TinkerLab http://tinkerlab.com for Mini Makers and Inventors Wed, 27 May 2015 19:48:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.5 June TinkerSketch Sketchbook Challenge http://tinkerlab.com/june-tinkersketch-sketchbook-challenge/ http://tinkerlab.com/june-tinkersketch-sketchbook-challenge/#comments Wed, 27 May 2015 18:03:47 +0000 http://tinkerlab.com/?p=19734 After taking a short break from the TinkerSketch Sketchbook Challenge, I’m ready to try another round in the month of June. Are you with me? After the last Sketchbook Challenge, I received so much encouraging feedback. Here’s a sampling of what people like you had to say about their experience: I can’t thank you enough for the challenge. I quit […]

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After taking a short break from the TinkerSketch Sketchbook Challenge, I’m ready to try another round in the month of June.

Are you with me?

TinkerSketch Drawing Challenge

After the last Sketchbook Challenge, I received so much encouraging feedback.

Here’s a sampling of what people like you had to say about their experience:

  • I can’t thank you enough for the challenge. I quit my job as a designer to be a SAHM and even when I love it, I realized I needed to have a project for myself, something that the kids could see me working on, and this has been a perfect “excuse” to set some time aside for myself to do that. I like doing it alongside my oldest, sometimes he is painting with me, sometimes h is just playing – but he sees me being creative, and I fell it’s very important. Thanks again!
  • I’ve really enjoyed the discipline of finding time everyday for bits of creative time. Some of the hardest prompts have been the most interesting. Quite often I’ve started the day with one thought and by the end of the day I’ve arrived at something quite different. It has made me much more observant too.
  • My favorite part was connecting with people around the world and trying to think of creative ways to execute the prompt of the day. Thank you!!!
  • My favorite thing is connecting with others. My second favorite was thinking about each prompt every day. I like to turn ideas around in my mind. Also, I have added drawing prompts for my upper level high school art students as a result of this – with good success. Thank you.
  • Thank you Rachelle. I certainly sketched and painted more than usual thanks to your great prompts.
  • Loved the challenges for ideas to stretch my mind and try new things. I can no longer say, “I can’t draw” because now I know I can! Thanks for encouraging a safe place for a non-artist to get artistic. I also loved the idea that it was just supposed to be a quick project each day. That really took the pressure off.

And this makes me feel great!

I firmly believe that we all have creative ideas inside of us, and that drawing skills are not a requisite for creativity. Challenges such as TinkerSketch celebrate processes of creativity and a spirit of trying new things.

It’s not the product, but the process that’s important.

Here’s an example of my interpretation of the one-minute drawing prompt from the very first TinkerSketch Challenge. I set the timer for one minute, and created one drawing – this set of nine drawings took nine minutes.

For more on how to do this, you can see my post about it here. Fun bonus, day 19 of the upcoming June challenge poses a similar prompt and you can give this a try.

 

One minute drawing on TinkerLab

So here we go… Let’s tackle June gloom (that’s a weather phenomena in Southern California) with our brushes, pencils, and notebooks.

Are you in?

June 2015 Sketchbook Challenge

TinkerSketch Sketchbook Challenge for drawing experimnets. Join Anytime!  This is such a fun drawing challenge. All welcome.

Share it!

If you know anyone who might like to join, feel free to screen shot any of these images, pin it, tweet it, and pass it along.

Print it!

For anyone who wants to print this in Black and White, here’s a list for your convenience:

instagram tinkersketch challenge june 2015

 

Get the Sketchbook Challenge FAQ’s

Next, you’ll want all the details. Read here for more.

Sketchbook Drawing Technique | White Pen on Painter's Tape

Won’t You Join Me on Instagram?

If you’re new to the TinkerSketch Sketchbook Challenge, this challenge takes place on Instagram, so you’ll want to start by following TinkerLab over there.

If you’re not on Instagram, but like to call Facebook home, join our closed Facebook group, Club TinkerLab, where you can also play.

