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Getting down to nuts and bolts: Kids ‘Take It Apart’ at North Spokane Library

UPDATED: Sat., Jan. 6, 2018, 9:41 p.m.

Ellie Penders, 8, Maggie Penders, 10, and Joy Shook, 9, have fun disassembling a TV remote during the Take it Apart event hosted at the North Spokane branch of the Spokane County Library District, Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018. Take It Apart allows children to deconstruct discarded home electronics to learn how they work. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Ellie Penders, 8, Maggie Penders, 10, and Joy Shook, 9, have fun disassembling a TV remote during the Take it Apart event hosted at the North Spokane branch of the Spokane County Library District, Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018. Take It Apart allows children to deconstruct discarded home electronics to learn how they work. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

Taking things apart is often easier than putting them back together, especially when it comes to obsolete electronics.

More than 20 children took part in the former on Saturday at the North Spokane Library as part of its monthly Take It Apart program.

The latter? Not so much.

Decades-old desktops and printers. VCRs. CD players. None stood a chance against curious, screwdriver-wielding boys and girls. Like archaeologists exhuming an ancient civilization, the young engineers reduced the once-hyped electronics to a pile of mechanical rubble.

When the three-hour session was over, all that was left were circuit boards, bolts and heaps of scraps, a sight that pleased the program’s leader and the library’s lab director, Erin Haight.

“The goal is to just let kids explore, to see the kids take the tools in their hands and see how everything goes together,” said Haight, who started the once-a-month program in September.

Some of the explorers were meticulous, dissecting each machine with precision. Others weren’t as patient and used mainly force and blunt instruments to pry the devices open.

Haight said she believes the program helps children learn how to solve problems, build and gain an education about tools and technology.

In other words: learning to build things under the guise of destroying them.

“If you don’t get messy, kids, it’s not fun,” as one parent in attendance summed up the session.

About 100 kids have taken advantage of the class since its inception, Haight said. More are likely in the future, as the event continues regularly on the first Sunday of the month.

All of the electronics used by the program are donated, Haight said.

“All of the stuff lying around we’re just going to toss anyway,” Haight said. “So this is one last chance to use them and teach the kids something.”


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