TinkerLab http://tinkerlab.com Creative Experiments for Mini Makers Wed, 29 Jun 2016 01:23:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.4 July Sketchbook Challenge http://tinkerlab.com/july-sketchbook-challenge/ http://tinkerlab.com/july-sketchbook-challenge/#respond Tue, 28 Jun 2016 20:19:27 +0000 http://tinkerlab.com/?p=22576 Hey Sketchbook Challenge fans! Who’s up for a July sketchbook challenge? I have a brand spanking new spread of prompts to make this extra fun and challenging. July Sketchbook Challenge TinkerSketch is a daily sketchbook practice that invites you to experiment and play with ideas and materials in a low-stress, fun, and mind-stretching way. You […]

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July Sketchbook ChallengeHey Sketchbook Challenge fans! Who’s up for a July sketchbook challenge? I have a brand spanking new spread of prompts to make this extra fun and challenging.

July Sketchbook Challenge

TinkerSketch is a daily sketchbook practice that invites you to experiment and play with ideas and materials in a low-stress, fun, and mind-stretching way. You will start each day with a new prompt and it’s up to you to interpret it however you like. For example, if the prompt is “magnify”you could draw a magnifying glass, place a magnifying glass over a small object and draw what you see, or zoom in on something and draw it’s details on a larger scale. The possibilities are endless.

Printable Calendar

Click here for a printable calendar: July 2016 TinkerSketch Calendar

More Details

For more details, click here to read for a full list of recommended resources and ideas on how to get started with this challenge.

Previous Challenges

February and May 2016

November 2015

June 2015

March 2015

February 2015

April 2014

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10 Kids Summer Activities that are Under $10 http://tinkerlab.com/10-kids-summer-activities-under-10/ http://tinkerlab.com/10-kids-summer-activities-under-10/#respond Tue, 14 Jun 2016 00:35:36 +0000 http://tinkerlab.com/?p=22500 With so many summer days to fill with fun and meaningful activities, I’m always on the lookout for fun and inexpensive kids summer activities. The ideas in this article will save you money and help you connect with your kids with purpose, fun, and meaning. Kids Summer Activities for Under $10. Beach Keepsake Craft. Preserve your beach […]

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10 Kids Summer Activities for Under $10

With so many summer days to fill with fun and meaningful activities, I’m always on the lookout for fun and inexpensive kids summer activities. The ideas in this article will save you money and help you connect with your kids with purpose, fun, and meaning.

Kids Summer Activities for Under $10.

Kids Summer Activities Beach Soap

Beach Keepsake Craft. Preserve your beach memories with a Glass Jar, Sand, Shells: Fireflies and Mudpies

Clean (and sort of messy) Soap Experiments: This is a fun way to explore and experiment with soap, and it includes a printable experiment sheet, Teach Mama

Kids Summer Activities Water Fight Wall

Stay cool on a hot summer day with this genius Water Fight Kit made of sponges and buckets. Bring this to your block party or family reunion! Via Inner Child Fun

If you like to upcycle (we do!), this project is practically FREE. Gather recycled bottles and make your own Upcycled Water Wall to explore how gravity works and stay cool at the same time, TinkerLab

Kids Summer Activities Croquet Pool Noodle Travel Kit

Do you have any extra pool noodles? Turn them into a fun game of Pool Noodle Croquet, Via The Joys of Boys

Do you want to travel light this summer? Follow these tips for making an Easy Itty Bitty Art Kit for on-the-go creativity, TinkerLab

Kids Summer Activities Book Nook Scavenger Hunt

Take the summer reading list outdoors and make an outdoor Summer Book Nook with a sheet, hung from the trees, No Time for Flash Cards

If you have a smart phone, this one is completely FREE: Grab a smart phone or kid-friendly camera and go on a Photo Scavenger Hunt. Via TinkerLab