If you want to jump-start your creativity and start your art journal practice, join us for the FREE TinkerSketch Sketchbook Challenge in February 2015 at TinkerLab.com

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You’ve Asked me About the Next Book http://tinkerlab.com/youve-asked-me-about-the-next-book/ http://tinkerlab.com/youve-asked-me-about-the-next-book/#comments Sat, 16 May 2015 00:35:20 +0000 http://tinkerlab.com/?p=19655 I have some big news that I’ve been holding on to for a week or so. Deep breath…I have a new book deal!! The book will be published with Roost Books, the publisher of my first book, TinkerLab: A Hands-on Guide for Little Inventors. I’m thrilled to work again with my very favorite editor, Jenn Urban-Brown […]

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I have some big news that I’ve been holding on to for a week or so. Deep breath…I have a new book deal!!

egg painting

The book will be published with Roost Books, the publisher of my first book, TinkerLab: A Hands-on Guide for Little Inventors. I’m thrilled to work again with my very favorite editor, Jenn Urban-Brown and of course my amazing agent, Erica Silverman. These two women have been the most patient of friends and the best hand-holders as I built up enough energy to write another book.

Writing that first book was a huge learning experience, and one of the things I came to understand is that it’s no small undertaking. I drafted a proposal for book #2 almost as soon as the last one was released, and then I held off for fear that I’d actually have to write the book! Ha.

In any case, I’m now ready for it. My younger daughter will be in a few more hours of school this fall, which should give me more time to flesh it all out.

I can’t say too much about the book just yet, but I’ll share a few photos from my proposal to give you a sense of where it’s heading.

leaves and paint plate and yarn 2

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!

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The Best YouTube Channels to Follow for Creative Kids Activities http://tinkerlab.com/best-creative-kids-youtube-channel-to-follow/ http://tinkerlab.com/best-creative-kids-youtube-channel-to-follow/#comments Fri, 15 May 2015 21:14:55 +0000 http://tinkerlab.com/?p=19632 As you might know, I recently launched a new YouTube channel for TinkerLab: TinkerLab®TV. The idea behind this channel is to share videos that celebrate hands-on making that encourage creative and critical thinking skills. On my channel, you’ll find project ideas that focus on the intersection of art, science, and technology, interviews, answers to your […]

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As you might know, I recently launched a new YouTube channel for TinkerLab: TinkerLab®TV. The idea behind this channel is to share videos that celebrate hands-on making that encourage creative and critical thinking skills. On my channel, you’ll find project ideas that focus on the intersection of art, science, and technology, interviews, answers to your burning creative questions, and more!

Check out my YouTube Welcome Video!

The Best YouTube Channels to Follow for Creative Kids Activities

To celebrate this launch, I’m sharing 8 YouTube Channels to Follow for Creative Kids Activities. While these are not necessarily the hugest channels out there, I’ve chosen these as places that are sure to inspire and that show great promise for growth. Shall we take a look?

TinkerLab Youtube Channel

TinkerLab TV from Rachelle Doorley is my new happy place where you’ll find videos that encourage creative thinking for kids of all ages: art activities, crafts, science projects, and tinkering ideas. The thread that runs through these is experimentation and exploration.

RedTedArt Youtube Channel

Red Ted Art from Maggy Woodley shares all sorts of crafts for kids. Cute, easy, and lots of cardboard roll ideas! So many simple ideas for repurposing natural materials and recyclables.

Babble Dabble Do YouTube Channel

Babble Dabble Do from Ana Dziengel shares imaginative handmade games with links to free printables. Her videos are some of the most gorgeous things I’ve seen on YouTube — ever!

Inner Child Fun Youtube Channel

Inner Child Fun from Valerie Deneen is full of PLAY ideas. Make your own bubble solution, how to make sidewalk chalk paint, and how to make an outdoor obstacle course. LOTS of ideas for summer fun.

Meri Cherry Youtube Channel

Meri Cherry from Meri Cherry is one of the newer pages, and I love everything I’ve seen so far. Meri is an art teacher and mom to two small girls. Her glowing tutu and waterbead videos are fantastic and beautifully shot.

