Kid's Activity: Let's Be Inventors!

by Melissa Jaramillo and Julie Snyder

Throughout time inventions have generated excitement, such as the first flight of the Wright Brothers, electric washing machine, or home computer! There are, of course, some lesser known -- for example the Page Turning Magnifier...battery operated even...until my brother took his batteries back.

Kids are inherently creative thinkers. They still have the ability to look at objects and see their uses in new ways. Parents wishing to tap into this should provide their child with their very own "Inventor's Box." Offer your child various challenges to invent using only the objects provided. Be certain to keep this one stocked and pull out often! It is a surefire way to chase away boredom!

Below are some suggestions of materials for your Inventor's Box. You should adapt this list to be age appropriate to both your child and your budget. Take a look around your home. Even the smallest thing may be something used to create the next great invention!

• Balsa or pine wood pieces
• Wooden planes and blocks
• Q-tips
• Rubber bands
• Wood and plastic spools
• Magnets
• Clean aluminum cans
• Paper
• String
• Tape
• Paper clips
• 6 volt sockets and lightbulbs
• Coffee filters
• Small milk or juice cartons
• Cotton
• Clothes pins
• Straws
• Tooth picks
• Balloons
• Toilet paper tubes
• Baking soda
• Batteries
   (consider adding a 9 volt!)
• Small light bulb
• Copper wiring (for older kids)
• Aluminum foil

Challenges can be straightforward or open-ended. Here are a few ideas to get those inventors started:

  • Make a "car" out of a box or wood piece and empty sewing spools
  • "Balloon powered" object
  • Whirlygig (although you may need a hanger for that)
  • Airplane made of straws, rubber band and paper
  • Unique on-off switch for a light
  • Power floating devise

Julie Snyder is a mom of six, interested in kids, pregnancy, birth, people and lives in the outlying Seattle area. Melissa Jaramillo is mom to many. She's passionate about building, encouraging, and strengthening families on this adventure known as parenthood!

Copyright © Melissa Jaramillo and Julie Snyder. Permission to republish granted to Pregnancy.org, LLC.