Kids Summer Activities Paper Bag Mask Bubble Solution

If you get paper bags from the grocery store, you probably won’t spend a dime to make a Paper Bag Mask, Via Hands on as we Grow

Gather supplies you already have in your kitchen to make this Easy 2-Ingredient Bubble Solution, Via TinkerLab

10 Kids Summer Activities Under $10

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The Creative Table: Join the VIP Wait List http://tinkerlab.com/tct/ http://tinkerlab.com/tct/#respond Wed, 08 Jun 2016 22:01:54 +0000 http://tinkerlab.com/?p=22459 Hi friends, I’d like to invite you join the VIP list for a new project I’m working on that I know you’re going to love! I’m popping in today to give you a little behind-the-scenes so you’ll forgive me for missing my newsletter deadline this week. Survey Update: I recently conducted a survey (thank you […]

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Hi friends,

I’d like to invite you join the VIP list for a new project I’m working on that I know you’re going to love! I’m popping in today to give you a little behind-the-scenes so you’ll forgive me for missing my newsletter deadline this week.

Survey Update:

I recently conducted a survey (thank you to all of you who shared your thoughts with me — this community is wonderful!) to learn more about your specific needs, and the finer details are starting to fall into place. I love your dream solutions, and I’m now dreaming up more ways to weave them into this and future projects. Here are some examples:

To have a room where I can provide a big craft table and more shelving for their arts and crafts. Not a corner section in our living room.

I would love more ideas on how to use song and movement together.

Quit work!  I wish I could help with this one! Maybe I can inspire you to start a blog or become an arts educator. :)

More specific ideas that don’t require a great deal of prep.

More time! At least, more time when I don’t have all the other domestic stuff to do too.

I’ve struggled with ALL of these myself, and some of them are still semi-unresolved. While I can’t put more time into my day, I can do more to maximize the time I have prioritize the things that matter most. We still live in a tiny house, and because that wasn’t about to change any time soon, I had to make the most out of what I have. It’s worked for me, and I hope I can share insights into how it can work for you, too.

Do any of these resonate with you?

Technical stuff:

Some of you may have noticed that my site runs slow on mobile, so I’ve finally brought someone on to help me resolve that problem and optimize the geeky side of things. Fingers are crossed that this will make a difference. I’ve also had a pretty annoying popup signup page, and I’ve heard from enough of you that you hate it (please accept my apology!), so that’s now gone.

Mentorship:

I’m working with a phenomenal mentor who is helping me shape this project and turn my creative energy into something tangible and useful. Like some of you, the right side of my brain dominates (so much so, that I have to look up the difference between the right and left sides every time I think about this phenomena!), and having another set of eyes on my work is beyond helpful. Not only that, but I thrive off the energy and support of others, which is a huge reason I was able to write a book, and I know that I can’t go at it alone.

Join me!

Phase 1 of this project is designed to help parents simplify making with their young children at home, and I anticipate that future phases will open up to older children and classroom teachers and their students.

If you struggle to find time to set up creative projects, are in need of organizational skills or planning help, can’t get past the “mess factor,” and want to keep things simple and not too expensive or chaotic, this is for you!

I’m excited to share some behind-the-scenes work in the upcoming weeks, and if you’d like to be the first to know about how this program can help you, please join me.

Glittery Hugs,

signature

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Basic Art Supplies for Kids http://tinkerlab.com/basic-art-supplies-for-kids/ http://tinkerlab.com/basic-art-supplies-for-kids/#comments Wed, 18 May 2016 07:12:08 +0000 http://tinkerlab.com/?p=22319 With bright, shiny things that pull at our attention and dollars, a visit to the craft store can be an overwhelming experience. That’s why I’m breaking the basics down for you today. If you’ve already set up your creative space, this list will help you sort out the materials to fill it. Start with the Basics My best advice is […]

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Basic art supplies for kidsWith bright, shiny things that pull at our attention and dollars, a visit to the craft store can be an overwhelming experience. That’s why I’m breaking the basics down for you today. If you’ve already set up your creative space, this list will help you sort out the materials to fill it.

