Projects

Download a free project to do with your class or at home with your children.

Most Nomad Press projects require no special equipment or tools and little to no adult supervision. You can often use ordinary household materials and parts. That way kids can build a simple,do-it-yourself projects without spending a lot of money. View the summary of the activity and if you like you can either download or view the activity in your web browser.

Invisible Ink

One way to send secret messages during the Revolutionary War was to use invisible ink.

. . . MORE

Make a Kylix

A kylix is a two-handled cup the ancient Greeks used. When they weren’t drinking from it, the family hung the cup on the wall, by one of the handles, for decoration.

. . . MORE

Make Your Own Soap Boat

The colonists’ trip to America took two or three months by sea on large ships. The ships could be about 100 feet long. These ships had to carry enough supplies for the long journey. Some of those supplies were food and water, clothing, guns and gun powder, tools and candles. The . . . MORE


Use an Abacus

Place numbers onto your abacus by pushing earthly and heavenly beads toward the midway mark of the skewer. For example, the number 7 consists of 1 heavenly bead (representing 5) plus 2 earthly beads (representing 2) at the midway point. Let’s add 148 and 312 on our abacus.

. . . MORE

Loom and Cloth

This activity gives you a sense of how much work it was for Maya women to weave clothing by hand for an entire family.

. . . MORE

Rocky Treats

With this project, you can see how molecules that are separated can come back together—and then you get to eat the results!

. . . MORE

Passive Dynamic Mini-Walker

A passive dynamic walker doesn’t need a motor or actuator of any kind. Its only power source is the force of gravity! Also called a ramp walker, this system of walking works best on a slightly downward-tilted surface. Give it a little push and gravity will pull it downhill the rest of . . . MORE


Knitting Spool

Before the power loom was invented, weaving and knitting were slow, tedious tasks. Try hand weaving with your own knitting spool. With a few simple items and some yarn, you can create a knitted tube that you could use as a bracelet, belt, or skinny scarf!

. . . MORE

Alka-Seltzer Rocket

Make your own Alka-Seltzer rocket!

. . . MORE

Model Lungs

Lungs aren’t muscles that move themselves. Instead, they depend on air pressure in your chest cavity and movement from your diaphragm and chest muscles to inflate and deflate. Here’s how you can see this in action.

. . . MORE

Make Your Own Gordian Knot

One legend says Alexander conquered Asia by solving the puzzle of the Gordian Knot. According to a prophecy, whoever untied this endless knot would rule the continent. Alexander took the direct approach—he cut the knot open with his sword. Today, a “Gordian knot” means an . . . MORE


Make Your Own Marshmallows

Ancient people used a plant to make marshmallows, but that’s not how we make them today. If you’ve never created your own marshmallows before you’re in for a treat! They’re easy to make, and they taste fantastic!

. . . MORE

Make Your Own Igneous Rocks

When a volcano erupts, the rocks that form can have minerals that are big enough to see, or so small they can’t be seen. Sometimes a mineral doesn’t form at all and the rock is a glass. Try some of your own “lava” to see why each of these types of rocks form.

. . . MORE

Mini Food Chain

Here’s a way you can create a tiny food chain to watch a predator and its prey.

. . . MORE

Blood Spatter Patterns

Blood spatter is a collection of blood spots, which may be different sizes and shapes depending on how they were formed. Blood spatter differs depending on the amount of blood, the speed of the drop, the angle at which it hits the ground, and the distance the drop travels.

. . . MORE

Egg Bungee Drop

Zip your egg in a clear pouch and see if it can survive a wild ride. if it can’t, use trial-and-error to make adjustments—and try, try again!

. . . MORE

Make a Manga-style Sketchbook

Hokusai made his own sketchbooks and filled them with drawings of what he saw each day. Make your own manga-style sketchbook with staples, glue, and paper.