Coffee Cups and Crayons YouTube Channel

Coffee Cups and Crayons from Megan Sheakoski is full of ideas that focus on learning, play, reading, and kindness! She is actually the queen of the kindness challenge, and I look forward to seeing more ideas on how we can make a difference in the world from this channel.

Kids Activities Blog on YouTube

Kids Activities Blog from Holly Homer and Rachel Miller is chock-full of easy projects that keep kids busy. And this active channel will keep you busy, too!

The Artful Parent YouTube Channel

The Artful Parent from Jean Van’t Hul is one of the newer ones on this list, but if you know The Artful Parent, you’ll understand why I’ve included it here. This channel is already sharing hands-on kids’ art activities that are simple and process-based. This is one to keep an eye on.

What an Inspiring List! 8 YouTube Channels to Follow for Creative Kids Ideas and Activities | TinkerLab

What Would You Like to See on TinkerLab TV?

If you have a chance to leave a comment on the video or here on the blog, I’ve love your honest feedback and I’d also like to know what you’d like to see me share on this channel. Thanks!

Want more?

If you enjoyed this post, you might like to subscribe to our weekly newsletter…

TinkerLab Newsletter

In case you blinked and missed it, TinkerLab rounds up all the great stuff on the internets on keeping you and your critters creative and wraps it up for you in a tidy newsletter! (And throws in some secret giveaways for good measure!)  – Yuliya P., San Francisco, CA

Join our community and you’ll learn:

  • How to simplify your life and make more room for creativity
  • How to make hands-on making a part of your everyday life
  • Easy, actionable ways to raise creative kids

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Drawing Prompt | Design Your Own Characters http://tinkerlab.com/drawing-prompt-design-your-own-characters/ http://tinkerlab.com/drawing-prompt-design-your-own-characters/#respond Thu, 07 May 2015 21:13:37 +0000 http://tinkerlab.com/?p=19538 If you’re looking for a fun drawing prompt that encourages imaginative thinking, this Creative Table drawing prompt is sure to please. My four-year old found it enthralling, and soon after completing these, she invented her own prompts for her dad to work on. The idea is simple: Set up a sheet of paper with basic […]

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If you’re looking for a fun drawing prompt that encourages imaginative thinking, this Creative Table drawing prompt is sure to please. My four-year old found it enthralling, and soon after completing these, she invented her own prompts for her dad to work on.

Fun Drawing Prompt Printable: Design your own character

The idea is simple:

Set up a sheet of paper with basic animal or people parts, and then invite your child to fill in the missing parts of the bodies with their own ideas. So, for example, draw bunny ears and a tail, and leave the rest of the image blank. I’ll share some ideas in the photos below.

See This Drawing Prompt in Action:

Fun Drawing Prompt Printable: Design your own character

You can easily draw your own prompts with a few quick strokes of pen.

But if you’d like some that are ready to go, with instructions and ideas to further this exercise in creativity, I pulled together a downloadable PDF – FREE for a limited time if you PROMISE to write a review for this product.

You can print it right away, as many times as you like, and have a creative drawing session in just a few moments. Click here to download a copy today.

TinkerLab Creative Drawing Prompts

What is the Creative Table Series?

 

Setting up a Creative Table Invitation to Create 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 the materials, but keep the project open-ended so that original ideas can flourish.

More Creative Table Ideas

You can read more about the Creative Table Series and grab at least ten more easy and fun ideas here.

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Paper Plate Weaving | Make a Doll Hammock http://tinkerlab.com/paper-plate-weaving-doll-hammock/ http://tinkerlab.com/paper-plate-weaving-doll-hammock/#comments Tue, 28 Apr 2015 06:35:40 +0000 http://tinkerlab.com/?p=19507 Have you ever tried circle weaving on a paper plate? Today, I’ll both share how to make a paper plate weaving, and also how to turn that weaving into a sweet little hammock for a small doll. My girls, ages 4 and 6, adore these hammocks, and my older daughter quickly adopted the one you see […]

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Make a paper plate weaving into a doll hammock | Easy Weaving project for kids

Have you ever tried circle weaving on a paper plate? Today, I’ll both share how to make a paper plate weaving, and also how to turn that weaving into a sweet little hammock for a small doll.