Start with the Basics

My best advice is to keep it simple. When my first child was about 18 months old, and just starting to make marks on paper, I was over-the-moon excited to invest in gallons of paint and reams of paper. I have to admit that I went a bit overboard (we still have rolls of that first order of colorful tape…six years later), and I’d like to spare you some of the trouble I went through.

My best advice? Start with the basics. Once you have a few things in place, build from there as your child’s interests and your comfort level with making at home grow.

With young children, too many options can create a paralysis of choice, and simple is usually better than too much. When we limit the number of choices, we also set our kids up to think more imaginatively and creatively.

This list of supplies will get you started. Feel free to add other items that strike your fancy and visit our resources page for more products that we love.

This list contains affiliate links.

1. Tempera Paint

child squeezing paintTempera Paint is your basic creamy paint with a consistency that reminds you of mustard or house paint. It comes in stand-up bottles that look shampoo containers. These bottles can be squeezed onto a plate or an ice cube tray and then stamped with sponges, cotton balls, pine cones, paintbrush, you name it. I like to use washable tempera paint, for obvious reasons :)

If you want to go DIY on this, you can also make your own egg tempera paint with this easy recipe, which I highly recommend trying at least once.

Make an interpretation of modern artist Jasper Johns in this whole body painting experience (above).

2. White Construction Paper

painting the paper mural

Big sheets of paper are a blank canvas for multiple ideas and projects. We have plenty of 8.5″ x 11″ paper in our home, and that stuff is both easy to find and useful, but toddlers and preschoolers do better with larger paper. They don’t have the fine motor skills nailed down and their big, sweeping arm movements are more satisfying on large canvases.

This versatile paper can be used for all sorts of activities from painting at the table to taping against a fence for painting a large mural with 18″ x 24″ paper.

3. Paint Brushes

rubber band brush

If you’re painting, you’ll need some brushes, right? Of course, you can use all kinds of kitchen tools and found objects for painting, but let’s chat brushes for a sec. I have a few favorites:

This set of 5 brushes from Crayola can be used with watercolors, tempera, and acrylic paint. It’s inexpensive and versatile!

This set of 4 brushes from Melissa and Doug is excellent for easel painting and for painting with glue.

If you’re interested in detail brushes for older children and parents, check out this inside tip, and if you want to get experimental, try making your own brushes like the rubber band brush (above).

4. Crayons

Crayons as art basic supplies for kids.

Crayons are a childhood staple, no? My children now go back and forth between colored pencils and markers, but crayons were their go-to mark-making tool for years and often make an appearance on our current art table for projects such as camouflage coloring and melted crayon drawings. Just for fun I set up this poll on my Facebook page on crayons vs. markers that you might enjoy reading.

After trying a range of brands, Crayola crayons are hands-down my favorite and short crayons like Crayola Palm Crayons are good for supporting pencil grip for little hands. You can also break your crayons in half to make them more manageable for the preschool finger grip.

5. Markers

markers or crayonsWe enjoy bright markers for loads projects such as drawing art critters or a cool chromatography exploration with black markers. As I sit here typing this, there’s a container of markers sitting across from me on the coffee table, brought out for a recent card-making session.

From a pretty early age, my children preferred markers to crayons and I suspect it’s because the color from markers is much more vibrant and gratifying. For that reason, I suggest having a few different mark-making tools around to experiment with.

Crayola Pip-Squeaks are good for little hands, and I like this set of broad markers for toddlers.

6. Liquid Watercolors

How to make Goop :: Tinkerlab.com

Liquid watercolors get used in so many different projects from coloring playdough to squirting it on coffee filters to homemade Goop (above) that they are easily the most used art supply in our house next to paper and markers.

The come in toothpaste-sized bottles and squeeze out of a bottle like ink or food coloring.

I love this set of 8 assorted colors made by Sax.

