We started collecting "junk" a long time ago, when we realised the kids were really really into making things out of random stuff. It started off with a set of toy bins in the house that was full of stuff that I saved from the recycling bin, like loo roll tubes, yoghurt pots and other interesting bits of cardboard or plastic rubbish. The kids had scissors and plenty of string, tape and stuff like pipe cleaners and clothes pegs to construct with (no glue though, because white glue gets too frustrating waiting for it to dry in this kind of scenario) The kids are just getting to the point where they can safely handle the lower temp hot glue guns, so that should open up a load more possibilities for them soon. I just have to protect the carpet with something, because all this is in our livingroom (I know, we're classy like that) Here's the set of bins with cardboard swiped from between the pallets at Costco stored behind it...
Generally if the kids aren't already stuck into this stuff then all it takes to get them interested is for me to sit down with it and start tinkering myself and they soon come and join me to see what's going on and to join in or start on something else.
Well, about a year and a half ago we started a collection of "outdoor junk", like nails, screws, a few hand tools, and lots of random wood bits, plastic bits, wheels, pvc plumbing left overs and just, well, junk really. All this is in a big wooden trunk, and when the weather doesn't suck we drag it out and let them do whatever with it. They are both pretty darn good with hammers and screw drivers now! We scavenge electronics from old appliances for their dad's electronics tinkering addiction, so they have had plenty of practise with screwdrivers from that. Here are a couple of pics from last year when they were just getting the hang of taking things apart with screw drivers...
Here are a few pics of the junk in my trunk (shut up)
Now that the rainy season is drawing to a close, we can get back outside with this stuff and by the end of the summer I hope they will be confident in using little hacksaws and a manual hand crank drill (I keep waiting for one to show up at a thrift store or garage sale, but it hasn't happened yet). I have some balsa wood to start on that'll make it easier for my younger daughter. My five year old is also going to get extra practise with basic math and measurement out of this stuff that seems to fascinate her too I reckon.
After a while, a lot of friends started to gift us with interesting things from their recycling bin! Yesterday we got given a load of those weird plastic Costco apple containers and today we got a load of honeycomb structured cardboard to play with. I'm always rather excited by these kinds of things and the many possibilities they present for construction. Happily these days, having had the blog for nearly two years, I am lucky enough to have run into a lot of other people out there that find the contents of their friend's recycling bins as full of potencial as we do! Yay intertoobs! I actually have to say a few thank yous to some of these people in my next post.
When el hubberino brought home all that cardboard from his workplace today, the kids were just as excited to handle it and talk about all the things it could become as I was, and that makes me loopy kinds of happy. Please let it be sunny tomorrow!
I know some of you hoard this kind of stuff for your kids to create with. C'mon, share your set up with us in the comments! Have you written a blog post about it? I want to see the junk in your trunk, or rubbish in your bin if you're from the UK :)