Come on, try this at home!

Not every child comes with a compelling drive to sit with the latest 400-page blockbuster novel.  This, in no way, implies that such a child is not a reader. It just means that she might look beyond fiction books for her particular fun.  And this lucky child will find countless opportunities for exploration in the non-fiction realms of the library’s collection. If you have an amateur scientist or know a child whose enthusiasm for lounging around the house has waned, try leaving a few provocative science project books on the coffee table for spontaneous, casual perusal.

The Book of Totally Irresponsible Science by Sean Connolly includes instructions for making potato guns, hover crafts and a matchbox microphone, as well as, the infamous Cola Geyser. There is nothing quite so spectacular as this backyard science project:  take a two-liter Diet Pepsi placed on a flat surface on the ground and center an index card over the open mouth of the bottle; on top of the card stack Mentos peppermint candies in an upturned test tube or a cylinder made of paper.  Now carefully,  but swiftly, pull away the card thereby letting the candies drop into the soda. Now RUN!  The geyser produced by the chemical reaction between the Mentos and Diet Pepsi will rival any National Parks wonder.

This year’s favorite Summer Reading book-talk at Ballard area schools was 100% Pure Fake: Gross-out Your Friends and Family with 25 Great Special Effects by Lyn Thomas; here you will find instructions on how to produce  such effects as fake blood, fake eyeballs, fake broken glass and the obligatory fake vomit. Howtoons: The Possibilities are Endless by Saul Griffith uses graphic (comics) style to illustrate how a pair of kids discovers how to make things from common objects found in garages and basements and learns about principles of science in the process. 

Round out this collection of enticing titles with: How Loud Can You Burp? by Glenn Murphy; Theo Gray’s Mad Science Experiments You Can Do at Home – But Probably Shouldn’t by Theodore Gray; The Book of Potentially Catastrophic Science: 50 Experiments for Daring Young Scientists by Sean Connolly; and Gross Me Out! 50 Nasty Projects to Disgust Your Friends and Repulse Your Family by Joe Rhatigan.

There are many titles to entice the inner scientist, the curious reader, and the summer vacationer who needs inspiration.  You never know what will strike the fancy of a child tempted with a table full of odd non-fiction.  ~ Pamela, Ballard Branch

One thought on “Come on, try this at home!”

  1. This list rocks!
    I can hardly wait to get the book and try this in the library, I mean at home with my googles on! Dr Science Lives!

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