10 Ways to Get Creative with Cardboard

If you have been doing a lot of online ordering lately, you might have an abundance of cardboard boxes just waiting to be recycled.

While we definitely want you to dispose of them properly, we encourage you to hone your maker skills by repurposing this common packaging before you recycle them! If you look at it with the right eye, you might find a wealth of possibility in this humble packing material. Cardboard and creativity go hand in hand. Read on for 10 of our favorite cardboard DIY projects.

 

Creative Cardboard Activities You Should Try

  1. How To Work With Cardboard – This page gives a good overview of the types of cardboard you might encounter and ways to create using it.
  2. Magic Transforming Girl from Cardboard – This Instructable demonstrates how you can make a cool transforming image box trick using just cardboard, chopsticks, and a few other household materials!
  3. Make a Playable Cardboard Harp – Create a toy instrument you can play using our favorite packaging material and some rubber bands!
  1. Create Cardboard Chess/Checkers Board – Don’t have these classic board games at your disposal? Check out this tutorial to make a 2-in-1 chess and checkers set at home!
  2. Cardboard Astromech Droid – For the advanced cardboard connoisseur, try your hand at droid-building!
  3. Cardboard Coin-Eating Robot Monster – If you have a spare 9V DC motor lying around, this robot looks to be a cinch!
  4. Cardboard Hex Stool – OSC staff tested and approved! This stool is shockingly sturdy and pretty good looking! Learn about the power of triangles with this cool DIY.
  5. Cardboard Iron Throne for Cats – Sometimes it feels like our pets run our lives. If you want to make that metaphor more literal, you can try to make this iron throne sized for a cat!
  6. Create a Cardboard House with Pool and Garden – Use your cardboard to make a tiny house! You can size it up or down depending on if you want it to fit a particular scale.
  7. Cook with a Cardboard Solar Oven – Use some simple materials to create a surprisingly effective solar oven! You can use this kitchen tool to make solar s’mores, re-molded crayons, and more!

 

This is just the beginning of what you can do if you’re creative with cardboard! There are infinite quantities of infinitely cool things you can do with cardboard if you use your imagination and maybe a little internet searching. Check out artist Pamela Sullivan’s cardboard favelas or Todd Oldham’s Kid Made Modern for more inspiration!

OSC At Home Emails

Get a round up of our latest activities and ideas delivered straight to your inbox so you don't miss a thing!

Find out when we release new resources by following us on social media!

 

Follow us on social media for even more science fun including fun facts, games, behind-the-scenes photos, and more!

 

Facebook Logo Instagram Logo YouTube Logo Twitter Logo

Support OSC At Home

In these ever-changing times, it is our pleasure to adapt quality Orlando Science Center experiences to engage with everyone while they are safe at home. Please consider supporting our operating fund to ensure we can continue developing resources today and well into the future. Thank you for your generosity and support!

Indoor Obstacle Course: Make Your Own Superhero Training Camp

OSC challenges you to make an indoor obstacle course Superhero Training Camp in your own home!

Through working together and using the Engineering Design Process to build your obstacle course, you may discover that you have superpowers of your own!

 

  1. Ask: Can you make a training camp that shows you what it takes to be a Superhero? What skills does a superhero need? How can you create challenges that highlight some of those skills?
  2. Imagine: Think about different things you could use around your home to make obstacles. Imagine how those objects can work together to make the best superhero course.
  3. Plan: Draw or write out your materials list so you can plan your course. Create layout of what you want your course to look like.
  4. Create: Assemble your course! Think about the different steps needed to bring your ideas to life. Adjust your diagram as necessary and make sure the course is safe!
  5. Improve: Once you’ve given it a try, think about if there are ways you could improve your training course. Can you make it more challenging? Did everything work the way you planned? If not, you can use the Engineering Design Process to help you improve your course!
Engineering Design Process Circle Diagram: Ask, Imagine, Plan, Create, Improve

Here are some suggestions to get started:

Item: Couch cushions or pillows

 

Uses:

  • Stand them up and weave around them
  • Climb over them
  • Jump on them
  • Crash through them

Item: Laundry basket

 

Uses:

  • Toss small items into them
  • Duck inside them
  • Use them as large obstacles to maneuver around

 

Item: Clothing

 

Uses:

  • Gear up with different clothing items throughout the course such as hats, jackets, gloves, scarves, etc.

