When you think about it, many of the educational hobbies out there involve science, math, and reading. It’s a natural progression that your science fair projects could be in the realm of something you already enjoy, something you’ve taken for granted as “just a hobby.” Not to minimize hobbies, just the opposite. I think they should be second nature for the whole family! But when they are, we may not think about the science fair opportunities that may be just under the surface.
What Science Fair Projects Involve Educational Hobbies?
Here’s a handful to get you thinking:
Remote Control Helicopters: How much weight can they carry and how far? What batteries power up longer? What makes one helicopter faster than another?
Philately: What is the best method for removing a stamp? How do you remove the paper from the back, and what do you need to know to preserve them properly?
Robotic Boats: What does the length of the boat have to do with its ability to navigate a circumference accurately? Does the weight have anything to do with it? What engine goes faster, gas or electric?
Modeling Clay: How long does it take polymer clay to dry as opposed to modeling clay? Which colors take better? Can one do more than the other?
Cooking: What happens when you mix baking soda with vinegar? Why? Why does chocolate pudding get thick when you cook it?
Pinewood Derby: C’mon, the whole thing is science! How far can you make it go? What contributed to the speed? What are the differences between two competing cars?
So get your hypothesis ready, ask a question that you may already know something about, but may not have thought about why you’re getting the results you’re getting. Maybe one of these hobbies already interested you, but you’ve never pursued it. A science fair project is a good reason to get started! What hobbies have you used as a basis for a science fair project?
If your local science fair hasn’t happened yet, it’s likely to be right around the corner. More and more schools are making participation mandatory, and giving a test grade for the project. I think requiring participation is a great idea, causing many who would never compete, to at least start to understand the process of discovery.
Every science fair project has to follow a particular process; the first is always a hypothesis. With such a large name, your younger kids will no doubt wrinkle their noses, but basically it’s just a fore running thought about what they expect to happen and why during their experiment. Asking these kinds of questions ultimately causes a child to start thinking ahead with a part of their brain that’s not finished developing until their early twenties. That’s one reason science fair projects should involve the whole family on some level.
I’m not suggesting that the whole family do one project; instead I’m suggesting that every age sibling be exposed to the line of reasoning used for each child’s separate project. Different ages and different thought processes cause each to see something in the other’s projects they may not have otherwise gathered.
Science Fair Project Choices
There are so many choices out there! Inevitably your child will either look online for some kit to purchase, or work on something that they already have an interest in. They may decide to do what their brother or sister did last year, and that’s okay. Do some looking, too, but make sure your ideas aren’t running the show. Here’s where it’s nice to have sibling involvement. You can better manage from afar, with the majority of the conclusions being discovered independently. Of course, depending on the risk factors, they may need you to be more involved! Don’t let them get hurt, by any means (this means you, daredevil dads!).
Affordable Science Fair Project Ideas
Making science interesting for your family is just good sense. Science projects don’t have to cost much if you’re creative. To name a few:
The fastest paper airplane. This should include different weight distribution like paper clips or Popsicle sticks. Dig deep, you’ll enjoy it!
Sugar crystals, my personal favorite. When kids work in the kitchen they learn science, math, and reading, so I really encourage something in the kitchen for students of every age. This project has to do with food coloring, length of time cooked, and temperature used to make a chemical reaction. This is pretty frequently suggested in the info packs from school.
Strongest nail color. No kidding, my daughter did this by hot gluing fake fingernails to Popsicle sticks, painting each with a different brand of nail polish, and then subjecting them to daily tasks! Completely her idea in the 6th grade, and she really learned a lot. It interested her friends, and her little sister!
Many educational hobbies are discovered when you begin to research what topics to test.
Check back often because I’m going into more detail in future posts. Let me know what creative things you’ve been trying!