Same Base

Now we are going to learn second method using the same base. This time my elder daughter created the base in my direction. I am happy kids showing interest towards STEM activities. J

Step-1 Create a base

Create a square shaped base using Popsicle sticks, rubber bands, wooden stick, a piece of straw and glue. You can go through the step 1 of first method and follow the same.

Step-2: Attach Vertical Supporting Structures

Do not get confused!! Look at the picture and you will get an idea. Just attach to Popsicle sticks vertically to end of the base means you are attaching two Popsicle sticks each at one side. No need to add on all sides. Just attach to the adjacent sides of the wooden stick.

build big catapult structure

As shown in the figure bring the two free ends of the vertically placed Popsicle sticks to the middle point and tie them with a rubber band. Repeat the same to the other opposite side also. Now the Popsicle sticks give triangle shape (when we look from the sides) and looks like supporting or side walls to the base.

Step-3: Place a Popsicle stick on the top

Now as we called it as supporting walls, place a Popsicle stick horizontally attaching both the vertical shaped structures on the sides. Always see the figures we uploaded not to get mislead. Take the support of the ‘V’ shaped groove formed while making the vertical shaped assemblies. Now the whole structure gives the shape of a swing (outline shape) which we see in the kids play area.

Step-4 Attach the basket to launch projectiles

Arrange the basket for our tiny projectiles to launch again using Popsicle stick. At one free end attach a piece of straw in order to extend the length according to our catapult skeleton. (If it is not required for you then you can directly attach the bottle cap to the Popsicle stick. This is an optional step).

attach rubber band for rotating motion

Step-5: Glue the basket to the Catapult skeleton

Now attach the already made basket arrangement (shooting arm) to the straw using a glue. Glue fixes the shooting arm strongly so that it could bear enough tension. Use rubber bands and twist along the shooting arm and the horizontal Popsicle stick to give enough tension to the shooting arm.

catapult full model design

Load some small and light weighed objects to the ammunition basket and that’s it. Your mini catapult is ready to fire.

catapult in action

Method 3 : Plastic Spoons and Popsicle sticks

Supplies required

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Step-1: Create a base

As we do in above two methods, the first step is to create base but this time it is different base. Let us see what it is!

You can follow the step by step instructions given in the Instructables as I did as they are clear and visual.

Take 5 Popsicle sticks and stack them together on top of each other. Be sure to stack them neatly. You can use the tighter rubber band to secure them tightly and not to move.

catapult stem activity - fb

Step-2: Create an arm

Take another two Popsicle sticks and stack them on top of each other (as we did in the first step). Secure them at one end with the help of rubber band. So simple!! You are done with creating arm. Are you thinking how!? Don’t scratch your head. J Here the simple trick is just bend the other free end towards you (means outwards) thus creating an arm.

making and testing catapults

Step-3: Attach the base to the arm

Take the arm base and pull one of the free end of the stacked Popsicle base towards you resulting in a ‘V’ shape format. Now place the main base (made of 5 stacked Popsicles) in between the ‘V’ shape of the arm. Make sure you place the main base one half inch away from the end that is tied with rubber band.

Wrap a rubber band around the arm and the base in order to secure the arm to the base.

Step-4: Glue the Bottle Cap

Now create a basket for the ammunition to launch. Glue a bottle cap to the free end of the arm of the mini catapult that serves as a basket for projectiles (marsh mallows, ping poms, cotton balls) to launch.

Your catapult is ready to launch your tiny projectiles. J As I said it is very easy to assemble catapult using Popsicle sticks and rubber bands. Am I right!? Hope you all agree. J You can try using simple plastic spoons attaching to the free end of the Popsicle stick and make use it as an ammunition basket. Use rubber bands to fix the spoons to the Popsicle stick.

Catapult science, engineering and maths (STEM) activity for kids

 

Measuring distance - Catapult STEM activity for kids, that combines science, engineering and maths with play

 

Observations

Don’t panic to look at this picture, trust me it is easy once you get a hold of the design. Kids can do it themselves. So have the patience for the first time.

