If your mom never had to ask you that, you weren't doing it right.
The "Watts Up With That" site skewers a modern, safe, and boring Chemistry Set that advertises proudly on its cover, "No Chemicals!." What's really entertaining about the post is the trips down memory lane in the comments, where readers fondly recall blowing up themselves, their friends, and their environments in long-ago youth, before things got safe.
It reminded me of my own friends and family. A good friend in high school learned to make nitroglycerine and enjoyed setting vials of it in the middle of deserted fields and chunking rocks at them until they blew up. He let the sun go down on this game once and had to spend an anxious night chunking rocks out into the dark, tortured the whole time by the fear that a boy scout troop would wander into the explosive zone. When he set off his home-made volcano in science class, the fire department had to put it out. Another friend blew three feet of water out of the family swimming pool with the phosphorus he'd carelessly left in a bucket of water in the sun -- he noticed the perilously low water level just in time to throw the bucket into the pool.
It was the same, apparently, for the older generation: My father, who lost half of his hearing at an early age from this kind of thing (don't ever let a beaker of flash powder dry overnight in a school locker), often regaled us with antisocial stories about flushing sodium down the school toilets, which would cause every nearby toilet to geyser in an entertaining fashion. An excellent high school teacher of mine had lost a hand and an eye to a white phosphorus explosion, but was cheerful about life and learning nevertheless.
My favorite story from the comments:
In those days it was difficult to get my Dad’s attention, especially when he was working on one of his own projects. He tended to answer all questions and comments with a sort of, “Hmm,” without really listening to you. He was working away on an anvil in the cellar when my brother told him he had made some nitroglycerine. He said “Hmm,” turning away to get his hammer. While he was looking away my brother put some of the nitroglycerine on the anvil. Dad turned back, brought his hammer down, looked up at the hammer imbedded in the plaster of the ceiling, turned to my brother, and inquired, “What did you just say?”I think I recognize the gentleman.