Parents know there is a lot of pressure to supply our children with expensive toys and amazing construction sets. Toy marketers are constantly telling us that their innovative toys boost brains! Inspire creativity! Ensure your children will have success beyond your wildest dreams!
In truth, no toy has such magical powers. And we certainly don't need to spend lots of money to spark our children's creative energy. For example, this simple homemade construction set of interlocking discs won't cost you a dime, yet provides the same opportunities to develop the same STEM-based skills (like engineering) that an expensive toy will.
Sure the notched, interlocking cardboard discs aren't beautiful. In fact, they are downright ugly, but who cares? Not your kids, that's for sure. Most of my kids' favorite activities are the ugliest you've ever seen. Don't believe me? Just read about our horrendously ugly but incredibly awesome kids activities.
How to Make an Interlocking Disc Set
Cardboard. If you are one of the few people who don't get packages regularly sent to your doorstep, you can probably get a box from your neighbor.
Optional: Drinking glass, round cookie cutter or small bowl, and pencil
Cut the cardboard into circular discs. You can do so freehand or use a glass, cookie cutter or small bowl to trace circles with a pencil on the cardboard before cutting.
Next, cut four notches in each disc. You'll want to make the notches deep enough so that the disc stay together. We had to experiment with a couple of different sized notches before we figured out just the right depth and width. You'll probably need to do the same.
One important tip: you want don't want to make the notches very wide, or the discs won't stay together.
Finally, hand over the set of discs to your child, demonstrate how they work and watch them build amazing structures!
Fortunately, your interlocking disc set doesn't have to be as simple as ours if you don't want it to be. Make interlocking pieces from a variety of shapes such as triangles, squares and rectangles.
You can also make the interlocking shapes in different sizes.
Make it Snazzy
Should you decide to follow your own path and make this diy construction set a little less hideous, try one or more of the following ideas. Or, better yet, let your kids jazz the building set up themselves!
- Paint each individual disc
- Cover the cardboard with washi tape
- Glue wrapping paper or magazine pages to the cardboard before cutting out the discs and other shapes.
Or, like my kids, you can turn each disc into a NYC subway logo!