Saturday, April 16, 2011

DIY with your kids

I must start off by saying that this was the most enjoyable 'assignment' I have done since I started grad school! For my DIY project I wanted to try and do some DIY projects with my 5 year old daughter. I spend quite a bit of time looking at different projects and kept finding more and more projects that I wanted to do... and more and more websites that I wanted to visit. The best websites that I found (some from the previous lecture notes) were , , , , and other fun sites that had kid projects. Of all of the cool ideas, that ones that we actually made were:

Groovy Lava Lamp

This project is all about oil and water not mixing. Basically you take a bottle and fill it about 2/3rd of the way with water then fill the rest with water that has some food coloring in it. Then to actually make the lava effect, you put little pieces of alka-seltzer in the water and it bubbles and makes the water rise through the oil. It didn't work very well, but it was fun to do. The bubble didn't last very long and the alka-seltzer kept floating to the top.

Marshmallow Catapult

Making the marshmallow catapult was also pretty fun, but with mixed results. One of the problems with this one is that the instructions were really vague and didn't give enough detailed information so we had to guess a little bit. It was pretty fun to make and I think that if we made a Marshmallow catapult 2.0 it would be much more successful.

CD Hovercraft

The CD hovercraft was also somewhat less than successful. It kind of worked, but the wooden spools that I bought were too small and the balloons kept coming off. I got some bigger spools to try again, but the first version was not very good. Hopefully the next round will be more successful.

Duct Tape Fun -

Our most successful craft came from making stuff out of Duct Tape. I must admit, that I was quite impressed that my daughter did most of this on her own. She wanted to make a bag, and so I said go for it. I helped her start the sides of the bag after she made the bottom, but she did most of the bag by herself (including straps and a pocket). She spent almost the whole weekend playing and making stuff out of two roles of duct tape. I couldn't help but feel so proud of her for being so creative.

Finally we did the nice Mentos and coke experiment, just for fun.

It was really fun to spend some time with my kid, and she loved having some attention from her dad that tries to play with her, but doesn't always do a good job of it. It was neat to teach her some actual scientific information about how some of these things work, and I hope that more of this DIY movement continues to spread.


  1. Aww, these were so cute, Justin! I love that you tried so many different things.

    I didn't realize Disney had it's own craft/game site. I'll have to explore some things to do with my nephew sometime!

    Glad you had so much fun with the project!

  2. This is great! What a diversity of projects you have here and I love the how these activities really create a memorable event -- hopefully this is the start of a DIY tradition in the family! Loved how at the end of the last video the kids were asking for more coke rockets -- priceless! So what were the ties to science? Just curious as it seems like some interesting connections. And, yes, your daughter was SO CREATIVE with that duct tape! I'm a little intimidated! Loved the duct tape that you found as well! Where did you find it?

  3. This is so fun and certainly memorable for your little one! I love the duct tape, too - please do tell!! I will be referring to these sites for my own DIY fun with the family - my kids are going to LOVE these ideas. WOW! This is the type of learning that one doesn't forget! :) Great post. - Kate

  4. The duct tape was pretty cool and there are bunches of sites that have ideas (,, and again had some ideas too). You can get different colors of duct tape at walmart, or craft stores. It is usually a little pricey, but they had a sale of 2/$5 at Michaels when I was there which was almost half off.

    As far as the science content that was learned, we were able to talk about air pressure with the hover craft, oil and water with the lava lamp, carbonation with the diet coke and mentos. She really likes learning about science stuff.

  5. This looks awesome! That marshmallow shooter must have been really fun :) You guys must have had so much fun creating all that stuff!!