My boys love, LOVE, tools!
They cannot get enough of tools, and whenever they get the chance they are in the basement building at their own little workbench with Daddy. Well, they also are very interested in how things work and ask about a million questions about everything! So I thought to myself “let’s put those two thoughts together and tool around and figure out how things work!”
I created an investigator bin with a few different screwdrivers, hammers, flashlights, a phone that doesn’t work, an old keyboard and a flashlight that doesn’t work.
I told the boys, while my 8 month old was sleeping, they could take whatever tools were there and figure out for themselves how to take apart an object from the bin, figure out how it works and what it looks like on the inside. But they deal is that they have to put it back together again when they are done.
I didn’t have to tell them twice before they were tooling around and getting right to it! My 4yo went for the phone and my 3yo started with the keyboard.
They helped each other, asked me a ton of questions, which I tried my best to answer to the best of my ability, and they took every single piece of their items apart and then put them back together again!
My 4yo hadn’t had enough so he decided to get his motorized excavator (that doesn’t work) and start taking that apart! He wanted to figure out if he could fix it, and see how all the parts moved inside. Of course I let him 🙂
Now as soon as my 8 month old woke up we had to put everything away until another day. But they kept asking me everyday afterwards, when the baby was asleep, if they could continue to explore with their tools. So here are a few more pics from subsequent days.
I found it just amazing to watch them be so intrigued and explore with such concentration! The Excavator is proving to be a very complex toy, so it is still under examination and we haven’t completed taking it apart as of yet, but I believe once that is done, my boys will find something else to tinker with.
If you are interested in doing this with any children, I have a few things you will want to know and some warnings:
- Be sure to put down an old sheet or tinker somewhere that is not where little ones play as there is often tiny bits of metal or dust that come off during the tinkering. We used a sheet and then I carefully folded it up and shook it outside so my baby didn’t crawl in anything.
- Be careful what kinds of items you give children to take apart. Electronics are sometimes not very safe for children as they contain lead in the wires and that is not good for them to touch.
- I gave my boys a keyboard, but I would not give them a computer until they are older as computers have a lot of lead and dangerous parts in them.
- Do not leave them alone and only tinker with tools under close supervision! I did not leave by boys’ side the entire time we were tooling around.
- If you cannot put the item back together again that day, keep any loose parts in a ziplock bag so as not to loose them.
- A good place to find items to take apart are thrift shops; don’t take apart your favourite items in your house, you may not get them back together again 😉 Flashlights are a good thing to start with.
If you have any questions about tooling around, feel free to ask my or make a comment and I will do my best to provide you with an answer.
I am going to leave you with a short video about Tinkering with tools. It is a TED Talk that I have seen and it is very interesting!
Now go have fun Tooling Around!