TinkerLab http://tinkerlab.com for Mini Makers and Inventors Tue, 28 Apr 2015 07:56:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.4 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

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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 3rd, 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 3rd, 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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The New Playroom, an Ebook http://tinkerlab.com/the-new-playroom-an-ebook/ http://tinkerlab.com/the-new-playroom-an-ebook/#comments Thu, 02 Apr 2015 11:00:56 +0000 http://tinkerlab.com/?p=19188 The New Playroom, an Ebook Guide You may remember that I interviewed Megan Schiller not too long ago for an inside look into her inspiring, light-filled tinkering space. If you’re thinking about setting up a creativity zone in your home, this picture-heavy interview will not disappoint! You can see the entire series here. Here’s Megan […]

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The Art Pantry ebook, The New Playroom

The New Playroom, an Ebook Guide

You may remember that I interviewed Megan Schiller not too long ago for an inside look into her inspiring, light-filled tinkering space. If you’re thinking about setting up a creativity zone in your home, this picture-heavy interview will not disappoint! You can see the entire series here.

Here’s Megan and her children inside their converted sun porch art studio:

Art Pantry Megan and kids

Well, today is an exciting day for Megan as she’s launching her new ebook, The New Playroom: A Step-by-step Guide on how to set up a home art space for kids.

I got a sneak look at the ebook, and it’s full of lovely ideas for turning your kitchen, dining room table, or playroom into an art space that gets kids excited to create.

Not only is Megan a creative mom to two kiddos, but she also has a background in early childhood education and is the former owner of a thriving kids’ art studio in Mill Valley, CA. For the past year she’s been consulting clients who want to transform their home spaces into art-making havens, and now we all get to peek into her process.

Let’s look inside…

The Art Pantry ebook, The New Playroom

The Art Pantry ebook, The New Playroom
The Art Pantry ebook, The New PlayroomThe Art Pantry ebook, The New Playroom The Art Pantry ebook, The New Playroom

What’s Inside This Guide?

  • 34 pages of step-by-step instructions on how to set up an art space for kids
  • Tips on measuring, layout, organizing and more!
  • Inspiring photos and stories
  • Essential art supply list plus extra goodies
  • DIY projects
  • Tips on exploring art supplies with kids and keeping them engaged over time
  • Additional resources for shopping, design, and art activities
  • Free bonus guide (PDF) Invitations To Create: 30 days of easy art prompts

Learn More About This Ebook

For a short time, readers who purchase the ebook will also receive a bonus guide, Invitations To Create: 30 days of easy art prompts. 

Grab your copy the book here: The New Playroom (affiliate)

 

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Tinkering with Club TinkerLab http://tinkerlab.com/tinkering-club-tinkerlab/ http://tinkerlab.com/tinkering-club-tinkerlab/#comments Wed, 01 Apr 2015 02:07:30 +0000 http://tinkerlab.com/?p=19170 When my book launched in June 2014, I quietly started a Facebook group called Club TinkerLab, an online tinkering club for people who are interested in making, inventing, tinkering, crafting, and engineering with kids.  Since June, I’ve shared this tinkering club with my newsletter subscribers and Facebook friends, and today I wanted to give this special club […]

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Club TinkerLab, a closed Facebook group to discuss inventing, tinkering, educating, and engineering for kids.

When my book launched in June 2014, I quietly started a Facebook group called Club TinkerLab, an online tinkering club for people who are interested in making, inventing, tinkering, crafting, and engineering with kids. 

Since June, I’ve shared this tinkering club with my newsletter subscribers and Facebook friends, and today I wanted to give this special club a shout-out on my blog.

Join Club TinkerLab - an online tinkering club for people who are interested in making, inventing, tinkering, educating, and engineering with kids.

What is Club TinkerLab?

Club TinkerLab is a closed Facebook group where making, inventing, educating, and engineering intersect. It’s essentially a forum, in the shape of Facebook group.

