If you, like me, are a parent with a student stuck at home, chances are that everyone you know has sent all sorts of well-meaning but objectively terrible educational projects to keep your kids occupied. Well, here’s one that doesn’t suck.
Courtesy of the James Dyson Foundation and Dyson engineers, you can download a free set of 44 engineering and science experiments, all of which demonstrate basic principles of science and physics, and are buildable with common household items including balloons, plastic bottles, dish soap, and eggs.
One project teaches you how to make a lava lamp using vegetable oil, food coloring, Alka-Seltzer tablets, and a flashlight. The tablets release CO2 bubbles, which rise because they are lighter than water. They lift the color blobs to the top before popping and dropping the bulbs down again. Another project tasks you with squeezing an egg into a glass bottle without breaking it or shoving the egg in. The secret is soaking the egg in vinegar first to break down its proteins and make it rubbery. You also heat the bottle beforehand, so as it cools, the air inside contracts, sucking the egg inside.
These challenges appear to have been around since 2016, but Dyson is leveraging the moment to re-promote the project on Instagram, and reshare any experiments you tag them on. Indeed, with tens of millions of children across the U.S. who are now learning from home, the projects look particularly appealing again.
Go here to download the full packet of experiments, some of which are simple enough for a kindergartener to complete with proper supervision.