I taught a basic computer hardware class to a group of 3-5 graders last semester, and we made the inside of a computer out of a cereal box. The kids loved it and learned a lot.
The steps are very simple. Any rectangular cereal box will do. You may want to use one without a hole in the middle, but it was all I had for demonstration.
Step one is to cut off the back–or front which ever side has no print on the inside. Some boxes (especially kid cereals) are printed on the inside. I found this a distraction for my group, but you can cover the printing with regular paper. Cutting off the back can be quite a task. Little hands may need help.
Next, to stabilize the box and reattach the top flap, tape the top with strong tape. I used packing tape because it’s clear. You may need to tape the inside flaps (top & bottom) for more stability.
Take the back piece and cut it in half. Put one piece aside, and attach the other inside the back of the box. This will be your motherboard.
The other items: cpu, sound card, video card, modem, fan, cd/dvd drive, power supply and hard drive will all be cut from the left over piece. Even the tiny colored chips attached to the motherboard (not labeled, but shown) are all fashioned from the leftover piece of cereal box.
If there is enough interest, I’ll be happy to do a series with lesson plans to go along with this craft. I had to be very creative to explain some of these concepts to these kids. For example the way I explained that a modem translated signals into a language the computer could use was by using Star Wars. Only Hans Solo could understand Chewbacca, so he had to translate what Chewbacca was saying so others could understand. Once I said that, they were all good. Everyone got it.