It’s a place to share STEM + STEAM inspiration, lesson plans, home-based projects, or creative inspiration. We have close to 2000 members who come from all walks of life. The group is friendly and supportive, and will often save the day when you hit a tinkering wall.

What kind of ideas are shared?

Some recent posts include

Rube Goldberg-style chain reactions

Different ideas for upcycling household materials

a STEAM workshops for teachers

How to grow crystals

Straw rockets

If you spend a bit of time on Facebook, and would like to join a community that shares ideas like this, it should feel like home to you!

Who is Club TinkerLab for?

Parents, teachers, homeschoolers, librarians, grandparents, and anyone interested in setting the stage for creativity for children.

Who are the Moderators?

Anne from Left Brain Craft Brain

Ana from Babble Dabble Do

Melissa from The Chocolate Muffin Tree

MaryAnn from Mama Smiles – Joyful Parenting 

Marnie from Carrots are Orange

Megan from The Art Pantry

Dayna from Lemon Lime Adventures

Meri from Meri Cherry Blog

What is Tinkering?

I bet you’ll enjoy this post!

Join Club TinkerLab: an online tinkering club for people who are interested in making, inventing, tinkering, educating, and engineering with kids.

Where can I find Club TinkerLab?

Here’s a link! Simply ask to join the group and you’ll be accepted shortly.

Want more? You might also enjoy our series of posts that share an inside look into Tinkering Spaces.

 

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How to Grow Aragonite Crystals http://tinkerlab.com/how-to-grow-aragonite-crystals/ http://tinkerlab.com/how-to-grow-aragonite-crystals/#comments Tue, 31 Mar 2015 20:24:38 +0000 http://tinkerlab.com/?p=19141 We do so many cool projects that never make it onto TinkerLab. I wish you could see the stacks and stacks of photo files that are just waiting to be shared here. I am seriously in need of an assistant (who’s over six years old)! A little over two years ago we grew a batch […]

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We do so many cool projects that never make it onto TinkerLab. I wish you could see the stacks and stacks of photo files that are just waiting to be shared here. I am seriously in need of an assistant (who’s over six years old)!

A little over two years ago we grew a batch of amazing aragonite crystals. Have you heard of these? They are incredible: easy to grow, not expensive, and they offer up a cool lesson in geology and chemistry.

After digging around in our science cabinet the other day, I found the old box of dolomite rocks, which are the base for these aragonite crystals. And there were still about 20 rocks in there, just waiting to grow crystals on them!

Without further ado, I’d like to introduce you to aragonite crystals…

How to grow easy aragonite crystals

Ingredients for Aragonite Crystals

You will only need two ingredients for this project:

Dolomite Rocks

Distilled White Vinegar

Simple, right? (Honestly, I love simple)

Grow White Aragonite Crystals

Where Can I find Dolomite Rocks?

I found the BEST source for these rocks at Educational Innovations. They’re priced fairly – you can buy 25 rock samples for just $8.95, which is AWESOME if you’re a classroom teacher or interested in gifting these to a bunch of friends as we have. I’m not affiliated with this company, just a happy customer. I’ve done a thorough search and there aren’t a lot of places to find these (easily).

Dolomite rock and aragonite crystal

How to make Aragonite Crystals

I poured the rocks into a bowl and invited each child to pick their favorite one. Flat, tall, fat – sooo many choices!

Once the rock was selected, we placed it in a small glass mason jar. We used 4 oz. mason jars by Bell (affiliate), and I find ALL sorts of uses for these in our art and science projects. We store homemade paint in them, turn them into artistic tea light holders, and use their larger cousins for our new solar lights.

You can put it in any glass or ceramic container. Because I’m hugely in favor of putting kids to work (i.e. empowering them), I then poured the vinegar into a small pitcher and invited the kids to p0ur the vinegar into the jar.

The trick is to pour just enough vinegar into the jar so as not to cover up the top of the rock. Do you see that dry spot in the bottom right picture?

