The Institute of Imagination is bringing you a range of free creative activities you can complete at home using everyday objects. Follow these steps as a basic guide and if you find a snag or a challenge, use it as an opportunity to iterate and experiment.

 

 

Wind Tunnel

Curriculum links: 

  • KS1: Experiment with Materials (Design & Technology); Forces (Science)
  • KS2: Textiles and Design Processes (Design & Technology); Exploring Environments (Geography); Resistance and Gravity (Science); Materials (Science), Circulatory System (Science)

How long it’ll take to build and experiment: 2 hours

As part of our Flying Future’s programme in Newham, we’re sharing instructions with you for how to make your own wind tunnel!

Click here for the step-by-step instructions, or watch the video to make a standing and a moving wind tunnel.

To make a standing wind tunnel you’ll need:

  • A hairdryer
  • A cardboard box
  • A3 card
  • Sellotape
  • Scissor

For a moving wind tunnel you’ll need:

  • A hairdryer
  • Tape
  • A3 card

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Tumblewing Glider

In this video, we explore the power of flight by building a Tumblewing Glider that’s kept afloat through channelling rising air.

Curriculum links: 

  • KS1: Experiment with Materials (Design & Technology); 3D Design (Design & Technology); Shapes (Art & Design); Forces (Science)
  • KS2: Textiles and Design Processes (Design & Technology); Shape (Art & Design); Resistance and Gravity (Science); Materials (Science)

More ideas: Can you incorporate keeping the Tumblewing Glider in the air as part of a mini assault course?

How long it’ll take to build and experiment: 2 hours

To make Tumblewing Glider you’ll need:

Watch the video through a few times to understand how to build your glider, then get testing its powers of flight! Beat our record and keep your glider flying for more than four minutes. Can you see the Tumblewing rolling away from you? When you push the cardboard along, air hits it and rushes up the cardboard, pushing the Tumblewing up from underneath, which keeps it in the air.

The video was produced in partnership with Rolls-Royce, as part of our programme of activities at the Imagination Lab exploring flight and electrification

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Paper Rocket Launcher

In this video, we explore the power of flight with a simple paper rocket launcher you can make at home with everyday materials.

Curriculum links: 

  • KS1: Experiment with Materials (Design & Technology); 3D Design (Design & Technology); Shapes (Art & Design); Forces (Science)
  • KS2: Textiles and Design Processes (Design & Technology); Shape (Art & Design); Resistance and Gravity (Science); Materials (Science); Space (Science)

More ideas: Could you create a story about where the rocket is going? What is it looking for and what could it find in space?

How long it’ll take to build and experiment: 1.5 hours

What you’ll need:

  • Empty water bottle
  • Cardboard tube
  • Sellotape
  • Scissors
  • 3 x A4 pieces of paper

Watch the video through a few times to get the hang of the activity.

Here’s some extra things to think about, so you can adapt the challenge and keep prototyping:

  • What would happen to your rocket if you changed the bottle size or shape?
  • How can you change your rocket launcher so that you can stamp on the bottle to make your rocket go higher?
  • How can you change the shape of the wings to make your rocket more aerodynamic?
  • What can you do to personalise your rocket with your own designs?

The video was produced in partnership with Rolls-Royce as part of our exploration of flight and electrification.

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Lightbox

Brighten up your home with a lightbox! It can be customise for special occasions all year round. A fun activity to explore light, shadows and storytelling as a family.

Curriculum links: 

  • KS1: Experiment with Materials (Design & Technology); 3D Design (Design & Technology); Colour and Shape (Art & Design); Light (Science);
  • KS2: Textiles and Design Processes (Design & Technology); Shape (Art & Design); Changing Materials (Science); Light and Dark (Science)

More ideas: Could you use your Lightbox to tell a scene from a book you’re reading? Or a famous moment from history? You could also use your Lightbox as a shadow puppet theatre!

How long it’ll take to build and experiment: 2.5 hours

You will need:

  • A cardboard box
  • A torch
  • Tissue or transparent paper
  • Tape or glue
  • Props

Download the instructions here!

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Balloon Car

Take on the Balloon Car challenge and race your air-powered creations.

Curriculum links: 

  • KS1: Experiment with Materials (Design & Technology); 3D Design (Design & Technology); Shapes (Art & Design); Forces (Science)
  • KS2: Textiles and Design Processes (Design & Technology); Shape (Art & Design); Resistance and Gravity (Science); Materials (Science); Humans and the Environment (Science)

More ideas: Could you use this creation to prompt a discussion about renewable energy? Are there other ways we can power cars of the future?

How long it’ll take to build and experiment: 1.5 hours

You will need:

  • Cardboard
  • Scissors
  • A balloon
  • 2 round sticks (try wooden BBQ skewers)
  • 4 bottle lids of the same size
  • Tape
  • Anything you want to add to customise your car!

Access the instructions here!

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Stereoscopic Illusions

Explore stereoscopy at home! The Institute of Imagination shows you how to make your own optical illusions at home.

Curriculum links: 

  • KS1: Experiment with Materials (Design & Technology); 3D Design (Design & Technology); Digital Art (Design & Technology); Colour and Shape (Art & Design); Senses (Science);
  • KS2: Textiles and Design Processes (Design & Technology); Shape (Art & Design); Photography (Computing)

More ideas: What other illusions could you make? How else can you trick your brain into seeing things that aren’t there?

How long it’ll take to build and experiment: 2 hours

You can use:

  • A camera and printer
  • CoSpaces
  • Whatever else you can find in your home

You can find more illusion activities in our Summer of Imagination series here.

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