This week we got really inspired by a couple of Rube Goldberg posts from the Brain Power Boy blog and it resulted in 2 days worth of engineering fun for me and my son, Onetime.
Today, we’re sharing with you our creation – the “Auto Helicopter Machine!” – along with all our trials and tribulations with the hope that you might try out this amazingly educational and fun activity with your kids too!
There are Amazon Affiliate links in this post. For more details, see our Disclosure page.
What is a Rube Goldberg Machine?
So what is a Rube Goldberg machine anyway? According to the Official Rube Goldberg Machine Contest website it is a “comically involved, complicated invention, laboriously contrived to perform a simple operation.”
It sounds a little daunting at first, I know…but realistically, you can make a machine as complicated as you want (or not) and the best part is – all you need are things from around the house (as you will see in our video below!)
Before I show you our video, I want to mention again that the inspiration for our project came from two posts from the Brain Power Boy blog. Between their posts and ours, you will find everything you need to get started making a Rube Goldberg machine with your child/children – just like we did.
Learning and Inspiration for Building a Machine
In the post Play and Learn with Rube Goldberg Machines, you will find games, apps, recommended books and toys as well as some links to resources that will help you get started.
In the post Rube Goldberg Videos, you will find 8 videos that will get your child super-inspired to make a machine of their own. Onetime had a blast watching these (as did I!) and wanted to make one of his own right away!
Okay – without further adieu, here is One Time Through’s second official video (now available on our new You Tube channel! Yay!) – or right here for your enjoyment.
Hope you enjoyed watching our fun!
We may have gone a little overboard – after all, our machine filled our entire living room – and it took 2 days of tinkering to complete – but Onetime was right there highly interested the entire time – so why not go with it!?
And by the way, the perfectionist in me has to just say that every part of our machine did actually work – just not all at the same time – and with a trigger happy kid who kept starting the machine before I got the camera ready or a last part in place – it was never going to get caught on video – and I accepted that! LOL.
Onetime learned a whole lot from setting this whole thing up with me though.
Although I came up with the ideas, he helped me collect the items from around the house, helped build the Tinkertoy parts, the marble run contraption, and the Elenco Electronic Snap Circuits, Jr. Kit component at the end that when disconnected – let the helicopter fly.
Finding Materials for Rube Goldberg Machines
Our machine probably would not have been quite as fun without the Tinkertoy Super Building Set, marble run and Elenco Electronic Snap Circuits, Jr. Kit toy elements, and I highly recommend all 3 (we use them all the time!).
But if you don’t have these toys, why not try:
- Wooden blocks or books for dominoes
- Marbles or small balls to roll
- Paper towel tubes for marble runs
- Utensils for a lever effect
- Other toys that swivel or turn when bumped
- String to attach and pull objects down
- Toys that make sounds or noises when tapped or bumped
- Tape, tape, tape!
I hope we’ve inspired you to try some Rube Goldberg fun of your own at home! I know this won’t be the last we see of it at our house!
To find even more fun and educational activities as well as positive parenting tips, follow me on Facebook, and Pinterest.
I love the video and machine, they turned out great!!!! What a fun way to spend time together.
Sue Lively says
Aw…thanks Katie. We had fun! Thanks for dropping by!
Anne at Left Brain Craft Brain says
Awesome! That looks so fun. I love how these machines are a lesson in trial and error, too.
Sheila @ BrainPowerBoy says
Thanks so much for featuring our posts on Rube Goldberg. I am so happy to hear they inspired a machine of your own. I can see you and your son had a great time with it.
Sue Lively says
Such a great resource Sheila! Thanks for the ideas and inspiration! Best, Sue