How to grow (EASY) Dolomite Crystals

After five days, our crystals looked like this:

Aragonite Crystals after 5 days

About half of the vinegar had evaporated, some crystals formed along the edges of the jar, and a small mound of crystals were growing on top of our rock.

The crystals are fully formed after about two weeks, once all of the vinegar evaporates. To speed up evaporation, place the jar in a sunny window.

What is aragonite?

The rocks we used for this crystal-growing experience are magnesium-rich dolomite. Dolomite is an evaporative sedimentary rock that’s made up of sediments and minerals. This unique variety of dolomite, found in an ancient lagoon that was surrounded by a coral reef millions of years ago, will grow white aragonite crystals when it’s placed in distilled white vinegar.

Aragonite is carbonate mineral that usually forms in oceans and warm, wet environments such as caves and hot springs. will turn into calcite over time. You can read up on aragonite here.

How to Grow Easy Aragonite Crystals | TinkerLab

How to Grow Aragonite Crystals

Place your rock in a jar. You can wash the sediment off of it first, or place it in the jar as it is.

Pour distilled white vinegar over the rock until the top of the rock barely pokes above the surface of the vinegar.

Place the jar on a shelf where it will be undisturbed but easily observed, preferably a warm, sunny spot that will encourage evaporation.

Small crystals will begin to appear within a day or so.

Observe the dolomite daily to track the progress of your crystals.

Leave the jar undisturbed until ALL the vinegar evaporates and the rock is COMPLETELY DRY, which could take one to two weeks. If you move the jar before this point, the crystals may fall apart. If that happens, just place it back on the shelf and begin again.

Once dry, the dolomite and crystals can be picked up and examined. They will be hard, but a bit fragile.

STEAM Activities | Teabag Hot Air Balloon

For more ideas that circle around the theme: GROW, I’m joining a creative group of engineers, scientists, educators, and artists to share projects that circle around STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) ideas. This week’s theme is GROW, and you can see the other grow-related ideas here:

DIY Crystal Landscapes | Babble Dabble Do

10 Ways to Use Tinker Trays | Meri Cherry

Transforming Ninja Stars | What Do We Do All Day?

14 Activities with Balloons | All For The Boys

Biology of Yogurt | Left Brain Craft Brain

| Lemon Lime Adventures

| Frugal Fun for Boys

STEAM on Pinterest

You might also enjoy following my STEAM + STEM Activities board on Pinterest for more ideas like this.

Join the TinkerLab Community

If you enjoyed 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.

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:

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How to Make Natural Dye for Painting and Eggs http://tinkerlab.com/how-to-make-natural-dye-for-painting-and-eggs/ http://tinkerlab.com/how-to-make-natural-dye-for-painting-and-eggs/#comments Sat, 28 Mar 2015 06:49:41 +0000 http://tinkerlab.com/?p=19113   Today I’m sharing my favorite recipes for making homemade DIY all-natural dye for painting and egg decorating. While these dyes take a bit more time than their store-bought cousins, they are easy to make and definitely worth a try. While I have nothing against store-bought egg dye, we’ve been making our own egg dyes […]

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Today I’m sharing my favorite recipes for making homemade DIY all-natural dye for painting and egg decorating. While these dyes take a bit more time than their store-bought cousins, they are easy to make and definitely worth a try.

Eggs colored with natural dye

While I have nothing against store-bought egg dye, we’ve been making our own egg dyes for a few years and there are a few benefits to making natural dye:

You’ll have the satisfaction of making your own art material

The dyes are 100% non-toxic and are, therefore, food-safe. You can eat those eggs with peace of mind.

Making your own dye teaches children to be resourceful. You don’t have to go to the art store for paint when you can make your own from things you have in the fridge.

How to cook natural dye for Easter Eggs and Painting

I’ll share five recipes below, and will refer to these as “egg dyes,” but understand that these can also be used as watercolor paint. We’ll add a bit of vinegar to each recipe. Vinegar will act as a mordant, which means that it will help the dye stick to the paper or egg, and keep it from fading quickly.

