Explore the inner workings of old machines.

For Ages: 6 and up

What You Need

Tools and Materials

  • Screwdrivers
  • Adjustable pliers
  • Wire cutter or heavy-duty scissors
  • Old VCR, clock radio, answering machine, computer, toaster or other devices

Safety Notes

  • Don’t take apart TVs, computer monitors, microwaves, air conditioners or things with glass
  • Cut off electrical cords before kids get started
  • Avoid using force to pry things apart
  • Use safety glasses for added protection

What You Do

Step 1. Cut off electrical cords
Step 2. Start loosening screws

What Kids Learn

  • Confidence – Willingness to try out “adult” tools
  • Critical thinking – Making a plan, diagnosing problems and changing course if things don’t work out at first
  • Coordination – Developing fine motor skills

Parent Tips

  • Let your child use the tools
  • If your child gets stuck or struggles a bit, ask open-ended questions to get them going again (“How do you think this comes apart?” or “Where do you want to start?”)
  • If needed, guide your child – but avoid taking over entirely
  • Notice what your child is doing and comment about what you see

Stay Informed

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10 West Seventh Street
St. Paul, MN 55102



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