. . . MORE

Ring and Pin Game

Native Americans played many games. The games varied by tribe, and many were based on physical skills. The point of many of the games was to help improve hunting skills. Foot races improved speed, hideand- seek games were good practice for being silent, and archery games sharpened a . . . MORE


Design Your Own Official Seal

Now that you have some ideas for symbols for your country, use them to create your micronation’s official coat of arms and a seal. Seals were originally designs pressed into a soft piece of wax with a mold. A seal put on a document shows that a person or government official has . . . MORE


Bags o' Bread Mold

Fungi lack chlorophyll, so they can’t obtain energy from the sun and can’t produce their own food. To get energy, many fungi feast on dead organisms. Mold is a fuzzy, multicellular fungus that flourishes in many environments. It reproduces with spores. You can grow your own mold on . . . MORE


How Far Can You Go?

Why do some animals migrate so far, and some stay so close to home? This activity will help you think about why different kinds of animals travel different distances when they migrate. For this activity you will need a few people: one to call out animal names, and the others to be . . . MORE


Leopard Mask

Make your own leopard mask complete with whiskers and spots.

. . . MORE

Barter Chart

When you barter, you have to decide if one thing is worth as much as another thing. Think of six different kinds of candy. Are they all the same size? Do you like them all equally? What would it take for you trade them?

. . . MORE

Tetrahedron Forcebuster

Civil engineers rely on triangles for many constructions. it is the strongest shape. The tetrahedron is a shape with four triangular faces (think of the pyramids of egypt). Test how well triangle power can resist pushing and pulling forces. Ask an adult to help you thread the sewing . . . MORE


Juggling Sticks

Juggling sticks have been around for thousands of years, but no one is quite sure how they made their way to Europe. Some people believe that they may have come to Europe from China (where they were called Devil sticks) along the Silk Road with Marco Polo. The Silk Road was an ancient . . . MORE


Make Your Own Barometer

One way you can predict the weather is by using a barometer. Barometers measure the air pressure around you. Keep track of the air pressure, and see what kind of weather happens the next day. After some practice, you might be able to make your own forecasts!

. . . MORE

Reading Seasons from a Shadow

Each day the sun appears to move across the sky from east to west (actually the sun stays in place and the earth spins on its axis). Although the sun may seem to rise and set at the same spot on the horizon each day, the path it takes between those two points varies over the course of . . . MORE


On the Straight and Level

In the introduction you made a plumb bob that used gravity to make sure things are vertical. Now you can make a water level, a tool that uses gravity to make sure things are straight across! The water level works because when water is in a confined space, gravity makes sure the top of . . . MORE


Credit, Then and Now

The 1920s saw the birth of consumer credit, with charge accounts at stores, credit cards, and installment loans. Today it’s hard to imagine modern life without these kinds of credit. Yet in both eras, families often found themselves in severe financial hardship due to overusing easy . . . MORE


Build a "Mini-Yurt"

Different ethnic groups within China had their own unique building styles. For example, the nomadic Mongols often built yurts, which were rounded tents held up by a wooden pole framework. They were covered by skins and were easy to move.

. . . MORE

Write a Letter in Greek

Using the chart, write a letter to a friend. Because the symbols are so different from the letters of the English alphabet, it’s almost like writing in code. In some cases the sound of a word is more important than its English spelling. For instance, you’ll notice that the Greek . . . MORE


Anemometer

An anemometer measures wind speed. The Wright brothers used a handheld anemometer to estimate wind speed when they tested their flying machines. You can make an anemometer to record wind speed near your home.

. . . MORE

Make a Plumb Bob

Ancient Romans used simple tools to build their roads, homes, buildings, and aqueducts. One of these simple tools was a plumb bob. A plumb bob uses gravity to help a make a straight line. Plumb bobs worked so well that many carpenters and builders still use them today!

. . . MORE

Build a Miniature Bullboat

Native Americans living in the Great Plains, including the Mandan and Hidatsa tribes of the upper Missouri River area, weren’t just hunters. They also fished in the many rivers that wind through the Plains. Some of these rivers, like the Missouri and Knife Rivers, are so big that . . . MORE


Make Your Own Victory Banner

During World War II, families made patriotic banners called victory banners or sons-in-service flags to show their support for their sons, fathers, and brothers battling far away on the front lines. Banners were hung from a window or door at the front of the house where everyone could . . . MORE


What's in a Name? City Naming Project

If you’ve ever wanted to live in Sarahville or Adamsburg, here’s your chance to name your own city!