How to cook natural dye for Easter Eggs and Painting

How to make natural dyes from beets, red cabbage, turmeric, blueberries, and annatto seeds.

Red Egg Dye

3 Beets, roughly chopped

4 cups of water

2 tablespoons vinegar

Bring ingredients to a boil, and then simmer for 20 minutes. Strain the dye into a container.

Bright Yellow Egg Dye

2 tablespoons Turmeric (spice commonly used in Indian cooking)

3 cups of Water

2 tablespoons Vinegar

Bring ingredients to a boil, and then simmer for 15 minutes. Pour the dye into a container. This dye will be a bit pasty, as it retains some of the thickness of the spice.

Light Yellow Egg Dye

3 tablespoons Annatto seeds (I find these at Penzey’s)

3 cups of Water

2 tablespoons Vinegar

Bring ingredients to a boil, and then simmer for 15 minutes. Strain the dye into a container.

Note: Annatto seeds temporarily stained my pot. It did not change the flavor of food cooked in the pot and the stain cleaned away after four cleanings. 

Lavender Egg Dye

1 cup Blueberries

6 cups of Water

2 tablespoons Vinegar

Bring ingredients to a boil, and then simmer for 30 minutes. Strain the dye into a container through a sieve. Press the berries to pull as much juice out as possible.

Blue Egg Dye

1/2 Red Cabbage, roughly chopped

6 cups of Water

2 tablespoons Vinegar

1/2+ teaspoon Baking Soda

Bring the first three ingredients to a boil, and then simmer for 15 minutes. Strain the dye into a container. If your dye is not blue, as it is in this post, you can add baking soda to the dye and it will change color from purple to blue. Add more baking soda to intensify the color.

Science behind this color change: Red cabbage contains anthocyanin, a pigment that will appear red, purple, or blue depending on the pH. When you add acid, such as lemon juice, to an anthocyanin, it will become pink. And when you add a base like baking soda it turns blue!

How to cook natural dye for Easter Eggs and Painting

Hot or cool, your dyes are now ready for eggs! These dyes take a bit of time to brighten up an egg – give yourself between five and 20 minutes, depending on the intensity of color that you’d like to achieve.

Experiment with Egg Dyes!

Try mixing colors: How can you get orange dye? Will it work to dip the egg in yellow first, and then in red. Or vice versa?

Fill shallow bowls with a small amount of the dye. Dip on side in red, then another side in blue, and so on.

Draw on the egg with white crayon. This will act as a resist. Then dip the egg in dye.

Cover the egg with stickers. Dip in dye. Dry and remove stickers.

Kids Painting with Natural Dye

Paint with Natural Dye

And finally, you can paint with this dye just as you would watercolors. Yesterday I took our dyes to my daughter’s class. We drew on watercolor paper with Sharpie markers (affiliate) and then painted over it with the natural dye. I also took time to ask the children if they wanted to smell the dyes, and there were lots of scrunched up faces!

Natural Dyes on Bay Area People

I was recently invited to talk about how to make natural dyes on Fox 2 KTVU’s Bay Area People with Lisa Yokota. It was such a fun experience. Welcome to viewers who caught the episode this weekend! If you want to see me try not to look too foolish on TV, simply click on this image…

lisa yokota and rachelle doorley

More Homemade Paint Recipes

This post, Our Favorite Homemade Paint Recipes, contains seven favorite recipes. You don’t want to miss these easy, healthy recipes.

More Egg Dying, Decorating, and Science Ideas

Three Easy Tricks for Blown Out Eggs

Egg Geodes Science Experiment

How to Make a Floating Egg

How to Walk on Raw Eggs. Really.

60 Egg Activities for Kids

How to make natural dyes from beets, red cabbage, turmeric, blueberries, and annatto seeds.

 

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