It is summer and that means that we are able to move some of our MAKESHOP activities outside. Last year we had a bike-cart that some of the staff would take out to the local parks to do small activities with the community. This year we got the opportunity to provide an outdoor activity for a weekend event Buhl Park in front of the Museum. I recently discovered a water rocket launching kit in our basement storage. We collectively decided that water rockets would be a fun, outdoor activity for the event.
I have some experience with this particular kit and the facilitation of a water rocket activity but this is something that we have never really done at the Museum. We have built exhibit pieces that use air powered rockets, but never water powered.
We set up a table and let visitors decorate plastic bottles that people donated for this activity. There was also some cardboard and paper to make nose cones and fins for the rockets. Some of the kids were happy just launching a regular recycled bottle.
We had a couple buckets of water to fill up the rockets with. This kind of activity really requires a large, open space like a park or a field. Safety is important too. Everyone involved was required to wear safety goggles if they were within a certain distance of the launch zone. The launch zone also can get very wet and muddy and it is good to warn visitors about this before they participate.
The activity also requires some teamwork. Younger kids will need helping pumping the bottle full of air using a bike pump. The facilitator really needs to manage who is doing what and when so that things stay safe. Even people not participating get a pretty spectacular show to watch as the rockets soar through the air.