Rocket Science for Kids

Drones & Vehicles Rockets Science
Rocket Science for Kids
Anna is super happy with her paint job
Anna is super happy with her paint job

One of the things I remember fondly from my childhood was building and launching model rockets with my dad. So when my son William got a model rocket as a gift from his aunt, it was really fun to get back into it. We have built and launched several rockets now. We are also working on the compressed air rocket project from MAKE Volume 15. I quickly found out that little sister Anna didn’t want to be left out of the fun. So next time I made an order for rocket parts, she got her very own.

Estes Baby Bertha kit
Estes Baby Berta kit

Estes is perhaps the best known brand name in model rockets. They were making them when I was a kid, and some of the same designs are still available. My son and I had already built a Big Bertha. This time I ordered two Baby Berthas, one for each kid.

Anna dove into her project with five and three-quarter year old enthusiasm. I had to do a lot of the cutting and gluing, but she did her own sanding and painting. I always try to let my kids do as much of their projects as they can handle. Big brother even helped out with an expert’s touch spraying a coat of primer on the rocket.

Primed and Ready
Primed and Ready
It's an art project... it's rocket science... it's both!
It’s an art project… it’s rocket science… it’s both!

It was fun seeing how two very different children could enjoy the same hobby. William tends to be function first, form second. Anna seems to be the opposite. Both enjoyed the challenge of making something that could blast off into the sky. I love the personal touches Anna added while decorating her rocket.

Baby Bertha's New Groove
Baby Bertha’s New Groove

Amid all the high-tech hobbies you could do with your kids, model rocket building may seem sort of old school. However, it includes precise assembly, creative design, and the excitement of the launch. Who knows? Maybe, just maybe, you could be inspiring your child to reach higher, fly higher, and go for the stars.

6 thoughts on “Rocket Science for Kids

  1. davidcdean says:

    Love it. I built my nephews a suitcase model rocket launch controller with fun switches, dials, keypads, displays, and an Android tablet that quizzes them before you can launch. It doesn’t have its decals yet ($!), but you can see a few pictures and the video here:

    1. Andrew Terranova says:

      Glad you liked the article. That is a really cool launch controller! I hope you will post the full plans soon.

  2. Jen says:

    It is so important for adults to encourage curiosity and creativity in our children. All too often we just have faith in the school system, but rote memorization is boring and doesn’t hold their attention very well. This is a great science project that I’m definitely going to try with my boys next weekend.

    I recommend fun books that kids will want to read, willingly, because they’re fun. This book is a good example:

    My boys, ages 7 and 10, absolutely love it when I read this book to them. They are filled with questions and I can see their imaginations expanding as I read. Teach and engage with your kids in a fun way to get them to realize science and learning can be fun. Science doesn’t have to be a scary word, and fun experiments and novel ways of learning can lead to a love of science in their future.

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Andrew Terranova is an electrical engineer, writer and author of How Things Are Made: From Automobiles to Zippers. Andrew is also an electronics and robotics enthusiast and has created and curated robotics exhibits for the Children's Museum of Somerset County, NJ and taught robotics classes for the Kaleidoscope Enrichment in Blairstown, NJ and for a public primary school. Andrew is always looking for ways to engage makers and educators.

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