1) Try changing the different angles of the rubber bands

2) Add additional tighter rubber bands and observe whether it is making any difference in catapult’s power.

3) Launch different objects in the ammunition basket like ping pong balls, pom poms, and marsh mallows etc. and observe which one is going farthest!

Test #1: Which is powerful and travels a long distance

My younger one Tisha was so excited to do it. With a line marked on the floor as the beginning line, we began with our experiment. Every time she used the catapult and started making lines on the floor to measure the distance. She did a great job using a tape. With my help, she also noted the readings down.

My elder one Pritika did it herself and measured too. Both of them tried thrice on all catapults and compared the measurements.

Test#2: Now to measure the height

We now started talking about measuring the height as we thoroughly understood and equally had fun with the length. Here we even shared views about the design and the trajectory. 

Now we did it with a Magna Tile tower to monitor the square in which the projectile hits and that was easy to measure the height as well.

It all began with a 6 square high tower. Yes, we did it and the projectile reached the top. Again we made some changes to the tower height and adjusted the start line position as well.

We tried a couple of times to conclude on some details by using all the 3 catapults. Finally, we understood that we require a tall tower.

Fun Science Facts behind Catapult

Using a catapult now launching a projectile is quick and easy and there are no explosives required.

The science behind it explains kids to learn how the energy is created, stored, transferred and converted. Basically, a catapult works on energy transfer from one object to another object. We are talking about the energy much but where is this energy stored!? The energy is added and stored in the Popsicle stick when the tiny projectiles are added to the basket (bottle cap).

When you let go the Popsicle stick, the stored energy is transferred to the object launched in the bottle cap which then flies through the air. Catapult also uses the elastic energy which is transformed into the kinetic energy under tension stored in the rubber bands. Here we need to remember one physics formula we studied in our school. I.e. the amount of force is directly related to the amount of the mass. If the mass of the projectile is increased, then it requires more force to convert the stored energy into kinetic energy. The extra force is created by using more elastic bands. The transferred kinetic energy is the main reason for throwing the projectile out of the bottle cap.

 

These devices are in use for several years as well they come in any size and shape. There are simple slingshot types and complicated trebuchet types are available. These are large one which will let launching of large boulders and knocking down even a castle wall is easy.

 

The path taken by the projectile is called the trajectory. The material flies in the air and the force applied to the catapult influences this distance. The release angle, projectile weight, resistance of air as well as gravity can be learned in this experiment.

You can make your own catapult and it is the best STEM activities which you should not miss ever. Loads of fun and science in it.

We did not stop just with making the experiment but explained about the need for STEM to little girls. We always want to make out little princess a scientist.

Now, coming to the catapult, we already made an upcycled catapult and enjoyed deeply. This time we are making a catapult with a twist and used ice candy sticks. Do you know what, I have a fascination for this since my childhood? Made this dream come true with my two angles.

It’s time to try yourself to find the catapult projectile distance, trajectory height, and consistency as well. You can try with different objects and apply different force to test in a different manner.

Check out for more ideas on our Fun Activities in Physics Page.

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Some Questions for Discussion

What is the science behind rubber band catapult?
The catapult science basically involves some physics and engineering skills to hurl a projectile without the use of an explosive. It works mainly by using potential and kinetic energy stored in the rubber bands. Potential energy is the store energy where as the kinetic energy is the energy in motion. Also, the three primary energy storage mechanisms that help the catapult to work are torsion, tension and gravity. A catapult store energy every time you stretch the rubber band and until you hit the trigger. When you let go off this rubber band, the potential energy is released creating a force. The force of this energy is responsible for the flung of any object (upwards or forwards) attached to the rubber band. 
How does a catapult get its energy?
A catapult gets energy either from the twisted ropes or the rubber bands. When you stretch a rubber band the potential energy stored is converted into kinetic energy. These are the two main energies used for the catapult’s action. 
How high can a catapult shoot?