7. White Glue

leaves and glue painting

I have a love affair with Elmer’s Washable School Glue. I’ve tried other glues, but I’m incredibly loyal to this brand. It’s reasonably priced, non-toxic, and works like a charm.

If you have a toddler, this is an excellent beginner glue project for exploring glue, and you should also try setting up glue and leaves (above).

8. Tape and Stickers

Tape and Paper Invitation

Washi tape, paper tape, clear tape, stickers. We love it all.

I love this set of colorful paper tape from Discount School Supply, and comb the aisles of the craft store for tapes that make me smile. Especially when I have a 40% off coupon :)

 

You can make your own tape dispenser with PVC pipes or cut small pieces off for your child to easily remove (above).

9. Scissors

cut play dough with scissors

This one is pretty straight forward. Fiskars is my absolute favorite brand:

Blunt tip (above) for little kids, Pointed-tip for older kids, and  Left-handed 

And here’s a little trick for helping young children use scissors that I learned from Mary Ann Kohl’s awesome book, First Art for Toddlers and Twos: offer them fat worm forms of play dough to cut up (above). It’s much easier than cutting paper, and a rewarding experience!

10. Play Dough.

The best play dough recipe | Tinkerlab.com

Play dough is a staple! I probably should have put it first on the list because it’s just that good and useful. There’s a sensory experience around playdough that children adore. You can squash it, roll it, build with it, “cook” with it, and add toys to it as seen in this post.

I’m pretty sure I learned how to make the Best Play Dough Recipe from First Art for Toddlers and Twos (see above), and have since seen this same recipe used by every single preschool teacher I know. It’s amazing, pliable stuff that lasts for ages and it’s completely non-toxic. If you’re interested in buying play dough, I really like this eco-friendly plant-dyed option from Eco Kids.

11. Treasures

gluing feathers small

Treasures are objects that delight such as feathers, sequins, and pom-poms. This is probably stating the obvious, but please be cautious when using small objects with young children. I don’t want your child to curiously poke a bean up her nose in the name of creativity. :)

I fill clear plastic jars (so that we can easily see what’s inside) with things like buttons, beads, pom-poms, and feathers.

12. Recyclables

Art tip: Save cardboard pieces for art making | TinkerLab

Recyclables are FREE, don’t require a trip to the store, and help us do our bit for sparing the environment from new materials.

What to collect:

13. Low-heat glue gun

TinkerLab Mystery Box Challenge | TinkerLab.com

If you have a child who likes to build things, a low-heat glue gun is a tool you will love having. The tip doesn’t get enormously hot and it can be used to easily and quickly attach sculptural items together.  You can start with making recycled art sculptures and work your way up to making found object critters.

14. Easel

one year old painting at the easel

When young children are invited to paint, they’re often more comfortable working at an easel where their arms can have a full range of motion.

We love our reasonably priced IKEA Mala easel (above), which we painted to give it a little bit of personality.  I also like the Melissa & Doug Deluxe Easel includes trays on both sides so that two children can create simultaneously.

With the easel you can either use a roll of paper or the large 18″ x 24″ construction paper mentioned in the paper section.


I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed putting it together for you! For more ideas on basic tools and tinkering supplies, I’m sure you’ll enjoy my book: TinkerLab: A Hands-on Guide for Little Inventors.

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Creative Table: Tree Trunk Leaf Collage http://tinkerlab.com/creative-table-tree-trunk-leaf-collage/ http://tinkerlab.com/creative-table-tree-trunk-leaf-collage/#comments Tue, 17 May 2016 18:06:55 +0000 http://tinkerlab.com/?p=22307 This Creative Table prompt invites you to use simple materials that you can easily gather on a walk and from basic supplies in your home. Supplies Paper Marker or other drawing tool Bowl of white glue Paint brush Fallen Leaves, gathered on a walk Start with a Nature Walk No trees were harmed for this project […]

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This Creative Table prompt invites you to use simple materials that you can easily gather on a walk and from basic supplies in your home.
Simple art prompt for kids with leaves, paper, and paper

Supplies

  1. Paper
  2. Marker or other drawing tool
  3. Bowl of white glue
  4. Paint brush
  5. Fallen Leaves, gathered on a walk

Start with a Nature Walk

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No trees were harmed for this project as we gathered leaves that had already fallen to the ground.

