I am a big fan of hands-on learning. We homeschool and so we fortunately have lots of opportunities for that during our day. Something we’ve stumbled across recently is sure to be a hit kids of any age (including those past the age of 18).
While lesson planning, I was introduced to the idea of an inventors box. The idea is simple: take a box, start combing through your house looking for literally any item that has outlived its use in your home, and put it in the box. What I initially loved is that busted some of my clutter that inevitably comes from my “I might need that some day” syndrome.
Into my box I threw old coffee containers, water bottle lids, corks, pipe cleaners, miscellaneous hardware, tin storage containers and an old broken portable phone.
Once the box was assembled I grabbed a multi screw driver, a pair of pliers, scissors and a hot glue gun. After giving my son a lesson on hot glue safety, I let him at the box. I told him he could take apart whatever he wanted and use it to build something else. He decided early on that he would build a Star Ship for Anakin.
He was definitely most fascinated by taking apart the phone. I gave him bits of instruction when he needed it, like how screws come out by turning left and how to hold it steady while twisting. He was focused and intrigued as he took it apart piece by piece. At one point he exclaimed, “Oh look, the speaker is magnetic!” and proceeded to grab small screws and other metal pieces to test out on the speaker.
Even as a whole family this would be a great activity. If you’re not a borderline hoarder like myself, you can make a trip to the thrift store to pick out some inexpensive electronics to take apart. Depending on your family, you can create a theme of what each person or team needs to create. It could be robots, vehicles or a communication device. I love the open-ended nature of activities like this and am excited to see further creations!