Happy Rube Thursday, a day to celebrate Rube Goldberg machines, the over-engineered contraptions that perform a very simple task.
Have you built any lately? Building an RGM with a little one presents its own unique challenges. One is that RGM requires a certain (high) level of precision in order to work. And even with everything being properly aligned, you will usually have to run the machine a few times before it actually completes its task.
Should you leave building RGMs until your child gets a bit older? No way! Instead, let’s start by making some vary simple machines. How about an incline plane for children to roll marbles or toy cars on? The set up is super simple and is entertaining even for the littlest ones.
In the set up above, we used a remnant of a peg board, some nuts and bolts that fit the holes and lots and lots of rubber bands. The goal was to hit and topple as many foam pieces (inside the box) as possible.
Another idea would be to create a slide using cardboard tubes. One of the setups we had in the past was marbles rolling down a tube and splashing into water tinted with food coloring. Once we had enough marbles in the plastic milk jug with lots of holes punched in it, the jug overflowed and we had our own “fountain” (although in our case it looked more like a drip irrigation system).
So let’s try something this weekend. Let’s build a very simple contraption that includes 1) an incline plane for marbles to roll and 2) water! Let us know how it goes and send pictures of your contraptions to firstname.lastname@example.org
[…] source […]
This is terrific! I volunteer at a children’s museum, and I was trying to think of a way to introduce Rube Goldberg to younger kids. This is perfect! Inexpensive, easy parts, and just as satisfying!
Sue, drop us a line if you use the ideas or make your own versions. Sounds like you love smart engineering!