Start an Inventor’s Kit For Your Curious Child

Alarm Clock Gears Exposed, Photo: Liesl Clark

By Liesl Clark

Our alarm clock went on the fritz. It just didn’t keep good time anymore and when we put new batteries in, the whole thing decided to stop ticking. Rather than throwing the clock out, our 9-year-old took the opportunity to try to fix it. He looked deep inside and saw the inner workings of the mysterious time-keeper, its simple gears and all the parts that added up to the whole: A simple machine. The adventure into taking-it-apart-land proved fruitful and now any broken gadgets in our household are fertile ground for young inventors searching for new parts to connect together, creating new-fangled machines. Motherboards are a universe of fascinating connections for the curiosity-seeker. Keep your youngsters’ minds exploring, even if it’s inside the things you thought would never tick again.

This inventor’s kit is evolving. It’s full of fascinating defunct e-waste like a walkman, mini motherboards and alarm clocks. Photo: Liesl Clark

Send us your suggestions for what you’d add to your child’s inventor’s kit!

Have other e-type waste you’re wondering what to do with? Please visit our Trash Backwards app where we have reduce, reuse, and recycle information for all of your gadgets:

Click through for reduce, reuse, and recycle ideas for your electronic items.

Click through for reduce, reuse, and recycle ideas for your electronic items.

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Categories: DIY, Fix It, Repurpose and Reuse, Trash Hacker, Trash Pile - All Our Stuff, Upcycle


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3 Comments on “Start an Inventor’s Kit For Your Curious Child”

  1. July 23, 2012 at 5:32 am #

    Liesl-great idea and re-purposing example. Reminds me of the Dangerous Book for Boys/Girls. Makes for a great rainy day activity.

  2. Linda
    January 17, 2013 at 9:20 am #

    I just wonder about toxicity inside electronics. It would be worth looking into. Mercury, lead bromide? Anyone?

  3. January 17, 2013 at 9:29 am #

    You’re absolutely right, Linda. We’ve mostly taken apart alarm clocks, and other simple machines like tape recorders, but have found little motherboards, too, on our beaches that the kids are fascinated with. They’re likely from cell phones. I wouldn’t encourage anyone to take apart computers. But, yes, looking inside the simple machines with gears (we had to take apart a grandfather clock once and it was fascinating) is likely a best bet. Part of the fun, too, is including little tools and small screws and washers, etc. for them to use when helping to fix some of our broken items like flashlights and walkie talkies.
    — Liesl at Trash Backwards

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