Make lightning at home. Baffled about how to do it? Don’t be. The solution is simple. Rapidly rub a nylon comb on a woollen sweater or cloth for 30 seconds. Bring the comb very close to a door handle or door frame without touching it. You should see a spark jump the gap, like lightning jumping from the clouds to earth.
101 Things to Do Before You Grow Up: Hinkler Books, 183 pages, Rs499.
There are exactly 100 other things (as the title proclaims) that lie within the covers of this book. Broadly, the book is divided into six sections—Survival, Gadgets, Construction, Entertainment, Trickery and Science.
Boys, girls, teenagers and even their parents will find this a fascinatingly useful book. It has simple pranks and elaborate experiments. 101 Things to Do has a bit of something for everyone. Apart from the usual old things that you knew—and did when you were young—there are a host of other tricks that your child can pick up.
Take the “Survival” section. A highly unusual situation to be in, but if it ever happens and you get lost in a desert without water, you would be glad you had access to this book. How to find water in the desert has some very useful tips. It also comes with a warning: Be suspicious of water found with no plants growing near it or where there are strange mineral deposits.
“Trickery” has tips on sending messages in invisible ink, hypnotizing someone, and card tricks. Most of the things in this section are quite simple, however. Do you know what aerogami is? The first thing to do in the “Construction” section is aerogami (it’s the art of making a paper plane, by the way).
Making an ant colony and a wormery are other unusual activities dealt with by the authors (Sofija Stefanovic, George Ivanoff and Peter Taylor). Girls will like building a doll’s house (not that they would mind building a wormery), or how to win an argument (just joking, the boys would like this equally well). But it falls short on ideas for girls, or what one assumes girls like to do.
The “Entertainment” section has stuff such as Offering Intelligent Insults, Playing the Harmonica, Making a Printing Press and Selling Stuff. The “Science” section has stuff on Charm Worms (how fast you can charm a worm out of the ground), Making a Volcano and Sucking an Egg into a Bottle and Making Long-life Soap Bubbles.
Fun facts: Learn how to bend water using a comb.
The “Gadgets” section has a chapter on how to Keep Time on a Lemon-powered Clock, Making an Animated Movie Wheel and how to Communicate through Coffee Tin Walkie-talkies. The tips and warnings that accompany slightly tricky experiments make this book safe to use.
Make this book a constant companion. You might like referring to it every now and then. My favourite things to do were: Build an Air Cannon, Get Messy with a DIY Paintball, Bend Water and Blast Off with your Own Rocket. 101 Things to Do works on the premise that grown-ups are really big children. And it succeeds quite well. There won’t be a boring moment—whether it’s a child or a parent who has picked up the book.
The writer is the editor of Heek, a children’s magazine.
Available at Eureka Books, DLF Place mall, Saket, New Delhi; Crossword, Kemps Corner, Mumbai; order the book at Landmark, Forum mall, Koramangala, Bangalore.
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