The Set Up

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Clear the table

Draw a basic trunk structure on the paper. Don’t worry about perfection

Place the leaves, bowl of glue, and brush around the paper

Invite your child to create

More Ideas

Add markers or crayons and invite your child to add texture to the tree

Draw leaves or other ideas from their imagination

Draw a bird shape and offer feathers rather than leaves

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Tinkering Spaces: The Fold-Away STEAM Table http://tinkerlab.com/tinkering-spaces-the-fold-away-steam-table/ http://tinkerlab.com/tinkering-spaces-the-fold-away-steam-table/#comments Thu, 12 May 2016 08:12:43 +0000 http://tinkerlab.com/?p=22250 Today I’m joined by an inspiring Silicon Valley couple, Ilan and Hillary Frank, two active, working parents with demanding careers in the tech scene, who also make an effort to dedicate as much of their “off time” to making great, creative memories for their family. I was smitten by their fold-away STEAM table and asked them if […]

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Today I’m joined by an inspiring Silicon Valley couple, Ilan and Hillary Frank, two active, working parents with demanding careers in the tech scene, who also make an effort to dedicate as much of their “off time” to making great, creative memories for their family. I was smitten by their fold-away STEAM table and asked them if they’d be so kind to share it with us here.

Hillary refers to Ilan as a “Renaissance man” because he’s able to fix a plumbing issue around the house, bake an unbelievable banana bread, make sure there is a thriving vegetable garden in the backyard and still have time to help the kids with their school projects. She attributes this partly to his childhood on a Kibbutz in Israel – where he had to figure things out and make use of what resources he had around him. Their 3 children are ages 9, 7 and 4 are natural “makers’, who are often found creating new games, baking, playing sports, and exploring in the backyard. In the entrepreneurial spirit of Silicon Valley, with money earned from selling eggs from their backyard chickens to neighbors and friends, they earned enough to purchase their wii game console.

Ilan and Hillary are clearly big believers in teaching their kids to spot the opportunities in everyday experiences. They encourage their kids to seek any chance to learn from what’s around them and that by doing this, that they’ll discover their own individual talents. They lean towards play-based and project oriented learning and believe that encouraging their kids to embrace the unknown, have fun while trying new things and support each other is the key to strong problem-solving skills for long-term success. The STEAM room is just one element to how this family has set up these opportunities for their children.

Without further ado, let’s find out about their cool space-saving STEAM table.

Hilary and Ilan Frank

Can you tell us about your family?

We are a very busy, active and happy family of 5. Our daughter, Talia, is 9 and her brothers Eytan and Ari are 7 and 4. With two working parents – we clearly have a lot going on! We think of ourselves as a family of makers and love that our kids also thrive when they’re building. This “builder” mentality stems from Ilan who was born on a kibbutz and grew up solving problems.

Your folding STEAM table is so inspiring! Can you tell us where the idea came from?

Our children are very curious, love to experiment and are also extremely social kids. We knew that as they grew up, we wanted a space for them that could allow for them to work on projects and play with their friends.  We also need a usable guest room for out-of-town guests.  At first we considered a murphy bed, but then thought, why not a murphy table?

DIY STEAM Table

Prior to making your murphy table (I love that!), where did your children do most of their making?

Our kitchen was the most obvious place the kids were first “making”. Whether it be home-made play-do, lip balm, brownies, art, etc. – the kitchen table was definitely the epicenter of our kids “experiments”. We’d find that our daughter (self-proclaimed “mad-scientist”) would find any opportunity to conduct baking experiments found on YouTube. Our boys would repurpose a cardboard box and make it into a TV that they could use as they put on a show inside it – or a car to “drive” complete with Tesla logo. They are Silicon Valley kids after all.