My girls, ages 4 and 6, adore these hammocks, and my older daughter quickly adopted the one you see here. Check out this video of the entire process — I’ll share more a more detailed tutorial below.

Supplies for Paper Plate Weaving

Paper Plate

Yarn

Scissors

Popsicle Stick or Choptick

Kids Weaving Project | Circle Weaving Hammock for Dolls

Paper Plate Weaving Steps

Step 1: Cut notches in around the edges of the plate. This has to be an ODD number.  9 or 11 notches seems to work well.

Step 2: Wrap yarn around the paper plate. See demonstration in the video (above). Tie a knot so this doesn’t come loose.

Kids Weaving Project | Circle Weaving Hammock for Dolls

Step 3: Wrap yarn around the popsicle stick.

Step 4: Tie one end of the yarn to the center of the criss-crossed plate yarn.

Step 5: Weave the popsicle stick yarn over and under the plate yarn. Continue until you are done. You can change colors along the way by tying yarns together.

Kids Weaving Project | Circle Weaving Hammock for Dolls

Step 6: Cut the yarn from the plate

Step 7: Tie the ends of the yarn to each other so that the weaving doesn’t come undone. Add more yarn to create the long, hanging strings. (See an alternative way to tie this off in the video).

Step 8: Add a toy!

Kids Weaving Project | Circle Weaving Hammock for Dolls

Another idea!

My 4-year old noticed that turning one of these creations upside down transformed it into a jelly fish. These ends weren’t tied off, so it’s bound to fall apart eventually, but we could have easily tied them off.

Kids Weaving Project | Circle Weaving Jelly Fish

This project is part of Kids Crafts 101, a collection of crafts that are made from materials you most likely have lying around your home. Things like paper bags, cardboard rolls, string, paper plates, and cardboard. Click here to see all of the ideas in this series.

Kids Crafts 101

Yesterday’s clever idea from Anna at The Imagination Tree is to make colorful Egg Carton Flower Necklaces, and tomorrow, Jeanette of Tiny Rotten Peanuts will share how to make these delightful String Nests.

11156744_10152948700585805_575613773_n jeanette

Join the TinkerLab Community

If you were inspired by this post, you might like to sign up for the weekly TinkerLab newsletter. It’s free and we often send exclusive content and opportunities that are only available to our subscribers.

TinkerLab Newsletter

In case you blinked and missed it, TinkerLab rounds up all the great stuff on the internets on keeping you and your critters creative and wraps it up for you in a tidy newsletter! (And throws in some secret giveaways for good measure!)  – Yuliya P., San Francisco, CA

Join our community and you’ll learn:

  • How to simplify your life and make more room for creativity
  • How to make hands-on making a part of your everyday life
  • Easy, actionable ways to raise creative kids

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Spaghetti Tower Marshmallow Challenge http://tinkerlab.com/spaghetti-tower-marshmallow-challenge/ http://tinkerlab.com/spaghetti-tower-marshmallow-challenge/#comments Mon, 27 Apr 2015 23:41:31 +0000 http://tinkerlab.com/?p=19488 Do you know about the Spaghetti Tower Marshmallow Challenge? This is one of those legendary team-building challenges that I’ve been hearing about for ages and have never tried. It encourages the design mindset and supports basic engineering principles.  The basic idea is that a team is given a handful of supplies to work with — […]

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Spaghetti Marshmallow Challenge

Do you know about the Spaghetti Tower Marshmallow Challenge?

This is one of those legendary team-building challenges that I’ve been hearing about for ages and have never tried.

It encourages the design mindset and supports basic engineering principles. 

The basic idea is that a team is given a handful of supplies to work with — spaghetti, tape, and string — and given 18 minutes to build the tallest possible tower that can SUPPORT a marshmallow.

And the point of it? The team will practice the design process that includes thinking, doing, prototyping, and iteration. This last point, iteration, may be the most important. Watch the video at the end of this post for more on that.

Oh, and what group historically performs the BEST in the marshmallow challenge? The answer to that question is also in the video, and you will LOVE it.