Some of our other favorite prop ideas:

  • Cardboard boxes are great for tunnels!
  • Masking tape on the floor makes for an instant DIY balance beam.
  • Blankets make good tunnels and can separate one challenge from the next.
  • Chairs or stools are great obstacles that you can also drape blankets over.
Child in superhero costume navigating obstacle course at Science Center

More ways to conquer the obstacle course:

 

Spy Mission: Go through the course as quietly as possible! Shhh!

 

Save the Citizen: Grab your favorite stuffed animal and go through the course while keeping your citizen safely by your side.

 

Freeze Blast: Grown-ups can freeze their hero in training during different parts of the course to catch them off-guard.

 

“Superman Says”: Grown-ups can choose what actions their superhero in training does while going through the course.

 

Grown-ups can also act as a cheering section or blow bubbles while little ones conquer the course!

 

Share your design, results, and in-action photos with us!

 

OSC At Home Emails

Get a round up of our latest activities and ideas delivered straight to your inbox so you don't miss a thing!

Find out when we release new resources by following us on social media!

 

Follow us on social media for even more science fun including fun facts, games, behind-the-scenes photos, and more!

 

Facebook Logo Instagram Logo YouTube Logo Twitter Logo

Support OSC At Home

In these ever-changing times, it is our pleasure to adapt quality Orlando Science Center experiences to engage with everyone while they are safe at home. Please consider supporting our operating fund to ensure we can continue developing resources today and well into the future. Thank you for your generosity and support!

Sampling – Observing Animal Behavior

When scientists study animals, they observe their behavior through sampling, a special research technique that helps them notate what the animals are doing. They may be looking for information about the amount of time an animal spends doing something, how much space in the habitat an animal uses, what animals like to hang out together, or finding new behaviors. This technique can be used in the wild to learn about natural animal behaviors or in zoos to learn about the animals’ welfare.

 

 

Some different types of behavior sampling include:

 

  • Ad libitum sampling: writing down anything that seems interesting or important about one animal or a group of animals over a period of time.
  • Focal sampling: watching one animal for a set length of time and writing down everything the animal does with the time noted.
  • Scan sampling: watching one animal or a group of animals and writing down what they are doing at a certain interval of time (every 30 seconds, every 5 minutes, etc.)

 


 

Try observing your pet for a day! Here’s how:

 

You will need:

  1. Something to write on.
  2. Something to write with.
  3. An animal (or a few animals) – if you don’t have a pet, try observing an animal live camera feed on www.explore.org!

 

 

What to do:

  • Decide on what type of sampling you are going to try. Think about how much time you want to spend observing. To learn the most about your pet, you could try scan sampling – observe them once an hour all day and note their behavior.
  • Create a behavior key. You won’t have time to write everything down as it is happening! Create your own shorthand for the most common behaviors your pet or pets might do.
  • Start observing! Be sure to watch the clock to notate the time of behaviors.
  • Finished? Analyze the behavior you recorded! Does your dog spend most of their time looking out the window? Maybe you can set up their bed next to a window so they can enjoy it! Does your cat like to hide under tables? Maybe you can set up a sitting area with a canopy to make them feel safe!

 

 

What Next?

You can help animal researchers around the world by sampling behavior or even simply counting or sorting animals! Scientists ask for help by doing community (or citizen) science projects where anyone can help by following simple instructions and entering data.

 

Check out this search engine to find a citizen science project that’s interesting to you: https://scistarter.org/finder

 

OSC At Home Emails

Get a round up of our latest activities and ideas delivered straight to your inbox so you don't miss a thing!

Find out when we release new resources by following us on social media!

 

Follow us on social media for even more science fun including fun facts, games, behind-the-scenes photos, and more!

