Saturday, June 18, 2016

IDMommy Project: Cardboard Robot Fun!

Toby & Sam with their cardboard robots!
Here's a SUPER easy and cheap activity to keep your kiddos entertained this summer on rainy days!!

When I was little my siblings and I used to make "robots" out of cardboard boxes.  I kept mine probably until I was in was only maybe 10" tall and all decked out with a real antenna from a broken radio, and a red plastic calculator screen for the mouth. His name was Radar and I also installed a retractable tape measure that could pull out from his side!  My sister and I even made a larger model named Rodney, that we could fit inside the back of to make his arms move!

Years ago when Sam was maybe 3 or 4, I thought it would be fun to help him make a cardboard robot of his own.  He was into Curious George at the time and loved the "Yorbo" episode, so he decided to name his Yorbo.  I spray painted a cardboard box with silver paint, and the rest was up to him! (though I helped wield the X-acto knife when he needed a precise hole cut) We took a trip to AxMan, our local surplus store, and loaded up on cool random parts.
Our shopping trip to AxMan, and robot construction...

Now Sam is 8 and this year I thought we'd help his little brother Toby make one too.  Sam still has Yorbo and keeps adding more features to him! Toby now has two robots.  This is such a fun and simple project for kids, and one that you can be as involved or not involved in as you want.  You can spray paint a box and let them go wild, or help coming up with ideas! Once Grandpa found out about their robots, he started saving cool parts from his workshop for them to add as well!

Supplies & Where to Get Them:
This project can be as cheap or expensive as you want it to be.  All you really need is a cardboard box, glue, tape, scissors, and random stuff from the junk drawer.  A can of silver spray paint really makes them look cool to start with, but isn't required of course.

A trip to the surplus store can add up fast, but they have so much fun with this part, even if I limit their spending.  We got some cool metallic silver duct tape there which got completely used up very fast! They also got some fun buttons, switches and wires.

Don't want to spend money on parts? No problem!  Keep an eye out around your house or ask your friends if they have any broken electronics or toys around.  We had a broken remote control car they just wouldn't let me get rid of, until they started making robots, and then they were thrilled to dismantle it for parts! Win-win! When my printer died a few weeks ago, we all had fun taking it apart and finding many cool circuitboards.  (Of course you should help when dismantling things like this! Some electronics can be dangerous to open, not to mention messy with ink like this printer, so use caution!)

Garage sale FREE boxes are a treasure trove for robot builders!!  Last week my boys found 6 remote controls in a free box and were SO excited.  They now have cool rubber buttons and little circuit boards.

I had to do some robot face paintings too!
They now each have a plastic bin to hold their robot parts. You can make unlimited robots, but it's fun to keep adding features to one, especially if you don't want your whole house overrun with robots! ;-)

Need some Inspiration?
Rent or borrow a copy of the movie "Robots" to get your kids inspired! I was able to snag a brand new, unopened DVD of Robots at a garage sale for $0.50 and the boys love it. Or, show them this post and just start taking apart a broken toy or electronic! Once they get into it the possibilities are endless!


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