What impact has the new murphy table/STEAM room made on your family?

This STEAM room has been such a fun element for our kids – and pretty game changing for our family. First – it’s now part of the official “home tour” that they take their friends on when they come for playdates. It’s awesome to see how proud they are of the STEAM room. They should be – they got to use the power tools during the construction of the table! Also – it’s a place for the kids to play and experiment without the worry that their projects (that might span several days) would need to get moved/cleaned up. They can get messy and that’s part of the fun!

Where do you store supplies?

For the most part, the art supplies are inside the storage compartment within the table. They are hidden and out of the way when the working table is up – but completely available to them when working on a project. We also have a desk inside with larger storage bins with larger art supplies.

DIY STEM TableDo you have any tips for those of us who might want to build a table like this?

The supplies were all sourced from Home Depot with the exception of the thin metal sheet used as the magnetic blackboard sourced from Alan Steel & Supply Company.  A miter saw, table saw and electric sander came in very handy.

Keeping a maker space tidy can be hard for many families. Can you share any favorite tips for organizing supplies or cleaning up?

This is an area we haven’t quite mastered in all honesty. Between providing fun storage containers and incentives built around bi-weekly cleanups – we’re still finding serious nudging for keeping the room/table organized and tidy necessary.

If you had to be selective, what three things do you love most about your STEAM space?

  1. We can store a lot of cool art supplies easily and have access to them when we need it.
  2. The table converts into the perfect workspace for our kids and their friends – the table top is made of sanded plywood which makes it safe for kids and good for messes (which are encouraged).
  3. The table folds out of the way when we need to use the room for out-of-town guests staying over.

STEM Table Murphy Bed

What three supplies are indispensable to you and your children at this moment?

  1. Measuring cup/spoons – our kids have discovered recipes for play dough and slime.
  2. Cardboard – for creating everything from bridges to stages for puppet shows.
  3. Glue gun – the glitter glue sticks are a favorite

What do you wish for your children to remember about their childhood?

That they felt free to be creative and get their hands dirty and that they can fix anything from software to plumbing.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

We are strong believers in making sure our kids are given every opportunity to succeed – and to us, that means that they have the space to experiment, fail, try again and figure things out. That’s what the STEAM room is really all about – setting up the space for our kids to be creative and have fun!. We want our kids to think of themselves as problem solvers and find ways to make something from nothing. They’re having a blast and we can’t wait to see what else will come out of that STEAM room!


 

This interview is part of Tinkering Spaces, an informative series of interviews that center on designing kid-friendly creativity spaces. If you’re scratching your head because you can’t figure out where to put your children’s art materials, hatching a plan to turn your laundry room into an art room,  or shifting furniture to make room for a new easel, these interviews are sure to give you food for thought.

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Drawing Prompt: Fill a Frame http://tinkerlab.com/drawing-prompt-fill-a-frame/ http://tinkerlab.com/drawing-prompt-fill-a-frame/#respond Wed, 13 Apr 2016 23:02:21 +0000 http://tinkerlab.com/?p=22173 It’s no secret that my family likes to draw, and we’re always playing with ways to make drawing more entertaining. We often do this “fill a frame” activity in our sketchbooks while traveling or while waiting for food in restaurants, but it’s also easy to set up anywhere. All you need is paper and drawing […]

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Easy and fun art prompt for kids: Color in frames

It’s no secret that my family likes to draw, and we’re always playing with ways to make drawing more entertaining. We often do this “fill a frame” activity in our sketchbooks while traveling or while waiting for food in restaurants, but it’s also easy to set up anywhere. All you need is paper and drawing supplies.

This project falls under the Creative Table Project, a series of simple art and science prompts that encourage creative thinking skills and experimentation.

