STEM Simplified: Create an Inventor’s Box


Create an Inventor’s Box for Your Kids

A large part of being good in science, technology, engineering, and math is the ability to think outside the box.  A great way to get your kids tinkering, discovering, playing, and using their imagination is by creating an Inventor’s Box for them (some call it a Tinker Box).  What is an Inventor’s box you ask?  It’s just a box filled with odds and ends that your kids can use to create projects.  It’s also nice to include things that includes some type of little motor or is battery operated so that your kids can possibly take the item apart to discover how it works.

As I was putting the items in my kids’ boxes, my kids were definitely getting excited.  My daughter thanked me and said “There’s so many possibilities.”

STEM for kids: Create an Inventor's Box

What I included in our Tinker Box

Most of the supplies for our tinker boxes came from Dollar Tree.  I included items such as clothes pins, styrofoam balls and disks, bakers twine, a personal mini fan, a LED light, bungee cord, an over-the-door hook, and masking tape.  It’s really easy to find many things to put in such a creative box from Dollar Tree.

STEM Inventor’s Box

Oh, the possibilities are endless with an Inventor’s box.  So your job is to fill the tinker box, and it’s the kids’ jobs to CREATE, CREATE, CREATE! My daughter decided she wanted to make the planets.  So went and got a Space book to work on her project.

My son and little one decided to do some painting.

Start Your Week with a STEM Book to Spark Ideas

A great way to inspire your kids about how cool STEM is, is to read them a cool book about a kid like themselves who is interested in being an engineer, or architect, or a scientist.  My kids enjoyed the books by Andrea Beaty such as Ada Twist Scientist, Rosie Revere Engineer, and Iggy Peck Architect.  You can read our review of Ada Twist Scientist here.

Tips for the Types of Things You Can Expose Your Budding Engineer to

While I think you definitely want to have time set apart for your budding little engineer to create using the items in his inventor’s box, I also think it’s important to balance “free play” inventing time with what I call STEMing with purpose.  We want to expose our kids to activities where there are certain learning objectives.  My brother graduated from MIT with a mechanical engineering degree.  He gave me a list of 5 things you can be exposing your kids to if they are interested in engineering.  Read these 5 tips here in my blog post called STEM with Purpose: 5 Things to Expose Your Budding Engineer to. 

A Typical STEM Week

So a typical STEM week for you and your kids could start out with a few STEM books to inspire your little kids.  Then you could choose a STEM activity where your kids learn about one of the areas in the post STEM with Purpose.  You could end the week by setting aside some time for your child to invent using his tinker box.  Make sure to fill it with some great things!


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Showing 2 comments
  • Candace M

    I love this frugal idea! I will be adding this to my to do list.

    • Shenek Alston

      Awesome! Be sure to share what you decide to put in your child’s inventor’s box. 🙂

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