Makey Makey Invention Kit for Everyone

Makey Makey Banana Piano | TinkerLab.com

Make + Key = Makey Makey Would you enjoy playing a game of PacMan with carrots or tinkering with a set of play dough piano keys? If the answer is "yes," then Makey Makey might be just the toy for you! I've been following Makey Makey by JoyLabz for a while and we finally got the chance to play with our very own set. What is Makey Makey? That's a great question -- before … [Read more...]

3 Tools that Build a Child’s Confidence

3 tools

Young children are full of their own ideas, confidence, and enthusiasm for the new. As much as we hope they'll retain this strong sense of self, as they get older it's possible that their confidence can diminish with the influence of peers or self-doubt that comes from not being able to bounce back from failure. I hope that my kids can retain a strong sense of self as … [Read more...]

Tinker Tots: How to Take a Plush Toy Apart

tinker with stuffed animal

Tinkerer: one who experiments with materials and ideas to fully understand their capacities, and who further iterates on their learning to find better solutions to current problems.  Tinker Tots is a series of projects where I  share tinkering materials or tools that can be safely introduced as open invitations for children to explore and tinker. Materials Toy or … [Read more...]

Why is Tinkering Important?

mama smiles phones tinkering

I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work. -Thomas Edison True to the name of this blog, Tinkerlab, I'm excited to start a new series called "Tinker With..." where I'll introduce new tinker with materials, categories of materials, or tools that can be introduced as open invitations for children to explore. The first Tinker With... will be tomorrow, … [Read more...]

What is Tinkering?

what is tinker

Tinker /ˈtiNGkər/ n.  to make small changes to something in order to improve or repair it (MacMillan Dictionary) You may have noticed this quaint little word that's at the heart of my blog title, and today I'd like to talk a bit about tinkering. I have a fun tinkering challenge up my sleeve (come back for that next week!), so consider this my introduction! What is … [Read more...]

Art Project: Overhead Projector

overhead projector art project

My husband works at a university and the collector in me was overjoyed to discover that there's a little-known department on campus that sells surplus property from departments that no longer need old projectors, desks, and reams of paper. I wandered into the dusty space about a year ago and walked out with something everyone needs: an overhead projector for just $5. Right, … [Read more...]

Tinkering on the Typewriter

typing

I've been thinking about getting an old typewriter for a long while (this post from The Artful Parent struck a chord, and I love how Jean set up a writing area around her typewriter), but since I've been on a purging streak since the first of the year it was hard to justify the purchase, and find a good spot for it. By the way, if you're interested in organizing your life … [Read more...]

Machine Sewing with a Preschooler

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The other day my 3-year-old asked if we could "look on the computer for an art activity" which I suppose says a lot about what computer time looks like in my house! So I opened up one of my favorite blogs, The Artful Parent, and saw that our friend Jean was sharing simple pyramid-shaped beanbags. N was intrigued and immediately said that she wanted to make some beanbags too. … [Read more...]

String Cup Telephone

string cup telephone

I met up with the Los Angeles-based Trash for Teaching at the Maker Faire last weekend. Trash for Teaching is an organization that collects factory overruns and byproducts and redistributes them to teachers, schools, and museums for open-ended art making and tinkering. This is great for teachers with small materials budgets, inspiring for children to think creatively about how … [Read more...]