Encourage your children to tinker and invent with this open-ended inventor’s box. It is an easy way to bring more STEM activities into your everyday play.
Why I Build an Inventors’ Box
Sanity. Yes, that is really the primary reason. Oh, and it does encourage my kids to think creatively to build new things.
My 4 year old son is a tinkerer. He likes to build things and take them apart. Thanks to a week long Science and Invention Summer Camp: Camp Invention, my 8 year old daughter has caught the tinkering and inventing bug too. Between the two of them, they spend many afternoons designing and creating their own inventions.
1. I NEVER have any tape available for wrapping presents in the house. It seems like it is always being used for “inventions.”
2. There are little inventions EVERYWHERE in our house. In fact, my daughter just brought up the fact that there are so many that we should set out a shelf to showcase the inventions. (We’ll see about that idea).
3. I NEEDED to create an inventor’s box or I would lose my sanity with them “upcycling” anything and everything they could find into an invention. This inventor’s box has not only encouraged them to design and build, but it also stores items for building with AND solves the problem of mom’s missing tape.
The rule is, if it is in the box you can take it apart, put it together, and invent with it. If it is NOT in the box, you must get permission to disassemble it.
So What Do You Put in an Inventors’ Box?
1. First you throw in a bunch of recycled materials
Nothing spectacular is needed, just a variety of different materials that can be used for a bunch of different things. Some ideas:
- small boxes
- oatmeal containers
- plastic lids
- egg cartons
- toilet paper tubes
- paper towel tubes
- empty spools of thread
2. Next, add in Broken Toys or Toys with Parts
Anytime a toy breaks, we try to fix it. If we can’t, but it still looks like we can use it in another way, it get thrown in the inventors box.
3. Last, your inventor’s box must contain things for Attaching parts
- rubber bands
- scotch tape
- masking tape
- painters tape
- tape (yes, my kids would go through a roll a day if I let them!)
4. Paper and Pencil (for recording designs)
Best of all, this STEM activity is FREE! You just gather every day materials around the house to create this extremely powerful, open-ended learning tool.
My kids have had their inventor’s box for over a month. We had a place-mat break apart into a ton of tiny sticks. The kids took one look at it and said, let’s put it in the inventor’s box! I love that they are looking at materials and objects with a new set of eyes, “inventor’s eyes!”
Here are how other parents built their take-apart inventors box and open ended inventors’ box for kids.
Don’t miss my other articles in this INVENTORS series:
- Think like an Inventor
- What is Camp Invention
- First Day of Camp Invention
- Solar Science Projects for Kids
For even more #STEM enrichment, consider adding one of these books to your library:
STEM BOOKS FOR Parents
- Teaching STEM in the Early Years: Activities for Integrating Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics
- Tinkerlab: A Hands-On Guide for Little Inventors
- STEAM: Preschool Activities for STEM Enrichment
- STEAM Play & Learn: 20 fun step-by-step preschool projects about science, technology, engineering, art, and math!
- STEAM Kids: 50+ Science / Technology / Engineering / Art / Math Hands-On Projects for Kids
- Awesome LEGO Creations with Bricks You Already Have: 50 New Robots, Dragons, Race Cars, Planes, Wild Animals and Other Exciting Projects to Build Imaginative Worlds
For more STEM ACTIVITIES for KIDS try these…