Don’t ever throw anything away that your kids can deconstruct. Honestly they are great learning opportunities! That old computer–let the kids take it apart to see how the pieces fit together and ponder what the circuit boards could be used for. That old coffee grinder of other small appliance–again, let them take it apart so they can see how a motor works. The process increases dexterity, fosters curiosity, and engages kids for hours.
I was inspired to let my kids deconstruct old laptops, a television, and a few small appliances after a friend showed me this video of a TED talk by Gever Tulley of the Tinkering School. This school gives kids dangerous objects–real tools, ropes, knives, etc… The kids learn to figure things out by trying. It reminds me that our children need to explore their world and that we have some of the resources right here for them to do just that.
We don’t have to send our kids to the Tinkering School [although it would be great!] to help our kids learn by doing. Consider making something out of the items they create by deconstructing. Let them use real tools. Let them get frustrated. Let them get curious. Let them have their own successes. Have a great time!