Keep those little hands busy with an at-home tinkering project that requires little more than a screwdriver and a discarded item, like the one in your closet you’ve been meaning to recycle. Just be sure and unplug or remove any batteries before beginning, and for the little tots watch for the many small parts that will be uncovered. Read on for our suggestions for items perfect for table-top dissection.

tinker kid photo: Taylor Riché via flickr

1. An old alarm clock, especially the wind-up kind. Yeah, they made those once.

2. A remote controlled vehicle that doesn’t seem to work anymore. Or you lost the remote. In rare cases, you can dissect the remote control if you’ve lost the vehicle.

3. A toy you have in duplicate.

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 4. The printer you got tired of replacing all the ink for, so you replaced the printer. You were just going to recycle it anyway, right? Why not let them see if they can take it apart and put it back together?

5. A toaster that won’t toast or a blender that’s seen better days, or another small appliance (remove the blades first, of course).

6. The VHS player you are never going to use again. And while you’re at it, let them take apart a video too. They’ll be amazed by this “ancient” technology.

7. Similarly, an old Walkman or cassette player, and the cassette tape that goes with it, (Mom, what did this do again?)

8. An old telephone. And by old, we mean a land-line.

9. Flashlights. Pop the batteries out and let the kids see the simple mechanics.

10. A computer mouse. Go ahead, open that desk drawer. We know there’s at least one in there. And while you’re at it, let them dismantle that crumb-covered keyboard.

11. A lamp or desk light.

12. A calculator. Solar ones are extra cool.

13. A fan.

Tip: If you aren’t going to put it back together again, be sure and separate the recyclable and reusable items from the trash. And always dispose of old batteries and e-waste properly. 

What everyday item does your kiddo like to take apart? Let us know in the comments below! 

—Amber Guetebier