In medieval period, the largest trebuchets (with throwing arms 50 feet in length and ~20,000 lbs counterweight) could throw stones 200-300 lbs to a distance of about 1000 feet. While the modern torsion catapults can fire 400 m to 500 m and any that can’t shoot 300 m [ i.e.. bow range] are useless. To achieve maximum accuracy and effect rocks must be spherical. 
Who invented catapult?
Catapults were invented by the ancient Greeks. The Greek Dionysius (the Elder of Syracuse), who was looking to develop a new type of weapon, invented the catapult about 400 BCE. Thereafter, it became a key weapon in warfare and remained so up through medieval times. In ancient India, they were used by the Magadhan Emperor Ajatshatru around (the early to mid) 5th century BC.
How does a catapult relate to physics?
A catapult actually works on the three main terms of physics i.e. tension, torsion and gravity. Also it works on energy storage mechanisms (nothing but the stored potential energy and energy in motion kinetic energy) says that a catapult works on physics. Newton’s second law relates an acceleration, object’s mass, and force with which it is moving. We can also observe this law when the projectile hits the ground. All these moments reminds us physics. 
What are the 3 type sof catapults?
The three main types of catapults are:
1) Ballista: The ballista is a missile weapon, very similar to a cross bow that launches a large projectile at a distant target.
2) Mangonel: The mangonel is the most iconic catapult which comes the first in our mind when we think of catapults. It is basically made of wooden arms and a bucket to launch projectiles. 
3) Trebuchet: The trebuchet is bit different in model when compared to the above two catapults. It is made with a long arm (balanced on a fulcrum) and short arm (to counter balance). The Trebuchet was designed for max power and distance.

What kind of energy is used in a catapult?
When you use your catapult to launch a cube you are transforming Potential into Kinetic Energy. Potential Energy is the stored energy and  the kinetic energy is the energy of motion. When you twist the rubber band, tension is created and stored in the twisted band. When you let go the rubber band the released kinetic energy helps to throw off the launched projectile.
What came first the catapult or trebuchet?
Catapults are invented first during ancient times. Though they are good at accuracy, trebuchets are invented by chinese to attain greater range of accuracy and maximum force and power. The main difference between both are trebuchet uses a swinging arm to throw a projectile. Without such a sling (swinging arm), the machine would be a catapult.
Why is a trebuchet better than a catapult?
Trebuchet are most powerful catapults, specially designed for maximum force and power. Trebuchets are believed to be invented by the chinese in 300 BC. The trebuchet was preferred over a catapult due to its greater accuracy and greater range capability. A trebuchet works by using the energy of a falling (and hinged) counterweight to launch a projectile, using mechanical advantage to achieve a high launch speed.

Upcycled Catapult – STEM go green DIY Challenge

You can now make an upcycled catapult easily. With the right projectile ready you can now teach Fun physics for kids.

Easy DIY Upcycled Catapult - science play for kids

We are going to be part of the 4 weeks STEM challenge. It is running for 28 days with hands-n science activities. Every week they will announce a new theme and under the Go Green theme, we are going to make a DIY. GO green is nothing but an eco-friendly experiment with some science concepts involved in it. Your kids can have fun and you can feel glad to teach them science. We will be using upcycled items which are available at home. Also, it is part of 10 minutes activity and you need not spend much time.

Suitable For

It is an experiment with logic and fun so you can try with all age group kids. How will different age group find it useful is listed below.

Toddlers – Can have fun with the activity but make sure you are using a soft projectile

Preschoolers – These kids can try changing different projectiles and understand which one goes high and far.

Kindergarteners  – They will do the catapult on their own and can try with different items to find the best make. Try using projectiles of different size and shape to understand the science behind the experiment. Also, will try to move the fulcrum or use a long beam and find the effects. You can fix targets to hit and score them to announce the winner.

Things required to make the DIY catapult

    • Cardboard tube which is strong (preferably an empty toilet tissue roll)
    • Hair elastic
    • Projectile
    • safety glass (optional)
    • Wooden spoon

Making a DIY catapult using recycled materials

Check the tube that is available at home. The one I used is the toilet tissue roll which will be thrown after use. If not use a rolling pin and that will do the job.

