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DIY Inventor's Box - a super easy and cheap way to build STEM skills at home (and to keep the kids entertained!)

Build STEM Skills: Make an “Inventor’s Box”

Happy Friday friends – I absolutely have to start off this week’s wrap up with a big ‘ol THANK YOU and a virtual hug to everyone who’s signed the “Words Hurt: Put a Stop to Bullying” Pledge.  You guys have shown up in a big way on this one and I so, so appreciate it!

Second, I’m super excited to share with you a project I put together for eHow’s mom channel recently.  You guys know how my ears perk up anytime the words “STEM skills” are uttered, right? Well, the good folks over there at eHow asked me to contribute a few easy STEM skill building activities for home and I took it as my chance to finally try a couple things that have been percolating in my head.

The first activity had to be building an Inventor’s Box.  I’ve been wanting to start one of these for the kids for a while now and this was just the excuse I needed to finally take action.  The box turned out to be – in a word – Rad with a capital “R”.

C has been having so much fun with it and I just love the exploration and creative thinking we’ve got going on around here.  As I said in the tutorial, my plan is definitely to have an Inventor’s Box of some shape or form around for many years to come. (P.S. for more great STEM stuff, check out my new “STEM finds” pinterest board.)

QUESTION OF THE DAY

How goes your Happy Family Habit #2? And speaking of the “Happy Family Habits” series – I’m collecting ideas for the future.  Got any to share that are working for your family?

That’s it for this week.  Thanks for making it a great one!

 

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Jessica April 26, 2013 at 3:19 am

My son would flip for this. He already has his own toolbox with all of the trimmings, so giving him some old electronics he can take a part/rebuild would really make him flip.

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julia [lifeonchurchill] April 26, 2013 at 11:02 pm

Oh I love love love this! Our 5 year old loves to create and build (with a touch of autism) and I really think he would enjoy an inventors box. pinned :)

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Kristen April 27, 2013 at 8:27 pm

If your ears perk up anytime the words “STEM skills” are uttered, then you’d probably like finding out more about the STEM to STEAM movement being championed around the country by many, especially by John Maeda at RISD. Check it out here – http://www.risd.edu/About/STEM_to_STEAM/

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Steph (MPMK Founder) April 29, 2013 at 12:22 am

Will do Kristen – thanks for the link.

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Philip December 9, 2014 at 4:17 pm

Forgive me for being overly analytic but what activities are encouraged with this box? Most of these electronics still have lead solder or other hazardous chemicals that could be stirred up. I am trying to figure out the same sort of box for my son but just want to be super safe and so I sometimes err on overly cautious.

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hpotter January 11, 2015 at 4:37 am

Looks like your son would like Snap Circuits. He can create working electronic circuits. (The pieces, which include snap wires, a slide switch, a resistor, a microphone, and capacitors, snap together easily onto the included plastic grid–no soldering required. Each piece is numbered and color-coded to make identifying them easy. These components combine to create working circuit boards just like the ones found inside televisions, radios, and other electronic devices.) The instruction book is well written and the pictures are easy enough to follow that your son (at 4) could make it look like the picture by himself.
Here in America a large chain book store carries them in the kids toy department but you can find them on amazon as well. The basic starter set for $35USD will keep him (and you) busy for a long time.
Now I have go pull a keyboard out of the recycling/donate pile.

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Steph (MPMK Founder) January 11, 2015 at 10:55 pm

Yes! We love snap circuits and have been playing with them at home for a few years now. They are also featured in our S.T.E.M. Toys gift guide :).

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