Spaghetti Tower Supplies:

Each team gets the same set of supplies…

20 sticks of dry spaghetti

one yard of string

one yard of tape

one marshmallow

The objective

To build the tallest tower possible in 18 minutes that will support the marshmallow.

My two daughters, ages 4 and 6, and I set our timer for 18 minutes, and started to build. It was exciting, frustrating (spaghetti is nimble and brittle!), and fun. My little one lost interest quickly, but my older daughter stuck with it, pushing me with her novel ideas and keeping me going, right up until the timer ran out.

And, go!

Spaghetti Marshmallow STEM Challenge

We talked about how triangles build strong structures, so we started there. Our original idea was to build two structures – one that could support the other, to make our tower twice as tall.

As we got towards the end of our time, the bottom towner couldn’t support the weight of the second tower, so we chose just one of the towers to use as a support for the marshmallow. In the end, we measured our marshmallow’s height and it clocked in at 10.5 inches. Not earth-shattering, but at least we had a supporting structure!

I love my daughter’s idea to suspend the marshmallow from a string…

Spaghetti Marshmallow STEM Challenge

What we learned?

  • Triangles are good shapes for these structures
  • We probably should have built the second tower directly on the first one, rather than wait to add it at the end
  • We worked well together
  • Prototyping and iteration are important to the process
  • This challenge could lose a 4-year old’s attention ;)

More on the Marshmallow Tower Challenge

You’ll want to watch this video of Tom Wujec’s TED talk on the Marshmallow Challenge.

Marshmallow Challenge Home Page

What’s next?

I would love to try this out with our Girl Scout troop or with my older daughter’s friends. After watching Wujec’s video (above), I’m eager to see this in action with a group of young children.

More Pasta! Pasta Art Projects for Kids

Pasta art projects

Macaroni Challenge

Join the Macaroni Challenge!

Experiment with pasta, make your own pasta art project, or try one of the Marshmallow Challenge from this post (or a project from those linked above). Post a picture in one or both of these two places ::

1. The Rockin’ Art for Kids Facebook Page

2.  Instagram with the hashtag #TheMacaroniChallenge 

The challenge ends on May 10th, 2015.

Win a Prize!

Everyone who joins us in the challenge will be entered in an amazing Rockin’ Art Moms Gift Basket giveaway. The winner will be selected at random from the entries and announced on Instagram and the Rockin’ Art for Kids Facebook page on Sunday May 10th, 2015.

Prize basket giveaway will include books from the Rockin’ Art Moms ::

The Artful Parent and The Artful Year from The Artful Parent // Playful from Mer Mag //Tinkerlab from Tinkerlab //150 Screen Free Activities for Kids from Fun at Home with Kids // Happy Handmade (ebook) from MollyMoo

Join the TinkerLab Community

If you were inspired by this post, you might like to sign up for the weekly TinkerLab newsletter. It’s free and we often send exclusive content and opportunities that are only available to our subscribers.

TinkerLab Newsletter

In case you blinked and missed it, TinkerLab rounds up all the great stuff on the internets on keeping you and your critters creative and wraps it up for you in a tidy newsletter! (And throws in some secret giveaways for good measure!)  – Yuliya P., San Francisco, CA

Join our community and you’ll learn:

  • How to simplify your life and make more room for creativity
  • How to make hands-on making a part of your everyday life
  • Easy, actionable ways to raise creative kids

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The Art of Tinkering – Book Review http://tinkerlab.com/art-of-tinkering-book-review/ http://tinkerlab.com/art-of-tinkering-book-review/#comments Tue, 21 Apr 2015 04:11:43 +0000 http://tinkerlab.com/?p=19449 We were sent a free copy of The Art of Tinkering to review, but all ideas shared here are our own. This post contains Amazon affiliate links. Last year I had the good fortune of getting my hands on a copy of The Art of Tinkering by Karen Wilkinson and Mike Petrich. Karen and I went to the […]

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Art of Tinkering - Book Review

We were sent a free copy of The Art of Tinkering to review, but all ideas shared here are our own. This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Last year I had the good fortune of getting my hands on a copy of The Art of Tinkering by Karen Wilkinson and Mike Petrich. Karen and I went to the same grad school (different years), and she invited me to join her in a virtual hangout last year, Engaging Children with Making and Tinkering, but it wasn’t until last month that we finally met. And I was lucky enough to have her and Mike sign my book!