Loop the elastic on the cardboard tube two times. In the place where the elastic gets crossed insert a wooden spoon and fix it. So at the end of the spoon you can keep the projectile.

With this basic catapult model you can start your experiment and choose the projectile. For toddlers use a crushed paper and that will be soft. Also, can be played indoor without any fear of damage. Indeed it is one of the best rainy day activity.

Where did it go Experimenting with projectiles
Indoor science fun with DIY catapult and projectiles

Try this activity outdoor when playing with preschool kid. Try with pinecones or seed pods as the projectile.

With these projectiles, you need not worry about any damage caused to the neighbor’s house.

Also, we suggest you to use the safety glass and protect kids eyes. You can check this to know about safety glass.

Upcycled eco-friendly catapult - science fun for kids

I have tried this several times as my kids love to do this at home and outside. It’s really a fun activity. You can also try this and have fun.

DIY Upcycled lever catapult - fun science activity for stem goes green

Fun Science

This is a lever and the science behind this is similar to a simple machine. It consists of a beam, the spoon handle is the beam. It is fixed to the fulcrum (cardboard tube) at one point with the help of the elastic. Imagine a seesaw that works on the same principle.

The lever will affect the effort required to raise something. Vary the distance between the fulcrum, force, and the load (projectile) to test the height traveled by the projectile.

This experiment is listed under 4 weeks of STEM challenge. Take a look and you can find many activities for kids.

Easy DIY Upcycled Catapult - fun science activity you can do at home, indoors or outside. Great STEM activity for kids

How To Make Balance Scales for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Lets make balancing scale

Toddlers and preschoolers always love to weigh every item. They play “Which one is heavier?” game and we can now help them make a balance scale at home. Side by side you can also teach them about gravity.

Lets make balancing scale

My elder daughter is 7 years old now and she started learning about measurement and weights in Maths. So I had to make a homemade balance scale. Firstly, I thought it would be very difficult to make a balance scale but once I started working on it I realized that it is much easier than I thought.

Our balance scale is a simple balance, a rod with a pan at each end that is suspended in the middle. This is a perfect activity for introducing the kids to the concepts of weight and measurement. So let us add little balance to our day-to day life.

Suitable For
Children who are 5 years and older are perfect to do this experiment. However, both toddlers and preschoolers can also try this. Tisha had real fun and she is 3.5 years old when we did the simpler version of this experiment (scroll down to the second part)!

What Your Child Will Learn or Practice

  • How to compare and contrast objects
  • Estimation skills
  • Measurement skills
  • Force of gravity

Materials required

What We Need

  • Two identical paper plates
  • Scissors
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencils to mark
  • Thread
  • A long and big straw
  • Jump clips
  • Paper clips
  • A long stick (should be of same length like straw)

Building a Balancing Scale

Balance scales are often used to find weight. Balance scales work like a seesaw. They have two main parts: the beam and the fulcrum.

1) Making Baskets for the scale: To make a homemade balance scale at home, we require two identical paper plates. Punch three holes to each plate using a hole punch. Make sure to make the holes close to the rim of the paper plates and in a triangular shape. If you don’t have paper plates, you can make use of plastic or paper cups to serve the purpose.

2) Making the strings: Take six pieces of woollen thread that are each around two feet long and cut. You can use any kind of strings which perfectly balances the balance scale. Thick and strong strings make the balance scale more durable. After you cut the strings, please check whether all the strings are of same length or not. If not adjust them by cutting using scissors.
Making Balance Scale plate

3) Attaching the strings to the plates: Insert the three strings to one of the paper plate separately in to the three holes made. Repeat the same to the other paper plate as well. Then bring the free ends of the strings together to the centre point and give a knot. Insert a paper pin around the knot as if to hold the paper plate perfectly. You can follow our pictures to get an idea on how to insert and tie up the strings.

