STEAM Challenge: Invitation to Create a Recycled Toy Bot!
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Have you heard of art bots? I was so intrigued by the one made by Hand Made Kids Art and have since been in awe of all the cool diy brush bots over on Left Brain Craft Brain – a must read blog if your kids love science! Since we have random toys that don’t get played with very often, I thought I would present my kids with a Recycled Toy Bot Challenge. They were to repurpose items found around the home and toys into a mini robot – a fun STEAM activity that has the kids learning through play!
Recycled Toy Bot Challenge
We were inspired to take toys we no longer use and repurpose it into something new by the Energizer® EcoAdvanced™ AA and AAA batteries we purchased at Lowe’s (near the checkout lanes). They are the first battery on the market to use recycled batteries/materials and “Energizer’s longest lasting alkaline ever.” Neat, right?
It’s another step in our journey to bring performance and responsibility to the world. By 2025, our goal is to increase the amount of recycled battery material ten-fold to forty percent.
- Battery operated toothbrushes
- extra batteries
- old toys or ones the kids don’t really play with (pinata stuffers, Halloween handouts, and so on)
- embellishments for decorating
How to make the Bug Bot:
Cut a pool noodle either almost the same size as the toothbrush or a bit smaller. We made ours smaller so it could have a nose and was easy enough for my preschooler to turn on and off.
We used pipe cleaners, paper straws, jumbo googly eyes, and leftover cube stickers from a craft kit to turn our toothbrush bot into a bug! You will want to choose items that don’t add a lot of weight otherwise it won’t move very fast or at all. Other items that might work: small twigs, pom poms, toothpicks, stickers, and so on.
The kids love their new repurposed pool noodle toy!
Here is the Bug Bot in action:
S – science | T – technology | E – engineering | A – art | M – math
This recycled toy bot challenge is a great way to get kids to creatively problem solve:
- Why does the pool noodle tip over?
- How come when we cut it shorter it doesn’t move as fast?
- How can we fix it so it works like we want it to?
- What happens if we turn it sideways?
- Does it make a difference if the toothbrush is pulled out more or shoved inside the pool noodle further?
- What happens if we take the battery pack and motor out of the toothbrush?
- Which toys can we add without it tipping over but still able to move/crawl?
- What should we turn it into… a bug, a boat, a car?
More Battery-Powered Toy Creations
This M&M Bot is hilarious! The expression is perfect. With this particular pool noodle bot, I took the battery holder and motor out of a dollar store toothbrush (also took the brush top off), placed in the battery and then back in the black holder (shown in the photo with the batteries and toothbrushes). This made it so we could have smaller creations if the kids wanted and this particular one also had more power. The other great thing about this one is that the kids can take the toy off and experiment with other toys to see what works and what doesn’t.
The kids made so many creations and it kept them busy for hours! The photo above and the 2 videos we shared (M&M Bot and Bug Bot) are just a few! Little Sister added bracelets and other fun things to hers to see if it would topple over. The Spiderman moves around all over the place and the recycled k cup monster spins around continuously!
We would love to see how you recycle or repurpose one of your toys or ‘junk’ you might be throwing in the trash! You can learn more about Energizer® EcoAdvanced™ batteries and share an idea you have with them on Facebook.
I absolutely adore your Bug Bot. I am inspired to take your challenge and see what my kid can make.
Yay! Would love to see what they make 🙂 Thanks!
Oh I just love this! This is a really clever idea!
This is a fantastic activity! I loved the questions to ask the children as this project takes place! 😀
Thanks Tanya! They had fun experimenting and figuring out which type of toys would work.
What a fun activity! I love your super-sized bug bot!
Thanks MaryAnne! It even had my hubby smiling 😀
That’s an idea worth calling creative! I get used to recycle all my stuff and the possibility to turn them into that funny small creature is awesome!
This is fantastic! Can’t wait to get started!
Wow! What a cool project! All 3 of my kids would LOVE to make these. I think we have our next after school activity! Thanks for sharing with the #made4kids linkup.
Thanks Heather! Happy to hear that you like it <3