Take Apart Old Toys and Electronics
Sometimes, to create is to destroy.
~ Written by Dara Podjarski Marcus
It all started with a broken clock. It had been sitting there for some time (pun slightly intended) and another lockdown meant it was finally time (still punny?) to declutter. Except that this whole corona thing has driven home the need to find opportunity in crisis.
The broken clock suddenly became a shiny, brand new toy. It became something to take apart. And suddenly - over several days - we found ourselves taking apart not only the clock, but also a broken Dora the Explorer educational computer and an unrepairable printer whose parts are obsolete and irreplaceable. We bonded with our toolkit as we got busy with screwdrivers, wire cutters and pliers. We put all the screws and small parts in a bowl and worked on a stable, covered surface. And we ALL had a blast. We even upcycled some of the parts to our craft stash.
It's amazing to see how the thrill of destroying something gets transformed into lots of lovely STEM encouragement, motor skills practice, familiarity with tools, understanding safety, working as a team, individual accomplishment...and deep fascination with uncovering the mystery of 'how things work' - in the comfort of our own home.
You'll even see a difference in the way the kids engage with their surroundings. They exude a new sense of calm, creativity and confidence.
Coupled with a desire to feed curiosity and advocate play - it's also important to be safe. There are some electronics such as TVs that are not recommended for this kind of amateur activity. Depending on when and how the device was powered up, there could be a residual charge, glass components or release of dangerous chemicals. Before you launch into anything, read up about the risks and what kinds of devices are safe. Be sure to use safety glasses in case of flying pieces. And despite being involved in 'destruction', keep the work space neat.
Not sure where to begin? Follow either of these guides and you’ll have a great overview to get started with safely taking old toys and electronics apart with your kids. The next generation of engineers, inventors, thinkers and dreamers are counting on it.
- Dara Podjarski Marcus