Children must be taught how to think, not what to think.

Children must be taught how to think, not what to think. Margaret Mead

Children must be taught how to think, not what to think.

-Margaret Mead

I love this quote, don’t you? It reminds me of the old tale about how you can lead a horse to water but you can’t teach it to drink. Today I’m sharing a short roundup of some of my favorite TinkerLab posts that talk about how we can encourage children to think for themselves, follow their own interests, and explore the ideas that inspire their curiosities.

Enjoy!

Rachelle

Eight Ways to Follow a Child’s Curiosities

Four Easy Steps to Follow a Child’s Interests

Documenting your child’s passions

How to be the “Guide on the Side”

Parents Reflect on What Art Education Means to Them

Powdered Milk Paint Recipe for Kids

Powdered Milk Paint Recipe | TinkerLab

Homemade paints are awesome and this Powdered Milk Paint Recipe is gorgeous for kid-made paintings. 

Why you’ll love it:

The paint is easy to make, teaches children to be resourceful makers, the consistency is similar to tempera paint, and it’s inexpensive. 

Homemade milk paint with powdered milk | TinkerLab

Ingredients: Powdered Milk Paint Recipe

Note: This contains affiliate links

How to make dry milk paint | TinkerLab

Directions

Mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl

Add food coloring or liquid watercolors until you have the right intensity

Paint!

The paint’s consistency is similar to tempera paint. Use it on card stock paper or cardboard for the best results.

I’ve had people ask me if there’s a milky smell to this paint, but that hasn’t been my experience. And once the paint dries you can’t smell it at all.

 Make your own milk paint with kids | TinkerLab

Shelf Life

Cover and store in the fridge for up to 4 days.

 

How to make your own powdered milk paint | TinkerLab

More Homemade Paint Recipes

Puffy Sparkle Paint: Made from salt, flour, and water. My most popular paint recipe.

Sweetened Condensed Milk Paint: This sticky paint dries with a beautiful sheen.

Invisible Ink: Made from citrus juice, use this with little detectives.

Bubble Paint: A mixture of dish soap, water, and tempera paint, blow bubbles directly into the paint and then make gorgeous prints.

Finger Paint: A simple recipe of flour and water, heated over the stove, this goopy paint feels great on the hands.

Egg Tempera Paint: This very easy paint, made from egg yolks, dries with a beautiful sheen and can teach kids about how Renaissance artists painted.

Microwave Puffy Paint: Squeeze this paint onto paper and then pop the artwork in the microwave for a puffy result.

Pin it!

Make your own paint with powdered milk and water | TinkerLab

Pipe Cleaner Ornaments for Christmas

Pipe Cleaner Ornaments for Christmas | TinkerLab

Your child can make these easy pipe cleaner ornaments for Christmas.

You can either set this project up for your child or class, or gather a set of supplies to create an easy homemade crafting kit like this for DIY Pipe Cleaner Ornaments.

You only need two supplies: pipe cleaners and beads with holes that are large enough to slip onto the pipe cleaner. These are easy enough for toddlers and are wonderful for building skills of hand-eye coordination, fine motor, and pattern recognition.

Supplies: Pipe Cleaner Bead Ornaments

This post includes affiliate links

Directions

  • Choose a pipe cleaner
  • Sting the beads onto the pipe cleaner until it’s roughly 1/3 full of beads
  • Move all the beads to the middle of the pipe cleaner
  • Create a circle of beads
  • Twist the pipe cleaner to secure the top of the circle
  • Make a hook
  • Hang it on your tree

 

chenille stem ornament kids

Ages: Toddler+

Skills: Hand-eye coordination, Pattern Recognition, Fine Motor

More Holiday Crafts for Kids

How to make a paper starfelt ornaments with sequins 2

Salt Dough Recipe | TinkerLab

Kids Crafts Ideas: Hand stitched fabric ornament with Kids

 

Best toys builders engineers

How to Make a Paper Garland without Sewing

how to make paper garland without sewing

Today I have a wonderful project for you: How to make a paper garland without sewing.

It’s simple. Inexpensive. Easy. And virtually mess-free.

I’ve had a love affair with gigantic paper punchers ever since my children were introduced them in preschool. Tiny hole punchers are wonderful (and I’ll share my very favorite for young children in a sec), but these mega punchers can make big 2″ circles and they’re easy enough for little hands to use.

This colorful provocation is easy to set up, the mess is minimal, and, in usual TinkerLab style, it’s open-ended and the result will all depend on the child’s imagination.

Let’s get started..

Supplies

Large Paper Punch: Fiskars. My favorite!

Small Hole Punch:My kids are endlessly frustrated by the traditional punchers and this style is easy for small children to use.

Stickers

String

Paper Scissors

There are many ways to set this up. I have a growing collection of containers so I’ll show you a couple ideas.

Set it up in a caddy:

circle garland supplies

Or maybe in a shallow tray:

circle garland supplies

How to Make a Paper Garland without Sewing

Once your supplies are out, invite your child to make a garland. You can add some scissors to the setup. When I set this up for a large crowd last week, one boy turned a circle into a PacMan shape. One child made a garland to decorate his sister’s room and another turned her’s into a necklace.

So many possibilities!

When you’re done, hang your no-sew garland. Or wrap a gift with it. Or wear it as jewelry. Or…

circle garland with stickers

homemade paper necklace

make a paper garland no sew

Fiskars Round Large Punch – on sale for $9.99

fiskars large hole punch

See all of our recommended resources here.

TinkerLab Resource Guide

 

 

Art Makers this Weekend at Cubberley

This Saturday I’m co-hosting a free, drop-in session of Art Makers. If you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area, please stop by between 2 and 4 pm for fun, experimental art making. All ages welcome.

We will explore the theme of Art Critters. If you can’t attend, you can make the Art Critter project shared in the image below from the comfort of your own home.art makers drop in art making with TinkerLab

I’m a member of Cubberley Artists, located in the old Cubberley High School in Palo Alto, CA. Cubberley has since been converted into community spaces such as nursery schools, dance studios, language schools, and art studios. Find me on this map.