4) Making a beam: Beam holds the objects to be weighed in the weighing baskets. In order to make beam, measure the length of the long straw and cut according to our required length. It depends on how big we are going to make the balance scale.

5) Attach the weighing baskets to the beam: Now beam is ready in your hands. Insert two jump clips one each at the free end of the straw as shown in the figure. These jump clips help to hold the weighing baskets freely on both sides of the beam. Now the model looks like a see-saw. J Take a piece of woollen string and tie it to the beam exactly in the middle. This helps to hold the beam to the fulcrum.

My younger kid Tisha started shouting and clapping seeing the see saw like model thinking that I am going to make one of her play area rides. J Sometimes kids are too innocent to understand the things that are happening around. No matter what she understands but younger kids enjoy watching this activity.

6) Making fulcrum: Fulcrum is also one of the major parts of a simple balance. It helps to hold the beam up and move. Take the wooden stick and a pencil and tie up both together. Now bring the stick and pencil perpendicular to each other. See the figures for reference. Now attach beam and the fulcrum with the help of the small woollen string (in the middle of the beam). But where!? The answer is you can attach to one free end of the pencil. Almost we are nearing to end the activity.

7) Wrapping up: Now that your balance scale is almost ready. I made a thick and hard base using hard thermocol sheet. Tisha was excited to paint thermocol and she used black color to paint. We made a hole exactly in the centre of the thermocol base so that we can insert our simple balance scale in the hole.

Now we are ready with the homemade balance scale to measure and weigh the objects. It is easy to weigh any objects using balance scale. Place the objects that you wish to weigh on one side of the weighing balance machine. Add standard weights to the other pan. Check the weight of the objects being placed according to the standard weights.

Here is our little homemade balance scale. My elder daughter proudly displayed it to all her friends in our society and explained how the balance scale works to measure weights. My kids enjoyed weighing the small objects like paper pins, dice etc…Every day they are using balance scale measuring whatever the objects they find in the home. 🙂 As a parent I am very happy to see kids learning some simple craft science experiments even at home. I highly recommend you to try out this simple experiment along with your kids and do amaze everyone around you with your discoveries and research. 

Building a Simple Balance Scale Using Coat Hanger

I wanted to make a simpler version of the balance scale to teach my younger one. Here is another version of balance scale that you can try at home. 

Which one is heavier fun science for toddlers

This 10 minutes craft is fun and can be made by kids very easily. Tisha my 2.11-year-old little one enjoyed making this and went crazy at the end of the day. It was so exciting and she was looking for objects at home to weigh them. Did not spare any single toy from weighing.

She compared weights of the following things.

  • Tangerine
  • Christmas baubles
  • Costume jewels
  • Lego Duplo animals
  • Mandarins
  • Decorative pebbles

Collecting items to weigh

She will collect things in the bucket and run to the balance scale and weight them. We composed a song in a rhythm and shouted “Which is heavier?” while comparing the buckets and she will point to the bucket that is heavier correctly. I will ask her how. Then she will explain to me that the bucket with more weight will go down when compared to the other.

 

I was happy for my Tisha as for her age she understood gravity very clearly.

Which one is heavier weight game for toddlers

Things required to make DIY Balance Scales 

  • paper cups – 2
  • children’s clothes hanger and notches
  • kitchen twine
  • scissors
  • single hole punch

Links (*Affiliate) are added so that you can purchase things in case they are not available at home. However, I had all at home.

How to make a DIY balance scale using coat hanger

  1. Take one coat hanger and hang it in a place where it can swing. But make sure it is not tied at a height. Let it be accessible to kids. I did it on my pantry door.
  2. Using a hole punch create holes in the paper cup to tie twines of equal length and make it look like a bucket.

Let it be lengthier so that kids can handle them easily. Also, they can remove and hang them on their own.

Kids can add items to the scale all by themselves

3. Instruct kids to fill the bucket with things.

Let them feel free to do it and anything can be filled. As long as it is solid in nature to avoid any mess. Let the kids guess which will be heavier before they see the results.

 4. Now by adding the buckets with the hanger, your kids can witness the heaviest bucket by noticing that heavier one moves down.