. . . MORE

Simple Energy Car

With this simple car, you’ll see the difference between stored energy and kinetic energy. When the rubber band is twisted tight, it’s packed with potential energy—stored up and ready for anything. When you release the rubber band, the potential energy is converted into kinetic . . . MORE


Chart of Businesses

Business is part of our everyday life. In this activity you’ll organize businesses into a chart so it’s easier to see how businesses affect your life.

. . . MORE

Make Your Own Jumping Jack

A jumping jack is a puppet that is usually made from wood with strings connecting the joints. It is one of the earliest types of mechanical toys to use levers. The arms and legs of the puppet move up and down when the string is pulled. Try this activity to make your own jumping . . . MORE


Swim Paddles

Even at a young age, Ben was a good observer and inventor. When he was swimming, he saw that some kids could swim faster than others. Ben decided to experiment with ways to make himself go faster both on the surface and under the water. He believed that the size of a swimmer’s hands . . . MORE


Underwater Viewer

A lot of life cycles happen under water, where you can’t see them. With this underwater viewer you’ll be able to get a peek at the action. Have an adult with you when you use this viewer near any body of water.

. . . MORE

Dominant vs. Recessive Traits

As Mendel discovered in his pea plant experiments, some human traits are controlled by dominant and recessive genes. Parents pass the genes that control these traits to their offspring. Which inherited traits do you have?

. . . MORE

Make a Rainbow Myth Window Hanging

In the Bible, God creates the rainbow as a symbol of his promise never to send another flood to destroy mankind. For the ancient Greeks, the rainbow was the goddess Iris. She carried messages from Earth to the heavens. The Norse believed that a rainbow bridge connected Middle Earth with . . . MORE


Carnation Creation

Here is a really fun way to watch capillary action in action.

. . . MORE

Kinetoscope

The kinetoscope was a wooden box used to look at images made on a kinetograph. A kinetograph took many quick pictures in a row. People paid a nickel to look through a slit in the box to see the images in motion. You can make your own kinetoscope and motion picture.

. . . MORE

Lean-to Shelter

If you don’t have access to a backyard full of branches, you can use any sort of stick or pole such as broom or rake handles, ski poles, or garden stakes. You could build your lean-to up against the wall of a building. If you decide to do this, you may want some other stabilizing . . . MORE


Make an Egyptian Headrest

Egyptian headrests were made of many kinds of material. Most were carved out of wood. Pharaohs’ headrests were often made of ivory or gold. The directions for this project call for gold spray paint, but you can decorate your headrest any way you’d like. You’ll be using wire . . . MORE


Make a Hanging Garden

King Nebuchadnezzar (NEBUH- KUHD-NEZ-ER) ruled over the Babylonian Empire from 605 to 562 BCE. He married Queen Amytis (A-ME-TIS) of Media, an area in what is now the country of Iran. According to legend, Queen Amytis was quite homesick for the lush, green mountains of Media. King . . . MORE


Make Your Own Shake Table

Architects and engineers who design buildings in areas prone to earthquakes try to create structures that will be stable if an earthquake hits. a shake table is used to shake a model and see what happens. It makes the same motion as an earthquake. You can see what it’s like when you . . . MORE


Planetary Rings Model

Did You Know? All four of the Jovian planets-Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune have rings around them. saturn’s are just the biggest and most noticeable

. . . MORE

Make Your Own Longhouse

The Iroquois men built their longhouses in the spring when the trees were young and flexible. Longhouses were large enough for 20 or more families to live in. Native Americans used materials that they found in nature. They believed that nothing should go to waste. Build a longhouse . . . MORE


Make Your Own Freshwater

The water cycle takes salt water from the ocean and turns it into freshwater. When the salt water evaporates, it leaves the salt in the ocean. When the water vapor cools and turns into rain, it falls as freshwater! This is how rain fills lakes and rivers with freshwater. In this . . . MORE


Warbling Wineglasses

Ben Franklin was an inventor, composer, and musician who lived from 1706 to 1790. He created the glass armonica, which was a popular musical instrument of the time made of glasses mounted on a revolving spindle, played with a moistened fingertip. Where did Franklin find the inspiration . . . MORE


Map Your State's Natural Resources

Make a three-dimensional map to give you an understanding of the natural resources in your state. This map will include natural resources found in your state, such as fish or forests, but not products made by them.

