Instructables.com: hacks for toys, entertainment, science, baby care, and more!
We’re all about the parent hacks here at Magic Beans – anything that makes your life easier is info we’re eager to share. So when I saw that Instructables.com won a Parents Best of the Web Award, I was eager to find out what kind of knowledge they have that you can tap into.
Ready for some hacks?
TOYS AND ENTERTAINMENT
How to Fix Toys with 3D Printing
His favorite toy is broken, and he’s inconsolable: in past generations, that meant that the action figure or dinosaur or Nerf gun was just going straight into the trash (or you were going to have to scramble to find another one). But you, techie parent, have access to a solution that your own parents didn’t: a 3D printer! This looks like a lot of fun and very satisfying – you can truly be your kid’s superhero for the day.
Hack Your Veggies with 3D Printing
Another great suggestion for 3D printers: time to play with your food! If you want to increase your child’s enthusiasm for eggplant or zucchini, I can’t imagine a better way than adding these 3D printed gizmos to turn them into a submarine or an airplane.
How to Build a Train Table With Hole in the Center
Got some basic woodworking knowhow and tools? This setup will give kids easy access to the entirety of their toy train collection, and they will LOVE IT.
Vertical Wind Tunnel for Kids’ Toys and Balls
This is pretty advanced, involving some serious woodworking and a bunch of materials (with the main piece being the air pump from a bouncy house), but it looks incredibly fun. As the creator noted: the mark of success was the number of toys that wound up on the roof of their house.
2 Ingredient Play Clay
Need an hour or two to work on the kitchen or catch up on your email? Mix cornstarch and the conditioner you use for your hair, and you’ve got a good way to keep the kids busy!
You might not have the stomach for this one, but if you have a kid who’s really into bugs, they’ll love spending a summer evening scoping out arachnids in the back yard. The video of the dad hunting spiders with his 7-year-old and 12-year-old is about as heartwarming as anything involving spiders could possibly get.
Upcycled LEGO Crayons
A great way to use all of your broken crayons and the ugly little stubs the kids won’t touch: use silicone molds to turn the crayons into LEGO bricks and minifigures!
An easy science experiment for a day stuck indoors, using items you already have in your kitchen! Adding soap to whole milk causes a nifty chemical reaction that kids can observe by adding food coloring; in the video, the Instructor shows you a few different methods to try. To maximize entertainment value, I would suggest watching the video on your own and writing down all of the steps, so that the kids will be surprised by every effect they’re able to create.
How to Heat Baby Milk/Formula in the Microwave
Spoiler: you’re not actually heating the milk itself in the microwave, just using the microwave to speed the process along. (This may seem like common sense to some folks, but it didn’t occur to me personally until I saw this.)
Make Your Own Diaper Sprayer (or try this one)
A diaper sprayer is a pretty key piece of equipment if you’re cloth diapering. They’re not super expensive, so you may just want to purchase one instead, but if you’re into parent hacks, why not?
Custom Contour Changing Pad
Super brilliant: if you want to put a changing pad in a place that isn’t sized quite right for one of the pads you can buy (say, your bathroom counter), you can create your own easily with a few easy-to-obtain materials. Is there anything pool noodles can’t do?
How to Get Your Baby Used To Bathing in 5 Days
It’s all about getting reluctant babies acclimated to the water: this is all common sense, but it can be super reassuring to see exactly how, step by step, another mama got the job done.
MISCELLANEOUS PARENT HACKS
Clear Snow The Laziest Way Possible
You’re a busy parent and your back can’t handle one more shoveling session. So, skip it: keep an eye on the forecast and spread a tarp on the porch the night before. It works!
Strap-Hanging for Toddlers
This simple parent hack will be great for walking around the city as well as subway rides: it just gives your child a sturdy handle of their own to grab that’s attached to your belt.
Simple Book Repair
Has your kid loved her favorite book to death? Don’t buy another copy: do a neat repair job with book binding cloth and glue.
Courtesy: the Ultimate Life Hack
You’ll find a few parent hacks on Instructables that are more philosophical than anything else, and this is a very smart one: a list of skills and general habits to inculcate in your kids that will get them on everyone’s good side. It’s not about the basic please-and-thank-you, or which fork to use with which dish: it’s about how they should interact with adults and with other kids, so they’ll be liked and respected. (Obviously the best way to teach these skills is to model them, so let’s all get started!)
DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME
Vacuum removal of object stuck in child’s nose
Not all of these parent hacks are advisable – I’m just sharing this one because it made me laugh. (Also, from the comments: when a doctor asked one child why she shoved a bead up her nose, she answered: “Because I tried to put it in my ear but it wouldn’t fit!”)
You definitely don’t need this, but you may want to watch the video anyway.
Ballistic Tooth Extraction
Actually less horrifying than it sounds! Dad ties one end of a string to daughter’s very loose tooth, ties the other end around a chunk of potato, and then uses a potato gun to launch the potato. Warning: the video is funny, but they do show the gap in her mouth where the tooth was, so if you can’t handle that, don’t look!
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