Art of Tinkering - Book Review

Karen and Mike work at The Tinkering Studio at San Francisco’s Exploratorium, where Karen is The Tinkering Studio’s Director and Mike is the Director of the Making Collaborative. In this capacity the two of them interact with countless artists, designers, and tinkerers who invent, build, and construct wondrous things.

The book includes behind-the-scenes peeks at the creations and inventions of 150+ makers who work at the intersection of art, science, and technology.

It’s laid out beautifully and artistically, just as you would hope a book like this would be. Each turn of the page presents the eyes with a feast of tools, textures, and materials that make you want to reach right into the book and play.

The project ideas are introduced with examples of artworks that exemplify the technique, and then followed up with a how-to, so you’re not left wondering how on earth you can tap into what seems like magic.

Take a look:

Art of Tinkering Inside Pages - Book Review

Putting it into Practice

While this book caters to an adults audience, grownups with kids in their lives will find plenty of useful takeaways. So, I sat down with my older daughter (then 5-years old) and after MUCH looking she was most inspired by the toothpick sculptures of artist Scott Weaver.

Weaver creates elaborate sculptures made of thousands of toothpicks, and you can learn more about him on the Exploratorium website.

We learned that his mega-artwork, Rolling Through the Bay (see below), a model of San Francisco itself, is made up of roughly 100,000 toothpicks, the only glue that’s holding it together is Elmer’s, and it took the artist about 3,000 hours to make…over a period of 34 years!

One more thing. Do you see those tiny balls at the bottom of the sculpture? To give you a sense of scale, those are ping pong balls that run through pathways in the sculpture.

Art of Tinkering Toothpick Sculpture - Book Review

Fully inspired, we pulled out our collection of colorful toothpicks, our trusty low-heat glue gun (neither of us had the patience for Elmer’s on this day), and started to build. My daughter was thinking more geometrically, and we started gluing squares together, which soon turned into pyramids.

Toothpick Sculpture - Art of Tinkering

And then, what began as a series of squares and triangles somehow turned into a crown! My daughter added some ribbon to tie it around her head, and voila!

Toothpick Sculpture - Art of Tinkering

The toothpick sculpture is just one idea of many that has sparked dialogue and ideas in our home. The marble run page is wild and wonderful, and will give you a feeling for the Exploratorium itself.

Every few pages highlights a different tinkerer and his or her craft, along with plenty of inspiration and ideas for diving right in, material lists included! It’s not a how-to book in the traditional sense, but for anyone who likes to borrow ideas from the makers themselves, this book is a treasure and will not disappoint!

Order The Art of Tinkering

The Art of Tinkering on Amazon

More about the Exploratorium

Visit the Exploratorium

See our review of the book Exploralab, 150+ Ways to Investigate the Amazing Science All Around You

I was fortunate to hold my book launch party at Helix, a temporary outpost of The Exploratorium in Los Altos, CA.

The Exploratorium’s Education page has a host of valuable resources for home tinkerers and educators.

You can search part of their site for videos that explore all sorts of science + art phenomena.

Recommended Supplies

Our favorite low-heat glue gun

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How to Paint Terracotta Pots with Kids http://tinkerlab.com/paint-terracotta-pots-with-kids/ http://tinkerlab.com/paint-terracotta-pots-with-kids/#comments Tue, 14 Apr 2015 11:00:37 +0000 http://tinkerlab.com/?p=19275 Hand Paint Terracotta Pots Today I’m sharing how to hand paint a terra cotta flower pots with kids. While the project seems somewhat straightforward, I’ll share my favorite tips for choosing paint that will stick well and how to set up the work table for success. When we were in Los Angeles last week, my mom […]

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How to paint a planter with kids

Hand Paint Terracotta Pots

Today I’m sharing how to hand paint a terra cotta flower pots with kids. While the project seems somewhat straightforward, I’ll share my favorite tips for choosing paint that will stick well and how to set up the work table for success.