. . . MORE

Cloud Forest Terrarium

The Andean cloud forest is found on the eastern slope of the Andes Mountains. The warm, humid air from the Amazon basin makes its way up the mountains where it is blocked by cold, denser air there. The trapped air drops its moisture in the form of clouds and mist, quenching the thirst . . . MORE


Salt Water Experiment

Trapped in the middle of the ocean with no freshwater to drink? No problem! There is a way to make salt water good to drink.

. . . MORE

Night Watch

When does your night start? It can change every season. One way to keep track is to make your own night watch.

. . . MORE

The Right Footing

A pagoda’s tiers hold up to the force of powerful winds by moving independently. Shibam’s mud skyrises also stand up to the force of wind. But Shibam is vulnerable to floods. Experiment with natural materials to build foundations, determining which best stand up to the forces of . . . MORE


Skateboard Ramp Design

Your town is looking to design a skateboard park and they have asked for suggestions. You and a group of your friends have some ideas for ramps and would like to submit them to the committee.

. . . MORE

Aeolipile

In this project, you can recreate the work of the Greek mathematician Hero, using water instead of steam. The basic principle of action and reaction is the same—for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. As the water shoots out of the holes in the carton, it pushes on . . . MORE


Recycled Paper

This is a two-part activity, and this first part is messy. After you create your own recycled paper, go outside to Investigate Your Home Turf. Go outside and ramble around your home, school, a park, or a natural area. Drink in the sights and sounds of your environment. Does the scenery . . . MORE


Make Your Own Plastic

While this recipe doesn’t involve boiling lilies or eggs, combining the following ingredients over heat will result in a natural plastic that you can shape, dry, carve, and paint, very similar to Leonardo’s plastic glass.

. . . MORE

Origami Solar System Mobile

All the members of our solar system travel around the sun. The route they travel is called an orbit. Each planet’s orbit is different. Like runners at the Olympics, each has a separate lane. The planets do not switch lanes because the sun’s gravity keeps them in their place. If . . . MORE


Make Your Own Sundial

Shadows change direction depending on the time of day. As the earth rotates and the sun moves across the sky, shadows also move. In the morning, your shadow will stretch out behind you to the west, but in the evening it will stretch to the east. The shadow on your sundial does the same . . . MORE


To Dye For!

Has your old T-shirt seen better days? No need to let it die. Dye it instead! Next time your family boils colorful veggies, don’t dump the water. Use it to brew natural dyes the way the colonists and pioneers did. Then use the dyes to jazz up your shirt and give it new life.

. . . MORE

Covered Wagon

Covered wagons were about 10 feet long and 4 feet wide. They were covered by canvas laid over the top of a wooden hoop frame. A team of oxen usually pulled the wagon, which held most of a family’s food and supplies for the 4- or 5-month journey. They could hold up to 2,500 pounds of . . . MORE


Electroscope

William Gilbert used a device called a versorium to test an object’s charge. You can make a similar device to see static electricity at work.

. . . MORE

Make Your Own Compass

Before to the compass, sailors used landmarks and the position of the sun and stars to tell them which direction to sail. They often kept within sight of land, in case it became foggy or cloudy. The invention of the compass allowed sailors to navigate safely away from land. A . . . MORE


Uncovering Your Family History

Like the stories surrounding the beginnings of Rome, most families have stories that have been passed down from generation to generation that may or may not be completely true.

. . . MORE

Make Your Own Berry Ink

The ancient Egyptians used brightly colored minerals to make ink, but you can use blackberries to make homemade ink to use on your papyrus.

. . . MORE