A trait inherent to all nerds is that of curiosity. A desire and need to explore and learn prevails among the nerdy population, oftentimes manifesting in bizarre ways. Some express their curiosity by learning the lyrics to every song ever made by their favorite band. Others play video games until they’ve mastered and memorized the minutiae of their virtual world (they even read fan fiction!). Still others attend comic book conventions dressed like a Pikachu or a Wookie.
Regardless of the creative outlet nerds define themselves by, a keen interest in learning and knowing lies at the heart of our sometimes bewildering pastimes. It is of the utmost importance that this thirst for knowledge is encouraged in your youngins, and that they are given outlets with which to sate this endless itch. Also, giving them stuff to do keeps ‘em out of your hair for a while. Here’s two ideas, science projects if you will, to keep your kids preoccupied and to promote an interest in learning.
Baking Soda and Vinegar Volcano… Without the Volcano
Nearly everyone is familiar with this ubiquitous science project: fashion a small volcano from clay or other construction material, fill the top with baking soda, add vinegar, and watch it erupt. Making a volcano, however, is no easy task, and can take an hour or more. If you’re looking to keep your little ones occupied without such a time investment, try this:
- Pour baking soda into a pie tin or onto a deep plate.
- Pour vinegar into several small cups, and then add a few drops of food coloring to each cup. For best results, use the primary colors red, blue, and yellow.
- Sit your wee one down with a straw and show them how to suction the vinegar by placing their thumb over the top of the straw.
- Finally, show them how to release the suction into the baking soda. The drops of vinegar will bubble up with their respective colors. The baking soda will last for a good while and also your kids will get an added lesson in color mixing. When the blue drops contact the yellow ones, they’ll turn green.
Lava Lamp for Kids
Generally speaking offering drugs to kids is frowned upon, but for this experiment you’ll need a few Alka Seltzer tablets. What you’ll do is demonstrate the separation of water and oil, throw in some food coloring, pop in an Alka Seltzer and then let your kids go to town. Most children are bright enough to not eat the pills, but just to be on the safe side, keep an eye on them while they’re playing with their new lamp.
- Fill a water bottle half way with water.
- Fill it the rest of the way with oil (vegetable oil works fine).
- Add some food coloring. It will slide to the bottom and dye the water.
- Once the color is mixed in, chop up the pill into a few pieces and pop one in the bottle. The water will start to bubble to the top, carrying the coloring along with it. Once it dies down, you can give the remaining pieces to your nerdlings so they can add them at their discretion. Remember to keep an eye on them so they don’t kill themselves. Children have not yet fully developed the instinct of preservation of the self.