When we were in Los Angeles last week, my mom came up with a fun project that included planting succulents in tea cups (along with the use of a power tool), and my kids were smitten.

Whilst prepping for a Girl Scout meeting, my older daughter thought we should recreate a simpler version of that project with her troop. And, voila, this project was born!

A Trip to the Nursery

First things first, we took a trip to the nursery to collect a flat of succulents.

Succulent means “juice,” and these fleshy plants retain enough moisture that they can go long stretches with very little water, the perfect plant for our drought-ridden community.

Shopping for succulents at the garden center

We got distracted by the bubbling fountains and gorgeous cacti, but then refocussed and left the store with what we came for: succulents and terra cotta pots like these (affiliate).

Back in the Studio

With my littlest helping out, we set up a painting area that looks like this:

how to paint a flower pot set up

Painting Tips

Use acrylic paint, a plastic-based paint that won’t wash out of clothes, but also won’t flake off of a flower pot.

Cover your work area since acrylic paint is almost impossible to remove from some surfaces.

Place a bowl of water (filled half way) and a towel nearby (to absorb water)

Set up the terra cotta pot upside down to make it more stable

Acrylic paint will wash off skin and shouldn’t stain.

Invite your child to paint!

How to paint a flower pot

The paint will dry quickly unless it’s thickly painted on. Ours was dry in under 20 minutes.

Fill with Soil

I worked with the nursery staff to come up with a good solution for succulent soil since they didn’t sell soil for that specific purpose. We settled on a mixture of potting soil and pumice rocks. The pumice (affiliate) aerates the soil and help keep the water running through. Important since succulents done want to sit in a lot of soggy soil.

Watch the video

Watch the video to see how it all came together!

This project was inspired in part by a new book (and #1 New Release) called The Garden Classroom (affiliate), a fantastic resource for families who want to use their gardens as a teaching and enrichment tool.

See my review of The Garden Classroom here.

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The Garden Classroom – Book Review http://tinkerlab.com/the-garden-classroom-book-review/ http://tinkerlab.com/the-garden-classroom-book-review/#comments Tue, 14 Apr 2015 05:08:20 +0000 http://tinkerlab.com/?p=19258 The Garden Classroom My publisher, Roost Books, just released the most gorgeous book for families who are interested in teaching through the garden. In The Garden Classroom (affiliate), author Cathy James introduces us to great ideas for integrating math, play, imagination, reading, writing, science, and art into the natural environment. Hint: With Earth Day right around the corner, […]

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the Garden Classroom, an amazing book for families who want to spend time outdoors

The Garden Classroom

My publisher, Roost Books, just released the most gorgeous book for families who are interested in teaching through the garden. In The Garden Classroom (affiliate), author Cathy James introduces us to great ideas for integrating math, play, imagination, reading, writing, science, and art into the natural environment.

Hint: With Earth Day right around the corner, this book would be the ideal gift for the garden-loving family.

collage of garden classroom book

To make this post match the spirit of the book, I thought I would carry the book out to my garden and snap a few shots – sort of appropriate, right?

You can see one of our newest garden additions in the top left photos (above and below) – a succulent in a tea cup that we made with my mom. I’ll share a tutorial soon (it involves a power tool, so yeah, pretty fun). While my mom had it all mapped out, I loved spotting this same project in Cathy’s book as a Quirky Ecoplanter. 

garden classroom book

Whether or not you have a green thumb (or fingers, as Cathy says in the UK), this book will meet you where you are. I love my garden, but given my inclination to maximize my studio time, my garden is often ignored. Plus we’re in the middle of a looooong drought, so watering isn’t a big goal at the moment.

You may notice that my lavender is doing nicely. It gets just a smidge of water and boom, lavender. So beautiful.

Okay, back to the book. Let’s take a look inside (please excuse the rose – they only look this good for a few days and I’m kind of excited about it)…

The Garden Classroom by Cathy James

The book culminates with some wonderful handout-style activities that can be written on in the book or photocopied for further garden enrichment.

