Seven Tips for Setting up an Impromptu Garden Art Studio

Bundt Cake

The other day we had the most amazing weather, so we set up a garden art studio... When I was in college I always loved those teachers who took their classes outside on a nice day. So why not recreate that magic with our kids? Did you know that most children don't spend enough time outdoors? Why Making Art Outdoors is so Awesome Being outside is … [Read more...]

Inspired by Nature: Four Easy Steps to Follow a Child’s Interests

Inspired by Nature: wasp nest and bumble bee art

Do you have bees, birds, squirrels, deer, possum, or other creatures milling around your neighborhood? It's been wild animal week here at Casa Tinkerlab. We had two big discoveries at our house: a wasp nest in the eaves by our back door and a bird nest tucked into a hole along the siding of our house. Sad story, we found the bird nest on the ground today, and all of the … [Read more...]

Creative Table: A Sticker Composition with Frames

Sticker composition 4

Setting up Creative Invitations like this is one of my very favorite ways to encourage children to explore new ideas and develop a visual language. Here's the basic premise: Clear the table of anything that won't be used in the invitation Artfully arrange the materials to provoke ideas Limit the choice of materials to just a few items Provide clues about how to use … [Read more...]

Make a Simple Room Fort

How to build a simple kids fort with tape and a sheet

Hello Tinker-firends! I've been busy with some family business and book edits that are taking a toll on my late-night blogging time. How are you doing? Until I get a better handle on these details I thought I'd share some quick snippets of tinkering inspiration from our days at home and out-and-about. Today we have a down-and-dirty favorite from my husband, our resident … [Read more...]

Paint with glue, and how to make your own colored glue

How to color and paint with glue | Tinkerlab

My 2-year old is going through the phase of wanting to squeeze all the life out of any tube of paint, toothpaste, or glue that crosses her path. Have you had, or do you have, a child in that phase as well? I remember this phase well. When my older daughter hit it, I made up a big batch of flour + water paint so that she could squeeze all she wanted. It was an economical … [Read more...]

30 Valentine Activities for Kids

Kids Valentines Ideas | Valentine Play dough Station

This mother-lode of Valentine activities for kids (toddlers, preschoolers, and any other hands-on kids) covers everything from cards to treats. With 30 Valentine activities for kids here, this should keep us all busy until St. Patrick's Day! If you're so inclined to roll up your sleeves and make something for Valentine's Day, here are thirty Valentine activities for kids to … [Read more...]

Snow Cream

Snow Cream with Eggnog. So easy and delicious.

Snow Cream! Have you heard of it? My friend Jen at Paint Cut Paste has been talking my ear off about her favorite wintery dessert, a combination of snow and sweetened condensed milk, and I've been eager to try it for ages. And then there's this gorgeous children's book, Maple Syrup Season, that has made eating syrup off the ground my 4-year old's winter-time fantasy. At … [Read more...]

Easy String Art Experiments for Kids

Easy String Art Painting with Kids

"The painting has a life of its own. I try to let it come through." -- Jackson Pollack, American Painter String Art Creating string art is a fun mix of art, creative thinking, and experimentation all rolled into one open-ended package. If you've been following this blog for a while you'll know that when it comes to children's projects, my focus lies on the experience of … [Read more...]

Marbled Paper Suminagashi

suminagashi prints

Are you looking for a last-minute hands-on gift, or maybe an idea to bookmark for a cold winter day? I've been saving this Suminagashi kit for a quiet morning and it was a true winner with both my 2-year old and 4-year old. The process of marbleizing paper encourages creative thinking, open-ended exploration with ink and water, and experimentation. But first, maybe … [Read more...]

Snowflake Collage Activity for Kids

snowflake collage activity for kids

Are you looking for a meaningful process-oriented art project to do with the kids this winter? I have an answer for you with this snowflake collage activity for kids. Have you made snowflakes with your child? Once you get started, making snowflakes can be completely addicting. Last year, when my older daughter was three, we made PILES of snowflakes and this year she … [Read more...]