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...]

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...]

DIY Pumpkin Pie Playdough

fall playdough

Have you ever made your own play dough? Im a fan of store bought dough (it's so easy!), but making your own is a money saver and we can make TONS of it in minutes. And with the simple addition of a little pumpkin pie spice, our dough smells heavenly...just like pumpkin pie!   Inspired by The Artful Parent's Autumn Arts and Crafts book, The Artful Year: Autumn, we … [Read more...]

DIY Paper Tape Roads

paper tape road kids play

Sometimes we have to push our kids outside their comfort zones to help them take on new perspectives, face and overcome challenges, and confront their biases. I have a growing collection of diecast vehicles that I keep in a nice, inviting basket. And do you know who plays with these cars, trucks, and airplanes? Boys who visit us. Despite my best efforts at diversifying my … [Read more...]

Imaginative Play: Dress-up

dress up 2.036

Do your kids love dressing up? Mine do, and not a day goes by that they're not in a bumblebee costume, waving around magic wands, or adorned with tiaras.   I should say that I fall into the camp of allowing my kids to dress themselves, which does wonders for fueling their creativity, imagination, and independence. And it also means I have to be okay with the possibility … [Read more...]

Easy Art: Air Dry Clay

creative kids clay

Material: Air Dry Clay Have you ever noticed that kids don't need a lot of bells and whistles and fancy stuff to get creative, have fun, and feel on top of the world? Yesterday we foraged some cardboard boxes from a neighbor's move because 4-year old Nutmeg has a vision of building a space station. Today I'd like to introduce you to ONE material that helps build creative … [Read more...]

Circular Patterns + Creative Thinking

paper plate mandala

Despite the thousands of ideas you've seen floating around the internet, do you ever feel like you're at a loss for an art activity that your kids will enjoy, while also challenging them to think? Children get excited about solving real problems, and the problem in this project lies in figuring out how to circumnavigate a paper plate with color and patterns. While … [Read more...]

Finding Flow: A Journey Toward Happiness

flow.017.017

Have you ever been so deeply involved in something that you lost all sense of time? How did you feel in this moment? It happens to me all the time, often when I'm writing blog posts like this late into the night. Oops, it's 2 am. How did it get to be so late? Or when I'm building or painting something that requires my focus and attention. Maybe it happens to you when … [Read more...]

Word Drawing Game

drawing game preschool

Do your kids like to draw? Do you ever play drawing games? The other day my kids and I were cleaning out the garage. Well, really it was me while they loitered, moved things around, and made a lot of noise. My 3-year old found an old, but never-before-opened game of a Cranium. She adores opening new packages and ran into the house for a pair of scissors. Once the box … [Read more...]