In a nutshell, you set up the materials and then invite your child to create.

Drawing Prompt: Fill a Frame

Easy and fun art prompt for kids: Color in hand-drawn frames

Supplies

See our full list of recommended supplies for more kid-friendly materials. Note: This list includes affiliate links

Paper: We used Neenah Exact Index (card stock). I love this versatile, heavy-weight paper

Black Pen: I enjoyed using a Sharpie for this project

Crayons, colored pencils, or markers: I set up Waldorf “Lyra” colored pencils and my daughter chose to use Crayola washable markers

The Set-up

  1. Pre-draw frames on a sheet of paper
  2. Set the frames up next to a container of markers or crayons
  3. Invite your child to create
  4. Feel free to co-create or use your free time to work on your own project

Easy and fun art prompt for kids: Color in frames

I set ours up with colored pencils, and my daughter swapped them for her favorite markers. With set-ups like these, follow your child’s interests. If they have an idea that’s different from what you had in mind, as long as it’s safe, it’s 100% okay!

Related to this project, my friend Agnes recently launched a company called Plaeful, and they make erasable, washable frame decals that you can stick right up on your wall. We have one in our busy hallway, and I’m always catching my kids filling it in with designs, stories, and color.

Plaeful washable frame from Hello Wonderful

Check out Plaeful.

Plaeful washable frame from Hello Wonderful

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Art Prompt: How to Make an Animal Mask out of Paper http://tinkerlab.com/art-prompt-how-to-make-an-animal-mask-out-of-paper/ http://tinkerlab.com/art-prompt-how-to-make-an-animal-mask-out-of-paper/#respond Wed, 13 Apr 2016 22:14:00 +0000 http://tinkerlab.com/?p=22165 I recently set up this mask-making activity up for my five-year old and loved seeing how she added details and personality to the animal mask template. This project falls under the Creative Table Project, a series of simple art and science prompts that encourage creative thinking skills and experimentation. In a nutshell, you set up […]

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How to make an animal mask out of paper

I recently set up this mask-making activity up for my five-year old and loved seeing how she added details and personality to the animal mask template. This project falls under the Creative Table Project, a series of simple art and science prompts that encourage creative thinking skills and experimentation.

In a nutshell, you set up the materials and then invite your child to create.

How to Make an Animal Mask out of PaperHow to make an animal mask out of paper

Supplies

See our full list of recommended supplies for more kid-friendly materials. Note: This list includes affiliate links

Card stock or other heavy paper

Child scissors: blunt, pointed, left-handed

Hole Punch

Elastic String or yarn/ribbon

Markers or Crayons: We use Crayola here

The Set-up

There are plenty of ways to set this up.

Older children: If your child is old enough to use a paper punch and cut with scissors, here’s your set-up:

  1. Fold your paper in half.
  2. Pre-draw the shape of half of an animal face the paper. Be sure the center of the face is along the folded edge.
  3. Set the paper up on a table with markers and scissors.
  4. Invite your child to cut the mask out of the paper and then design and create an animal.
  5. Punch holes for the elastic, tie the elastic on, and wear!

Younger children: If you have a toddler or preschooler who isn’t ready for scissors yet, try this:

  1. Fold your paper in half.
  2. Pre-draw the shape of half of an animal face the paper. Be sure the center of the face is along the folded edge.
  3. Cut the mask out of the paper
  4. Place the mask and markers or crayons on the table and invite your child to design and create
  5. Punch holes for the elastic, tie the elastic on, and wear!

How to make an animal mask out of paper

For more easy art prompts and set-ups like this, visit The Creative Table Project.