 

Facebook Logo Instagram Logo YouTube Logo Twitter Logo

Support OSC At Home

In these ever-changing times, it is our pleasure to adapt quality Orlando Science Center experiences to engage with everyone while they are safe at home. Please consider supporting our operating fund to ensure we can continue developing resources today and well into the future. Thank you for your generosity and support!

Un-Poppable Bubble Recipe

While blowing bubbles may be every child’s favorite activity, scientists actually study the science behind bubbles every day. Bubbles provide the opportunity to research science concepts such as elasticity, chemistry, light and even geometry!

 

If you’ve ever wondered why bubbles pop, you’re not alone. Other than being poked or landing on something sharp, bubbles pop when the water between the soap film surfaces evaporates. So if you’re blowing bubbles in Florida weather, they may pop quicker than if you were blowing them on a crisp winter day.

 

However, our bubble experts at Orlando Science Center have put together an at-home activity using chemistry to create an un-poppable bubble!

 

Ingredients:

  • A clean glass cup
  • 8 oz of distilled water – Minerals and particulate in normal tap water can hamper the making of larger bubbles, but it can still work if you don’t have distilled.
  • One tablespoon of dish soap – Any type is fine!
  • 0.5 Tablespoon glycerin –  This is what strengthens your bubbles!

 

Steps:

  • Step 1 – Stir all of your ingredients together in the glass cup.
  • Step 2 – Wait! Let the bubble solution sit for 24 hours.
    • Why is time so important? It allows the glycerin to fully mix together with the other ingredients. The glycerin is important for keeping the water from evaporating from your bubble and prematurely popping it.
  • Step 3 – Once your bubble solution is done sitting, put on some gloves and attempt to bounce your bubbles in the palm of your hand!

OSC At Home Emails

Get a round up of our latest activities and ideas delivered straight to your inbox so you don't miss a thing!

Find out when we release new resources by following us on social media!

 

Follow us on social media for even more science fun including fun facts, games, behind-the-scenes photos, and more!

 

Facebook Logo Instagram Logo YouTube Logo Twitter Logo

Support OSC At Home

In these ever-changing times, it is our pleasure to adapt quality Orlando Science Center experiences to engage with everyone while they are safe at home. Please consider supporting our operating fund to ensure we can continue developing resources today and well into the future. Thank you for your generosity and support!

DIY Rock Candy

While rock candy may be a tasty treat, the chemistry behind this candy makes for a great at-home experiment to do with children! Follow these directions to create your very own rock candy. All you’ll need are a few household items to become a chemist without leaving your kitchen! Recommended age range: 5+

 

Materials:

  • Five cups sugar
  • Two cups water
  • Two clean 16 oz jars
  • Food coloring
  • Flavoring extract
  • Stirring spoon
  • Medium sized pot
  • Stovetop
  • Two bamboo skewers
  • Four clothes pins
  • Measuring cups

Make a prediction! You’ll come back to this experiment each day for a week to check on your rock candy! What changes do you expect to see on the first day? How about the second day? What do you think your experiment will look like at the end?

 

Write down or draw your predictions and compare them to what you see during this experiment!

 


 

Step 1:  

  • Cut the skewers to the length of the jars. Wet them with water, leaving 1 ½ inches dry on one end of each skewer. Spoon sugar onto the damp skewers, rotating to coat evenly and then set aside to dry thoroughly.

Step 2-4:

  • Pour two cups of water into a pot. Place the pot on the stove and turn the burner to medium / high heat.
  • Slowly begin to pour five cups of sugar into the water and stir continuously until dissolved. Once most of the sugar has been added, the mixture will become thicker and cloudy as the sugar breaks down
  • Once the mixture comes to a steady simmer / low boil, add in 2-3 drops of any desired flavoring (orange, pineapple, grape etc.) as well as 2-3 drops of food coloring and wait for the mixture to come to a low boil once more before removing from the heat. 