Toddler science comparing the weight of Duplo animals vs Christmas decorations

If they have guessed it correctly, then ask them how? Also, teach them about gravity. Allow them to change things and understand better about weight and balancing.

Slowly they will get a hold. Show them about balancing with equal weights in both buckets as well.

Do not keep on tracking them but let them explore and ask them to make a note of their observation. But let them guess every time to make sure they understand the weights correctly.

Tisha was explaining her dad with so much excitement and demonstrated everything to her.

This kept them busy in their “Which one is heavier?” game for couple of hours 🙂

Fun Science Fact
Gravity is nothing but a force which pulls things downwards. The earth core in the center attracts things towards itself and heavier things move lower than the others. Therefore gravity pulls the object downwards.

Disclaimer : This post contains affiliate links from Amazon. An affiliate link means that when you purchase using the link provided in this page, I would get a small referral fees WITHOUT any extra cost to you. I highly appreciate your understanding and support.

What {or Not} To Buy

Doing science experiments cost you much? No, Not at all. Yes, there is no need to buy things for doing these simple experiments. Most of the things we discuss here can be done with the things available at home. All you need to do is, get them in one table and start playing (teaching) your kids.

Check out here to find the list of experiments that you can do at home with things available at home. They are indeed called as common household items.

However, if you want to make a small science lab at home for reasons like teaching kids at your neighborhood, or start a playschool, then you need to have more items at one go. Also, you can think of gifting little older kids with such useful things to encourage them to do the experiments on their own. You can find my recommendations and reviews here.

Science Lab Supplies and Suggestions

I have listed the basic things we use for our experiment quite often and given the US and UK affiliate* links. You can feel free to purchase from there based on your need.

  1. Baking Soda – Commonly referred to as cooking soda, bread soda, bicarb, bicarbonate of soda, etc. It is a mandatory ingredient for all baking recipes. In our page, we have used it for the following experiments
    1. Fizzy Sherbet
    2. Violet Crumble
    3. Erupting Volcano
    4. Anzac Biscuits
    5. Castle in the clouds

Affiliate links to purchase Baking Soda US and UK

  1. Black Light – Glow in the dark in black light will add fun to kids and here you can choose the UV-A light emitting black lights. You may normally find it difficult to choose the right one from stores. However, you can get it in less than USD 20 in online stores. In our page, we have used it for the following experiments
    1. Glowing slime
    2. Glowing ice
    3. Glowing water beads

Affiliate links to purchase Black Light US and UK

  1. Borax – It is chemically referred to as sodium tetraborate, sodium borate, or disodium tetraborate. You can find this in the laundry section in the stores. It is a mineral that occurs naturally and is used to clean clothes. Also, it can be used in science activities to make realistic crystals. In our page, we have used it for the following experiments
    1. Crystal flowers
    2. Crystal candy canes
    3. Crystal hearts

 

Affiliate links to purchase Black Light US

  1. Pipettes– These are best suited to measure quantities. Even you can use to transfer liquids. Kids motor skill will be activated by learning to use pipettes.

 

Affiliate links to purchase Pipettes US or UK

 

  1. Safety Glasses – To protect kids eyes while doing experiments like DIY rockets it is advisable to use goggles. Even while doing experiments with borax one can choose to use this for kids. We have these ones which we altered slightly.

 

Affiliate links to purchase safety glasses US or UK

 

  1. Vinegar- This is used for cleaning and must be available in every house. It is also available in grocery stores. We used it in the following experiments to create a mild acidic effect.

 

  1. dissolve the eggshell off an egg
  2. homemade curds and whey
  3. erupting volcano
  4. foamy clouds

Affiliate links to purchase vinegar US or UK

I will keep on adding more to this list as and when I use them in more experiments. 

We welcome you to provide us with recommendations as well and we can include them to the list.

* This post does have some affiliate links. An affiliate link means that when you purchase using the link provided in this page, I would get a small referral fees without any extra cost to you. I high appreciate your understanding and support.