Monday, October 22, 2012

Let Your Kids Dismantle Your Old Appliances

Because sometimes woodwork just isn't exciting enough!

I hate, hate, HATE it when appliances and electronics break! I HATE how it's impossible to get, say, a broken inkjet printer repaired, or if you can find a shop that will repair a broken stereo for you, it's more expensive than if you just bought a new and fancier one. I hate storing a broken and irreparable piece of equipment for months until our city's next Electronics Recycling Day. I hate having to replace it.

The silver lining: I LOVE giving a piece of broken equipment and an assortment of tools to the kiddos, and watching them smash the crap out of my now-hated appliance while they try to discover what's inside. Once last year, I even put an ad on Freecycle and collected some other people's even more awesome appliances for the kids to take apart. To date, over the years I believe that the girls have taken apart the following:
  • one blender
  • one cell phone
  • one laser printer
  • one television
  • one giant stereo
  • three small stereos
  • two portable CD players
  • one immersion blender
This weekend the girls, still on their tools kick, took apart two of those small stereos noted above (Can I just say that I HATE the quality of small stereos and CD players? Your average six-year-old does handle the equipment a little more roughly than your average adult, sure, but if she can break three portable stereos and two portable CD players in a row with just normal usage, then there's something very wrong with the manufacturing, not the kid). I loosened screws when asked, but mostly I just laid out a bunch of tools and let them go:

Look at the fine motor skills in practice!

Willow was fascinated by what she discovered digging inside the speakers:

 You can do a lot with a screwdriver, but eventually the hammer and the saw come out:

The hammer and the saw got them inside the case, and wire cutters were handy to separate all the electronic components, but the girls' favorite part is always collecting all the clever little components and pieces and doo-dads that make up the equipment. Some end up as art supplies (the ink cartridges from the printer that the girls took apart last year was MESSY fun!), some end up as aspects of their imaginative play, and some end up with uses that you'd never anticipate:


We've actually had trouble finding a jump rope that's the correct length for Willow--who knew that the solution was a stereo cord?!?

Obviously, the stereo cord now lives with the other outdoor toys in their crate on the back deck, and gets as much use these days as it did when it was attached to the stereo.

1 comment:

Discovering Montessori said...

It is good to see children engaged in activities like this. When I was younger I use to get so excited when my parents would purchase a new appliance. This meant that I would get the old one to take apart. My son does the same thing!! Thank you for sharing. So much fun!!

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