Create An Inventor’s Kit For Your Curious Child

Our alarm clock went on the fritz. It just didn’t keep good time anymore and when we put new batteries in, the whole thing decided to stop ticking. Rather than throwing the clock out, our 9-year-old took the opportunity to try to fix it. He looked deep inside and saw the inner workings of the mysterious time-keeper, its simple gears and all the parts that added up to the whole: A simple machine. The adventure in taking-it-apart-land proved fruitful and now any broken gadgets in our household are fertile ground for young inventors searching for new parts to connect together, creating new-fangled machines.

Motherboards are a universe of fascinating connections for the curiosity-seeker. Keep your youngsters’ minds exploring, even if it’s inside the things you thought would never tick again.

The secondary benefit is not throwing perfectly reusable items away. Rather than putting it all into the metal recycling bin or e-waste, these items will have a prolonged life. Our children’s relationship with “things” is changing rapidly, as they see how items may have a new use in a different iteration.

The fun part of finding an old case to use for the kit. We cleaned out some boxes in our storage room and found these to create new kits to give to neighbors.


Spark creativity in the kiddos around you. You’ll be surprised by what they build, and do send us your suggestions for what you’d add to your child’s inventor’s kit!

Clementine Box Doll Bed

By Cleo Clark-Athans

This one is a simple trash hack by a 7 year old.

1) Take clementines out of wooden clementine box.

Clementine Boxes Have Huge Potential, Photo © Liesl Clark

2) Place small towels, rags, hand-knit blankets, anything soft inside the clementine box to make a “mattress.”

Inserting the "Mattress" Photo © Liesl Clark

3) Find a cute fabric scrap, a doll’s blanket, or a pretty place mat to use as your bedspread.

4) Add a small pillow (mine was hand sewn at sewing class).

Outer Bed Layers Need to Be Appealing. Pink Seems To Work for My Small Animals. Photo © Liesl Clark

5) Put your favorite little animals or dolls to bed!

No More Monkeys Jumping on the Bed, Photo © Liesl Clark

25 Bread Clip Reuses

IMG_4795 Photo © Liesl Clark

Photo © Liesl Clark

Although we most often bake our own or purchase locally baked plastic-free bread from our local baker, there is the occasional store-bought bread that comes in a plastic bag (recyclable at most grocery stores, if clean) with a hard plastic clip to keep it shut. These clips might also make their appearance on produce bags. Some call them bag clips, others bag tags. They’re made of hard plastic and as of yet we know of only one address in the US where you can send them, where they’re stockpiled and sold to help wheelchairs get to South Africa where they’re needed. So, if you’ve collected them over the years, please send them to this address here.

Did you know that over 20 cases of accidental ingestion of plastic bag clips have been published? The incidence are so detrimental to health that a team of researchers have classified in the British Medical Journal “morphology” chart the many varieties of bag clips, in an effort to determine which ones are most dangerous to the digestive tract and which designs are more benign.  Don’t swallow them, or you might become yet another statistic for this study.

We do have a few bread clips saved in some drawers, mostly for reuse. Here are a few of the ways we’ve used them in our home?

1) Reuse to seal other bags (yep, it’s obvious but I had to list it so you don’t throw them away.) We store our bread in a bread box, to keep it plastic-free. But, occasionally we’ll need to pack it in plastic when we go camping. Bread clips come in handy then.

2) Label your spare keys with them!

3) Place on the end of tape, like duct tape and masking tape, so you don’t have to spend time peeling the tape off itself.

4) Use them as earbud tamers to store those earbuds and prevent the inevitable tangles.

Screen Shot 2016-03-01 at 3.19.01 AM

Photo: Jake Ducey

5) Use them as counter scrapers for hard-to -scrape -off crud. Same for pots and pans.

6) Use to hold together all your rubber bands in your everything drawer.

7) Make a cool cereal box and bread clip abacus by following this tutorial provided by Almost Unschoolers!

8) Use your bread clips to organize and label your desk and entertainment cables.

9) Make bread clip monsters like these at Crafts by Amanda.

10) Make bread clip snowmen a la Crafts by Amanda, and impress your housemates.

11) Use as a bookmark.

12) Use to replace missing game pieces. A bread clip avatar for monopoly could be quite imposing if you put a scary business face on it.

13) Make a bread clip monster garland. Cute.

14) Use as wine glass identifiers for a party. Multicolored bread tags, or ones you’ve added faces to, work well to differentiate your guests’ glasses. Just clip ’em to the stem of the glass.

15) Write the letters of the alphabet on 26 bread clips and let your child put them in order.

16) Make some cute bread tag earrings.

17) Make bread clip gingerbread men!

18) Use them to hold hair ties in the bathroom.

19) Learn how to make a robot necklace from Mich L in LA.

20) Make some more fine jewelry.

21) Here’s a pendant for some more ideas.

22) Use them to hold your twist ties in your reusable grocery bag for bulk items. I reuse these twist tie bulk food labelers, so having them in a bundle helps keep track of them when I’m in the bulk department.

23) Flip flop about to blow out? Use a bread tag on the bottom to hold the little end in place for a quick reinforcement fix.

24) Make a bread clip shower curtain (ok, I know you won’t, but it’s an interesting and artful idea.)

25) For some fun bread clip robot reprintables, please visit Mich L in LA’s blog, which is an inspirational site for repurposing our “trash” into artful creations.