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Mom creates 'invention box' that gives her kid hours of independent playtime

Parents are loving the idea.

playtime, kids, parenting, independent play, entertainment for kids
@kelsewhatelse/TikTok

This is a playtime game changer

Independent playtime, as the name suggests, is an allotted period of time where kids are left alone to entertain themselves.

It’s not only a chance for parents to catch up on whatever emails, chores, rest, etc. that they might have fallen behind on, but an opportunity for kids to develop their imagination, problem-solving and self-reliance. And, you know, make friends with the voices inside their head.

But, as important as independent playtime is, it’s not always easy for parents to implement. Some kids have a hard time finding ways to entertain themselves without trying to involve mom or dad.

That’s where the ‘invention box’ comes in.


According to mom Kelsey Pomeroy, it’s been a godsend for keeping her kids happily busy for hours, finally giving her some time back to herself.

The idea is pretty simple: Pomeroy takes a plastic bin and fills it with bits and bobs that her son has “free reign” to make inventions with. There’s the basic crafting tools—scissors, a hole puncher, and a glue stick–and then random variables thrown in, like costume jewelry, baby toys, broken items lying around the house.

Oh, and googly eyes. Always googly eyes.

@kelsewhatelse Invention Box Restock! This activity entertains my preschool age kid for hours and It takes absolutely no preparation and since it's mostly made of trash, it takes nearly no money. The invention box is a box filled with a bunch of junk from our house and some kid friendly scissors and a glue stick and tape and he goes crazy making toys and other inventions. This can get messy so my biggest tip is lay out a blanket or a shower curtain liner and tell them that all the inventing has to take place on that blanket. That way you can just scoop it all up and dump it back in the box! This truly does entertain my son for hours. And I don't necessarily mean hours in one sitting. I mean that he will play with it for 40 minutes and then come back later at the end of the day and play with it for another hour. We probably get it out about once a month (his choice) and it's always so fun to see what his brain invents. If you want to do an invention box you can obviously customize it to your kids needs! . . . . #kelsewhatelse #momtips #activitiesfortoddlers #inventionbox #preschooler #momhacks #midwestmom #midwestern #kansascity #parentingtips ♬ original sound - KelseWhatElse

So just what inspired the invention box? Apparently, Pomeroy’s son had already been talking for months about wanting to build a time machine “so that the dinosaurs and elephants can meet each other.” How cute is that?

As Pomeroy warns, the invention box does get messy. But she has a workaround for that as well.

“A tip to cut down on the mess is to lay out like an old shower curtain liner that we use or a blanket, and I say everything he invents has to stay on the blanket, and then I can just kind of scoop the blanket up and dump it right back in the box,” she says. Easy peasy.

And so, about once a month, Pomeroy’s son will ask for the invention box and be entertained for hours coming up with creative ideas—though Pomeroy notes that that doesn’t mean hours in one sitting. More like 40-60 minutes here and there throughout the day. Because even Edison took breaks!

“It's always so fun to see what his brain invents,” Pomeroy attests. “If you want to do an invention box you can obviously customize it to your kids needs!”

Let’s just say—folks found the idea to be the ultimate playtime hack.

“As someone who used to deconstruct all the recycling for my inventions—this would have been MAGICAL,” one person wrote.

Another added “Inspiring creativity and open ended play and supercharging his attention span, this is GENIUS.”

It just goes to show, even in a tech-driven world, kids are still happy with the basics, especially when it encourages them to use their hands and think outside the box. Next time they’re dealing with boredom, see what delights the junk drawer reveals.

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