Saturday, July 28, 2012
Make a “Control Panel” with your kids
It’s Saturday! I’ve got a fun project for the kids that should keep them busy for at least a little while. We like to call this our “control panel” or our “command center” depending on what it’s being used for at the time. It’s perfect for encouraging imagination (something I think a lot of kids are lacking these days) both during the building process and during play.
Depending on your child’s experience and motor skills, this will require some adult supervision. How much you involve yourself is up to you but I’m warning you, you may want to join in on the fun!
This project is perfect for cleaning out junk drawers and miscellaneous tools and hardware. All you need is a piece of wood (we used a wooden stool), random hardware and tools and imagination. Encourage your child to use their imagination when rummaging through things to use. Think outside the box when looking for items to use. You can get ideas from what we used or come up with your own. Let your child use the screwdriver, hammer some nails, and paint. He or she will get early experience with tools and how they work and will feel a major accomplishment when you guys finish the “control panel”.
We used plastic bottle caps as dials. Hammer a nail through the center of the cap and into the wood and with a little paint, you've got controls for voltage, volume or frequency! They really turn, too!
I’m not really sure what that black hook doo-dad is but it had a nail already stuck in it so we hammered it in and now it’s job is to point to numbers (hey, it’s an important job, trust me). The numbered buttons are made from those plastic glider pads that are nailed into the bottom of chair legs. I had a bunch left over from redoing some dining chairs and they worked great, not to mention easy for my son to hammer.
Hinges are a fun component to add to the control panel. We made an emergency hatch that reveals the emergency shut off switch button. It’s vital to any control panel or command center. You never know what may happen that could lead you to abort your top secret mission.
This really is a fun project for any kid or grown-up. Search through your tool box or junk drawer. Poke around in Home Depot. I assure you that you’ll find some really cool gadgets and hardware. We also used acrylic craft paint and puff paint to make it look official. I would make sure that you replace anything that becomes rusty if left out in the rain and use caution when using sharp objects. Saftey first!
Have you already got ideas? I would love to hear them!