The Invention Rooms has been shut for a while now, but we are still as committed as ever to bring you great science activities to do with the family at home. Some of these will be resources we’ve made ourselves and some are from our festival partners, or other websites that we think are great. As always, the most import thing in trying these experiments is that you have fun, work together, ask questions and stay safe. This week we will be trying some quick kitchen science, using recycling to make green vehicles and exploring flying.

Bend light for an optical illusion (5 years+)

Our first activity explores the way light travels through different materials to make a fascinating effect. You’ll need paper, pens and a drinking glass or glass bottle. This is a great demonstration to show to and amaze family and friends over your next video call. The instructions are here, but if you want a video explaining a little more, check out this one which goes into extra detail.

Walking rainbows (9 years+)

In support of our essential workers, many people have been displaying rainbows on their windows. Drawing a rainbow is great, but why not add a little science to your creativity? All you need is some tissue paper, water and food colouring. Ryan’s World has got a great experiment that shows how water can travel and colours mix. Once you’ve made your rainbow, hang it in a window and be sure to share a photo with us on Twitter @InventionRooms

Make it fly (7 years +)

Last week we made some paper planes. Why not try some other contraptions like gliders and helicopters or explore different shaped planes? The Science Museum have some great examples and instructions here. You will need a printer for parts of this activity. Whilst we are talking about flight, take a look at this guide from the RAF Museum and record what’s flying outside your window.

Can you help Imperial scientists make a green moving machine? (9 years +)

Although many of our researchers are not allowed in their laboratories, they are still hard at work at home. In this activity, environmental researchers Ellie and Louise have a challenge for you to develop a green vehicle of your own design. They are researching environmentally-friendly ways to power vehicles like cars and planes. Now they need you to design your own green machine! All you need is a bit of creativity and some clean dry recycling, like cardboard and plastic. The activity is here and we can’t wait to see what you make. Ellie and Louise are also going to make their own to share next week, so please do send us any pictures of your vehicles by email or on Twitter @InventionRooms.

Dinosaurs and more

The museums may be shut, but we can still discover the wonders of natural history at home. The Natural History Museum will be broadcasting videos live every Friday at 10.30 and every Tuesday at 12.00 where you can ask real scientists any question you like! We’ve got the first one here, but if you tune in live, you’ll get to ask your questions in real-time.