One page invites children to record all the produce in the garden

Another page invites children to create a snapshot of the garden by recording things like the weather, what they heard, and if they spotted any animals.

As I flipped through the pages, my 4-year old daughter kept making me stop so she could take longer looks. She already let me know that she wants to grow her own mini meadow (yes, I do too!) and she is already collecting tiny pinecones and other objects to place in a cement stepping stone.

#1 New Release!

The book has just been out for a few days and it’s already the #1 New Release in the Parent Participation in Education category on Amazon.

If you love to spend time outdoors and want to find ways to integrate the garden and nature with play and a child’s natural curiosities, this book is designed to help you get there, gracefully. I can’t recommend it enough!

Buy The Garden Classroom

The Garden Classroom, Amazon. It’s in stock, Prime eligible, and currently on sale for 20% off list.

Make a Painted Flower Pot

How to paint a planter with kids

Join me in the next post and I’ll share how to make a painted plant pots to hold a succulent (inspiration taken from The Garden Classroom).

Painted Flower Pot from the Garden Classroom book

I led this with my kids as well as our Daisy troop of 20 girls, and I’ll share lots of tips for setting up a successful painting sessions at home or school.

Catch you next time!

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How to Make a Paper Clip Tape Necklace http://tinkerlab.com/how-to-make-a-paper-clip-tape-necklace/ http://tinkerlab.com/how-to-make-a-paper-clip-tape-necklace/#respond Wed, 08 Apr 2015 05:29:48 +0000 http://tinkerlab.com/?p=19210 This project to make a paper clip tape necklace or bracelet was inspired by a conversation I had with my agent, Erica, when we were chatting about making things with office supplies. It’s been a few years since I worked in an office, but oh, how I loved restocking my desk with post-its, paper clips, […]

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This project to make a paper clip tape necklace or bracelet was inspired by a conversation I had with my agent, Erica, when we were chatting about making things with office supplies. It’s been a few years since I worked in an office, but oh, how I loved restocking my desk with post-its, paper clips, and fresh pencils. Are you with me?

There’s actually a book on this topic, Extreme Office Crafts (affiliate), which I haven’t had a chance to check out. Wouldn’t that have been a fun book to write?! It sounds like there are even a few projects in that book that we’ve tried, like this sticky note mosaic.

how to make paper clip necklace

Why Paper Clip Jewelry is Awesome

What I love about this craft is that it’s low cost, you can make it with supplies you probably already have on hand, and it’s open-ended (variations provided at the end of this post).

Who is this for?

While I didn’t grab photos of it, my kids, ages 4 and 6 have done this multiple times. It’s great for fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. It would be a successful summer camp craft and it’s perfect for a lazy afternoon…for kids or adults.

Supplies for Paper Clip and Tape Necklace

  • Paper Clips
  • Washi Tape
  • Scissors

So easy, right?

I like to use washi tape because it’s so stinkin’ beautiful and easy to find in a variety of compelling colors and patterns. I collect our tape from local craft stores and online at places like Amazon (affiliate).

how to make paper clip necklace

Creative Invitation

As you can see from the photos, I set this up as an Invitation to Create. For more about invitations to create, you will love these three posts that are part of the Creative Table Project, a fun TinkerLab project that’s been going strong since 2012!

An Invitation to Create with Tape and Paper

An Invitation to Create with Glue and Sand

An Invitation to Create with Stickers and Paper Frame

How to Make Paper Clip and Tape Necklace

There are a couple ways to do this:

  • Connect a long string of paper clips together and then wrap each paper clip with tape.
  • Or, wrap a paper clip with tape and then connect it with another paper clip. Repeat the process of wrapping and connecting until you reach the desired length.

Watch my newest video to see how it’s done…

Variations

String up multiple necklaces of varying lengths and attach them to make a bulky necklace.

Use just one color of washi tape

Use rainbow colors of tape

Invent a new way to combine paper clips and tape.

Add one more material to the mix and invent a new kind of jewelry.

More Videos like this?

Subscribe to my YouTube Channel to see more videos like this one.

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