It is time to dump out your junk drawer and make some chain reaction toys. Our Design Department
would like to share some tips to help you start designing your own chain reaction toy.
Tips from our Design Department
(inspired by mousetrapcontraptions.com
1. Decide on a goal for your machine. The goal should be the last step of your machine. The goal could be something useful, funny, or surprising.
2. Gather a few things from around the house, in your toy box, junk drawer, or garage. Balls, marbles, dominoes, string, toy cars, magnets, cardboard or tubes, etc. Don't worry, you can collect more later. Avoid dangerous objects and chemicals.
3. Now play with the things! What can the car bump into or knock down? Can the string pull something up? What can push the ball down the cardboard ramp? Try it out!
4. Get a piece of paper and start writing down any idea that pops into your head. This is called brainstorming. No matter how crazy the idea seems, just write it down for later. Even if you don't use it, it may help you think of more things.
5. Once you get a few good ideas for your machine, make a list, in order, of the steps, or draw a simple picture of the steps.
6. Plan on making quite a few changes to your machine as you build it. It may look different from your original drawing. Try not to get frustrated, this is part of learning what works best.
7. If you get stuck at a certain step of your machine, why not try to work your way backwards? Start at the last step, and connect the part to it that triggers it. Or take a break away from the machine. Sometimes you'll come back with a fresh solution to the problem.
8. WACKINESS! GO CRAZY! A true Rube Golberg machine would be boring without some commom household items (old toys, toilet plunger, egg beater, typewriter...)
10. Setup and test your machine in stages. Once they are working, put each of the stages together.
11. If you have the ability to, it would be fun to video tape your chain reaction toy.
List of Action Words
Sometimes even just words can spark ideas... Here is a list of some action words to get your brain churning. (Churning... that is an action word).
aim, bake, balance, barbecue (not recommended), barge, bat, billow, bite, blow, bob, bounce, break,brew, bulge, burst, catch, chase, chirp, clear, clutch, cook, crawl, crouch, dangle, drip, droop, dump, empty, erupt, explode, fish, float, flutter, fly, follow, gather,
hang, jump, kick, lean, light, melt, mix, paddle, paint, pop, pour, pull, push, raise, rest, rock, roll, sail, scoot, shake, shoot, skate, slide, spew, spin, spray, stretch, swing, teeter-totter, throw, twirl, whistle, yank, zap...
Good luck with your designs!