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Create a Children’s “Inventor’s Box” for Recycled Crafting

Blog - 25 October 2022

Create a Children’s “Inventor’s Box” for Recycled Crafting

Discover the magic of an “inventor’s box” to let children indulge their creativity using recycled packaging and discarded household items.

National Recycling Week is a great time for parents and educators to get children involved in recycling. Creating an “inventor’s box” is an easy way to encourage children to be creative while they learn about problem solving, and the importance of eco-friendly practices such as recycling. So, what is an inventor’s box, and how can you create one?

What is an inventor’s box?

An inventor’s box is basically a box of recycled items to be used for craft play. You can use a cardboard box or a plastic storage tub and simply regularly add recycled odds and ends to it. When you’re ready to use it, you can just add a few basic craft supplies such as scissors, glue, tape or string and let your little inventors get to work.

An inventor’s box can be played with freely by your child, or you can direct their play a little bit by suggesting that they build a specific thing such as the tallest building that they can, or the fastest marble run, or a bird feeder.

An inventor’s box offers children an opportunity to explore using different materials, be creative, problem solve and to learn as they play. Yes, it might get a little messy, but at the end of inventing, leftover supplies can simply go back in the box for next time.

How to make an inventor’s box

The first step is to get a large box to house all your supplies. This can be a large cardboard box or a plastic storage tub or large zip-up storage bag. Then, simply fill it up with random recycled bits and pieces that would otherwise be destined for the bin. This might include things like:

  • Small cardboard box packaging;
  • Old wrapping paper and ribbons;
  • Milk or juice bottle lids;
  • Empty plastic bottles;
  • Cleaned empty yoghurt containers;
  • Toilet paper tubes; or
  • Shredded paper. Always make sure that all the recycled items are safe and clean for use. Avoid using sharp metal items like cans or items that haven’t been properly washed.

How to play with an inventor’s box

When it comes to using an inventor’s box you will need to also offer children access to some craft supplies. What craft supplies you offer them may depend on the age of the children using the box, or how messy you’re willing to let them get. Here are some suggestions:

  • Child-safe scissors;
  • Icy pole sticks;
  • Glue;
  • Sticky tape;
  • String;
  • Pens or pencils;
  • Googly eyes;
  • Plasticine; or
  • Marbles.

You may also choose to direct children’s creations. This is particularly useful if the children using the box are a little older and up for a challenge. Here are some suggestions:

  • Can you make a multi-storey building?
  • Can you make a robot?
  • Can you make a marble run?
  • Can you make a spaceship?
  • Can you build a bird feeder?

Don’t forget to discuss inventions with the inventors!

Talking about their creation is a great way to encourage children to think critically about their design and will give them a sense of pride in their creation. Ask them about their design and whether there’s anything that they feel didn’t work as well as they had hoped, or anything that they’re particularly proud of.

Why is craft creative play so important for childhood development?

Creative play is crucial for children’s development, both from a mental and physical perspective. It offers children a chance to work independently, think critically, develop their problems solving skills and fine motor skills. It can also be a great way for children to enjoy some downtime away from screens without needing to be entertained by others.

How does an inventor’s box teach children about recycling and sustainability?

An inventor’s box is a great way to encourage children to think about recycling by allowing them to see how items that would otherwise be discarded can be reused. Through playing with an inventor’s box, children will also develop a better understanding of the composition of different materials and how they can be used, for instance cardboard disintegrates when it gets wet and plastic doesn’t.

Creating an inventor’s box is not only a fun and educational activity for children, but it’s also a great opportunity to talk with children about how recycling and sustainable practices can have a positive impact on our planet.

Celebrate Rubbish Robots for National Recycling Week with us in Your OSHC After School Care, from 13-17 November!

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