I don’t think there’s anyone out there that hasn’t imagined themselves a mad scientist at least once. For me, it was every time they made me wear those crazy goggles in science class while I waited for something to bubble over or change color or let out noxious fumes. I couldn’t help but hear an evil little laugh in my head. Muah ha ha ha! Okay, not everyone heard the laugh, but now everyone does have the chance to go all mad scientist and laugh out loud right along with their kids.
The latest in the Geek Dad books, The Geek Dad Book for Aspiring Mad Scientists: The Coolest Experiments and Projects for Science Fairs and Family Fun hits shelves on November 1st and is now available for pre-order. I was fortunate to receive an early copy to check out, and now I’ve got a very long list of experiments my kids have planned for every weekend through next year.
Much like the previous Geek Dad books by Ken Denmead, publisher of GeekDad.com and GeekMom.com, this one will inspire you and your kids to try new things as you explore and learn. And although it’s a GeekDad book, you’ll find plenty of projects based on ideas from our very own GeekMom editors Kathy Ceceri, Natania Barron and Jenny Williams, so don’t think it’s exclusively for the dads of the world. The projects are rated for cost, difficulty and duration so you know exactly what you’re in for before you start. It’s especially helpful to look at the duration, as although some of the projects can be completed in an hour, like Exploring Fluid Dynamics: The Magic of Mentos and Soda, others can take weeks like Growing Crystals For Power.
There is a range of difficulties covering primary school kids right on up through high school, which makes this ideal fodder for science fair projects. Although the ideas and the how-to are all laid out, the book never loses sight of the fact that science fair projects are supposed to leave kids guessing, at least a little, right until the end. To help parents with this, there are even handy spoiler warnings where appropriate, pointing out key bits of information that you should hold back from your kids so they learn to discover the answers for themselves.
I think one of the things that I like best about the book is that it isn’t a dry instruction manual. It’s not just, here’s a project, here’s how you do it, move along. It actually reads more like a mad scientist’s handbook. The very first project, Extracting Your Own DNA, is written with an eye toward creating loyal minions to help in your plans for world domination. Really, who hasn’t wished they could do that, and what kid wouldn’t jump at the chance to see how it might be possible?
And perhaps my favorite section, which I intend to make my kids study, highlight, and study again, contains experiments under the heading Apocalypse Survival Science. Once we’ve started messing with DNA and creating our own clones, you know the zombie outbreak is just around the corner, and this group of projects nicely addresses that problem. You and your kids will learn how to save the world together!
Whether you’re looking to inspire a love of science in your young child, or to encourage an older child to hold on to their curiosity about how things work, this book is sure to give you ideas galore and hours of fun and educational entertainment. You can pre-order your copy now at Amazon, B&N, Indiebound, Powell’s, Books-a-Million or iTunes.