Maker projects for a fun March Break

Even though it feels like 2015 just started, March Break is already around the corner. The MakerBus is gearing up for a busy week of fun outreach projects with community partners around the city. We’re happy to offer free, family pop-up activities in partnership with London Public Library on the following dates and locations:

  • Tuesday March 17th at Beacock Libary (2-3:30pm)
  • Wednesday March 18th at Jalna Library (2-3:30pm)
  • Thursday March 19th at Central Library (2-3:30pm)

If you can’t join us at one of our library pop-ups, we’ve compiled a fun list of family maker activities that will keep everyone having fun and learning. While some of these activities require some special equipment and/or technical skill, the majority of the activities listed can be done by anyone with a little experimentation.

IDEA #1: RECORD A FAMILY PODCAST

Podcasting is a great way to great your entire family engaged in learning how to create, edit, and share digital content – plus, if you have family living far away, it’s a great way to share family updates. It doesn’t have to be expensive to start a family podcast. Software like Audacity is free and relatively easy to use, or if you’re a Mac user, Garage Band comes free with your computer.

Many people have microphones or headsets around the house, but even if you don’t have a dedicated microphone, many computers and tablets have them build right in. While the sound quality from a built in microphone probably won’t match that of a dedicated microphone, using a built in microphone can be a good way to get started.

Check out this amazing guide to creating inexpensive podcasts – it has a lot of great ideas for getting started.

IDEA #2: MAKE HOMEMADE HOT ICE

I know that everyone in Ontario is tired of ice by now, but hot ice is so cool, it’s hot! Hot ice is made using a chemical called sodium acetate. This super cooled liquid produces an endothermic reaction when impurities are introduced to it, producing a chemical reaction that appears to make water freeze before your very eyes. Check out this tutorial to learn how to make it at home using baking soda and vinegar.

IDEA #3: MAKE A MINI FLIP LIGHT

MAKE Magazine has a great tutorial for building a small light that turns on when you flip it upside down. The project is a good way to introduce your family to basic soldering techniques. You can pick up a soldering iron at local hardware stores, or purchase soldering kits online for as little as $15.

IDEA #4: EXPERIMENT WITH MAGNETS AND COPPER PIPES

Learn about Lenz’s Law by experimenting with magnets and copper pipes. In a nutshell Lenz’s Law refers to how magnets appear to fall slowly when dropped through a copper pipe – seemingly in violation of the laws of gravity. When a magnet is dropped through a copper pipe the magnet induces a current in the copper pipe, which in turn produces a magnetic field. The direction of this current then opposes the change in the magnet’s field, resulting in the magnet being repelled and thus falling more slowly.

To test this principle you’ll need a rare-earth magnet and some appropriately sized copper pipe. You can even make a tiny little bullet train using a battery, magnets, and some copper wire.

IDEA #5: BUILD A GIANT PAPERCRAFT MODEL OF YOUR OWN HEAD

If you’re looking for a family project that will last the entire March Break, this is the project for you. Using a camera, some cheap and/or free software, some paper/cardstock, and a lot of time you can create an amazing (if slightly terrifying) giant version of your own head.

Tested.com had a great walkthrough you can follow at home. If you do make a giant version of your own head, please send us pictures.

If you liked this article, why not follow the MakerBus on twitter (@DHMakerBus) or like us on Facebook (/dhmakerbus)? We post some of the most creative maker projects found on the web every day. If you #getonthebus, we promise a fun ride!

-The MakerBus team

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