Invention Box: The best invention I added to our daily routine.
There are days when I need 30 minutes to myself. Quietly. To do a few things I need to do. Like write this post for you.
For my children, I have a few high priorities. The first is definitely that they know the love that God and their parents have for them. The next is that they know their potential! I want my kids to know I believe in them. I believe they can create from within their own heart, soul, and mind. I want to be intentional about filling their hearts and minds with the belief that they can change the world!
I also do not believe in always doing FOR our children. I believe in facilitating the inventive spirit they already have! This is a HUGE passion of mine. I cannot hold their life forever. I can light a spark, but they must carry their own flame. I want to inspire them to think, create, be themselves – not a copy of me.
How could I combine all these prayers of my heart into one little box? It came to me one day and we created – The Invention Box!
The Bigs were maybe 3 & 5 when I started doing this invention box. Now it is part of our family. They wrote the words Invention Box on it SO long ago and I cannot believe how much they have changed since I began doing this activity at home.
As a teacher it is a passion of mine to develop the actual heart, mind, and inventive spirit of the child. So many times parents think they should be investing in expensive toys, learning programs, or the best “apps.” I tell them – let your kids create an Invention Box. Come back to me in a few weeks and tell me what you see.
Here is what I see:
Confidence with Unknown Elements
Confidence with Presenting
Pride in Accomplishment
The Visionary Skill = I Can Create Something From Nothing
Love of Science, Engineering, Art, and Invention
These are just to name a few!
1) What goes in it?
Variety of building textures: cardboard, fabrics, safe metals, papers, jars, and containers.
Old electronic parts like computer keyboards, old walkie talkies, monitors etc (batteries removed for choking safety).
Tape: at least 3 different kinds of duct tape, fabric tape, or electrical tape etc.
Pair of child scissors for each child.
NO GLUE (that was a bad outcome 😉
Blunt bars, soft wires, or sponges = as many different safe building items you can find around the house.
Don’t feel like you need to go and buy items! That defeats the whole purpose. There are so many supplies you have in your home and garage that will work. For inventing, it can be items the children see every day BUT you are letting them create a NEW VISION for how to use them. That is the gift of invention.
2) What are the Rules?
We have 1 rule: *** You may invent ANYTHING using anything in the box as long as you clean it ALL up when you are done. **
That is IT. I am telling you. Do not doubt your children. They have made the hugest messes and cleaned them ALL up because they do not want to lose Invention Box Time.
3) What do we do with the inventions when finished?
For the actual invention: we keep the inventions for a few days, and then decide to disassemble it, repurpose it, or recycle it so they can invent a new one.
4) When do we do Invention Box?
We keep the box in a cabinet. They can ONLY have access to it when: I need to do an important phone call, during “special time” (see our homeschool schedule here), or when they have earned it and ask for it! Most of the time if they ask for it, I say YES!
One time they were at most 3 and 5 and created a “web” from yarn that stretched the entire living room and it was a “web that could catch real people.” I asked how it worked and they had members of the family stand at different parts of the web. We discuss their inventions and talk about how it would be implemented in real life, being CREATIVE.
Then, I make real life applications, for example, “Did you know that in technology we have computer networks that actually catch people / connect people through something called an internet? It is a way to build networks and circles of people that are connected by streams of data and coding patterns.” Your invention reminds me of the connections needed between people around the world!
After making the connection I affirm them! For example, “Wow! Your web that you designed could be used as the plans for a software invention!” I get super excited every time we do Invention Box because it is a reflection of their hearts and what is on their mind.
Nothing I buy them can give them what I have watched develop in their minds and hearts since I started doing the Invention Box.
Before long, I saw my girls start inventing everywhere, not just in the box. It became a lens through which they process the world. What a gift we as parents can watch unfold when we let go, and let inventive spirit fly!
If you do an inventive activity, will you please share it with me? I LOVE hearing about children’s inventions!