Time Travel with Popcorn Breakfast Cereal

How to make breakfast popcorn. via Tinkerlab

"The laziest man I ever met put popcorn in his pancakes so they would turn over by themselves." W.C. Fields What can get children excited to try something new? In my home it's always food and grand experiments, and this project includes both. My kids, ages 2 and 4, were enthralled from start to finish. Maybe it will be the same for you?! This project encourages … [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...]

Homemade {Easy, Low-cost} Light Table

Easy low cost homemade light box

My 2-year old came down with a fever last week and we've been more or less house-bound. It's no fun at all, but it's made me pretty resourceful around the house. One big win was pulling out our homemade light table. My 4-year old, who used to love this box, seems to have grown out of it (sniff -- maybe it's a phase?), but my 2-year old was right at home sorting and designing … [Read more...]

Looking at Art with Kids: Norman Rockwell

How to look at art with kids :: Tinkerlab.com

Have you spent any time looking at art -- in a MUSEUM -- with your child? Even though I'm an arts educator who spent years leading gallery tours and training docents, we don't spend as much time in art museums as I'd like because, you know, my children look at everything as a potential playground. I have an arsenal of gallery games and tricks up my sleeve, but they're no match … [Read more...]

We only think when confronted with a problem

we only think when confronted with a problem :: tinkerlab.com

"We only think when confronted with a problem." -- John Dewey, American philosopher and educator What do you think about this quote by John Dewey?  I spend a lot of my time considering how to set the stage for open-ended discovery as a way to foster a child's confidence and independence. If you caught my last post, Organizing a Self-serve Creativity Zone, you'll see a … [Read more...]