Encouraging a child to create an invention not only serves as an educational opportunity for the child, but also as an entertaining activity. If a child is unfamiliar with creating inventions, he may be given instructions on inventions that he can make. Once a child is familiar with the creation of inventions, however, he may be able to brainstorm a unique invention when offered a problem to solve. Couple the creation of inventions with the study of famous inventions for an in-depth educational opportunity.
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The Thinking Fountain website encourages the invention of an air powered machine, suggesting that a hairdryer, fan, balloon or a child's breath be used as the air that powers the invention. A child can use her imagination and a little creativity to create an air powered machine that fulfils various criteria, such as creating a machine that launches an aeroplane or moves a ping pong ball. Some examples that children created include using a hair dryer to blow down a paddle that hits corks and launches an aeroplane, as well as an invention that uses a balloon to push a tube of cardboard up like a teeter totter to get a ping pong ball started rolling through a maze of cardboard tubing. While inventing an air powered machine, stress creativity and allow the child to think outside the box. She may need to use some trial and error before she creates a working invention.
A child can surprise visitors to his home or room with a creative door greeter using two eye screws, nylon string or fishing line, a remote control car or hand crank and an animal or scary monster made from craft supplies. This invention featured on the Build-It-Yourself web site requires a child to make an animal, such as a bird that will hang in front of the door and begin flying around when the door is opened. Simply attach the homemade animal or monster to one end of the nylon string or fishing line, passing the string through the eye screws secured in the centre and side of the door frame and secure the opposite end of the string to the remote control car's wheels or the hand crank. When someone comes to enter the room, crank the hand crank or use the remote control to power the wheels of the car, which will wind the string and make the homemade animal begin to move. The visitor will be surprised when confronted with this cool invention.
Use the head of a toothbrush, a small pager motor and a battery to create a simple robot that will teach a child the basics of robotics. Shown on the Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories web site, this simple robot is easy for a child to make and will get her thinking of variations on the inventions. Simply cut the head of a toothbrush off of the handle, attach the motor and battery to the top plastic piece of the toothbrush head with double-sided foam tape and connect the pager motor to the battery with some copper wires. Place the toothbrush head on its bristles and when the copper wires touch the battery in the correct position, the motor will begin to vibrate causing the toothbrush head to move around. Once a child has perfected creating a toothbrush robot, she may expand upon the idea, using the same motor and battery to create robots using different materials such as candy tins or toy figurines.
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