Have you ever tried to take apart a computer? If not, you absolutely should. There is no better way to learn about how machines functions. Well, of course, you could take a class, and I am sure that you would come away with more knowledge; however, for many of us, that’s impractical and expensive. Also, classes can sometimes take a bit of the fun out of it, as you lose that sense of exploration and unknowing.
Obviously, you will need to unplug the computer before you try to take it apart. Your should then let it sit for two or three days to ensure that the power has left the capacitors (the chance of serious electrocution is slight, but best not to risk it). If you want a “how to” guide, this video from Watchfinder & Co. provides a pretty good basic overview.
Of course, it should go without saying that young children should be assisted with this. There are a lot of sharp, small parts that could cause injury. That said, basic safety when working with hazardous materials is something that you should absolutely go over with your child. And lecturing them will not be nearly as effective as showing them through a “hands on” activity. Unless you know what you are doing, be sure to use a computer that no longer works.
In the below video, a professional watchmaker takes apart and reassembles a Rolex Submariner. The little watch has more than a hundred tiny pieces, and all of them assembled by hand. So if you don’t have something that you can take apart yourself, watching the video is a pretty good substitute.