Step 5 & 6:

  • Let the rock candy mixture cool down in the pot before pouring it into the two mason jars. Help the process along by placing the jars in the fridge for 20-30 minutes.
  • Once the mixture is completely cool, place a dry sugary skewer into the center of the mixture with the 1 ½ inch uncoated end sticking out. Use a clothes pin to secure the skewer in place and rest the edges of the clothes pin along the top of the jar, keeping the skewer in the center of the liquid

Step 7:

  • Leave the jars on a counter top with a paper towel draped over the clothes pins and check on your rock candy creations each day for one week. You should notice crystals forming after just one day!

After the experiment, think deeper about the reactions you saw! Ask questions like:

  • What did you notice as you observed your experiment each day? What changes did you see?
  • Did anything in your experiment surprise you?
  • How long did it take to see crystals forming? Keep a log book or photo journal to keep track!
  • What would happen if you added more/less sugar to the mixture? Do the experiment again to find out!

OSC At Home Emails

Get a round up of our latest activities and ideas delivered straight to your inbox so you don't miss a thing!

Find out when we release new resources by following us on social media!

 

Follow us on social media for even more science fun including fun facts, games, behind-the-scenes photos, and more!

 

Facebook Logo Instagram Logo YouTube Logo Twitter Logo

Support OSC At Home

In these ever-changing times, it is our pleasure to adapt quality Orlando Science Center experiences to engage with everyone while they are safe at home. Please consider supporting our operating fund to ensure we can continue developing resources today and well into the future. Thank you for your generosity and support!

Create Your Own Dinosaur Fossils With Items Found In Your Kitchen!

How do you make a dinosaur fossil? Well, say you had your own dinosaur, first you’d have to bury it in layers and layers of dirt. Then, make sure there are no pockets in the sediment where air and water can reach the rock, and then wait tens of thousands of years. Voilà! You have fossilized dinosaur bones and teeth!

 

Now, no one has tens of thousands of years to wait around, or a dinosaur for that matter. But, even if you made a time machine and traveled back in time to the Jurassic period to find a dinosaur and give it time to fossilize, something could still go wrong. The bones could be too fragile, destroyed by air or water, or uncovered too early.

 

So, the bad news is it’s really hard to make your own real fossils. But don’t worry! Our paleontology enthusiasts at Orlando Science Center have put together a DIY experiment to make your own model fossils at home with items you already have in your kitchen!

 

To make your own fossils at home, you will need:

  • 1 cup of used coffee grounds
  • ½ cup cold coffee
  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup of salt
  • Wax paper
  • Mixing bowls
  • Small objects (small toy dinosaurs, seashells, starfish, etc.) to make impressions
  • An empty can, a butter knife, or a cookie cutter

Directions: 

  1. Brew a small amount of coffee (or make a little extra in the morning) and save the grounds. Allow the coffee to cool.
  2. Mix the coffee grinds, flour, and salt together in a bowl. Slowly add the coffee bit by bit and mix with the dry ingredients until the mixture forms a dough. The amount of coffee you need depends on how wet the coffee grounds are.
  3. Scoop the dough out onto the wax paper. Knead for 3-4 minutes, until the dough holds its shape and becomes less sticky.
  4. Use the can to cut out circles out of the dough. You can also use cookie cutters or a butter knife to cut out fun shapes.
  5. Press the small objects firmly into the dough to create an imprint. Remove the object.
  6. You can use a toothpick to poke a small hole near the edge of the fossil. After the fossil has dried, you can add string and hang it.
  7. Bake at 200°F for 45 minutes. Larger or thicker fossils may take longer to completely harden.

 

 

Once you've made your own fossils, share your photos on social media in our Facebook Member Community using #OSCMember, tag us on Instagram, or email sciencelive@osc.org

OSC At Home Emails

Get a round up of our latest activities and ideas delivered straight to your inbox so you don't miss a thing!

Find out when we release new resources by following us on social media!

 

Follow us on social media for even more science fun including fun facts, games, behind-the-scenes photos, and more!

 

Facebook Logo Instagram Logo YouTube Logo Twitter Logo

Support OSC At Home

In these ever-changing times, it is our pleasure to adapt quality Orlando Science Center experiences to engage with everyone while they are safe at home. Please consider supporting our operating fund to ensure we can continue developing resources today and well into the future. Thank you for your generosity and support!