Some kids, like mine, struggle with independent play. It’s hard to be in the same room as my child when toys are around and not get roped into playing with her. She just loves a playmate, which is hard sometimes since she is an only child, and I have stuff I have to get done.
Kids need to develop the skills for independent playtime to help foster creativity and imagination as well as patience and comfortability with spending time alone.
One TikTok mom’s brilliant play hack might be a solve for this perpetual problem that some of us parents face.
Introducing: the invention box!
TikTok mom and content creator Kelsey Pomeroy swears by this brilliant play hack that keeps her kid busy for hours while she can chip away at the never-ending to-do list that has every mom stressed AF — or just taking a minute to relax herself.
“The inventor’s box buys me hours of time. It’s just a box full of junk and trash that I give my son free rein to what we make inventions with,” she explained. “It seriously takes up like hours of his time.”
In the box, she includes a couple supplies that will help her son construct and create like scissors, a hole puncher, and a glue stick. Then she adds a bunch of random stuff that she has around the house such as costume jewelry baby toys, a broken fan, a flashlight, clothes hangers, paper, string, and a couple different containers.
“Googly eyes are a must have for the invention box,” she says with a grin before explaining that the inspiration for the invention box came when her son talked about his desire to build a time machine “so that the dinosaurs and elephants can meet each other.” Adorable, much?
For those worried about the inevitable mess that comes with giving a kid free rein with scissors and glue, don’t panic. Pomeroy has a hack for that too.
“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 explained. Seems simple enough!
Pomeroy notes in the caption on the video that the invention box entertains her preschool-aged kid for hours.
“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,” she wrote.
“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!”
After Pomeroy’s video went viral — gaining over 600k views — several TikTok users applauded the mom’s easy and seemingly effective play hack for her preschooler.
“As someone who used to deconstruct all the recycling for my inventions—this would have been MAGICAL,” one user wrote.
Another said, “Inspiring creativity and open ended play and supercharging his attention span, this is GENIUS”
So, you’re telling me I can clean out my overflowing junk drawer and get some alone time while my kid is enriched? Sign me up!