And if you try this project or invent a creative prompt of your own, join me on Instagram with the hashtags: #tinkerlab and #creativetable

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Shivers! The Pirate Who’s Afraid of EVERYTHING: An Interview with the Authors http://tinkerlab.com/shivers-the-pirate-whos-afraid-of-everything-an-interview-with-the-authors/ http://tinkerlab.com/shivers-the-pirate-whos-afraid-of-everything-an-interview-with-the-authors/#comments Tue, 12 Apr 2016 17:36:58 +0000 http://tinkerlab.com/?p=22146 I was recently introduced to a brand new chapter book series called Shivers! The Pirate who’s Afraid of EVERYTHING (affiliate). It’s the hilarious story of young pirate Shivers who’s, as you’ve probably guessed, afraid of everything. He lives with his phobias and pet goldfish on a beached pirate ship, and is joined for epic high-seas hijinks by his […]

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shivers the pirate who's afraid of everything author interview

I was recently introduced to a brand new chapter book series called Shivers! The Pirate who’s Afraid of EVERYTHING (affiliate). It’s the hilarious story of young pirate Shivers who’s, as you’ve probably guessed, afraid of everything. He lives with his phobias and pet goldfish on a beached pirate ship, and is joined for epic high-seas hijinks by his very brave best friend, Margo.

My girls, ages 5 and 7, love the books and we came up with the idea to interview the authors, Annabeth Bondor-Stone and Connor White. The girls came up with 18 questions and Annabeth and Connor were kind enough to answer them ALL! It’s fun to get a peak into an author’s mind, so if you read Shivers! with your child, you’ll want to follow up by reading this interview with them. Bonus: if you’re teaching a unit to go along with the books, the Shivers! website offers awesome free teaching guides, story prompts, and activity sheets.

I love my kids’ questions (I know, I know, as their mom I’m programmed to adore them), and the real joy is reading the author’s insightful and funny answers.

Without further ado, on to the interview!

Shivers the Pirate: An Interview with the Authors

annabeth bondor-stone and connor white

How long did it take you to write each book?

The first book took us about two years to write, but that’s because we didn’t know we were writers yet. We had other jobs and we had never written a book before. Now that we’ve practiced, each book takes about a year to write. Then it takes another year for our illustrator to draw all the pictures so the whole process takes about two years.

Which of the Shivers books do you like better?

Annabeth likes the first book better because it introduced Shivers to the world for the first time. And Connor likes the second book better because it has a hot dog eating contest! But we’re both really excited about the third book, it’s got a lot of poodles in it.

Have you written any other books?

No, this is the first book we’ve ever written. Before Shivers, Annabeth had written lots of plays and a movie script. And Connor once wrote a grocery list!

Where do you live?

In Los Angeles, California between the sushi restaurant and the taco shop.

annabeth and connor school event

Annabeth and Connor at a live event.

How did you choose your illustrator? 

Our publisher found our illustrator, Anthony Holden. Anthony drew some sample sketches of Shivers and Margo and we knew immediately that he shared our sense of humor and could bring Shivers to life in a way that no one else could. Just like Shivers was the first book we’d ever written, it was the first book Anthony had ever illustrated.

shivers the pirate who's afraid of everything

How did you come up with all of the hilarious things? Like the squid ink on chapter 5 and skipping chapter 13?

In order to come up with hilarious things, you have to get pretty silly. If we’re not feeling funny one day, we’ll put a pizza on our heads like a giant floppy hat, so at least we look funny. And that’s a pretty good start.

Also, comedy is about surprise so we wanted to give you something you wouldn’t expect from the chapter numbers, which are usually a pretty unsurprising part of a book.

Do you think all the great ideas in the world are already taken?

Sometimes it feels that way. But there are always more great ideas. Just the other day, we thought about inventing Break’N’Bake Bacon Cakes, which aren’t very healthy but they sound delicious.

Did you have any arguments while writing the books? 

We never argue while we’re writing but we definitely disagree sometimes! If Annabeth likes one idea and Connor likes another, we throw out both ideas and come up with something brand new that makes us both happy. And if we really get stuck we find it useful to take our pug for a walk.

shivers the pirate who's afraid of everything

Connor and Annabeth at a school book reading event

Does Margo have a nickname?

No, but we’re taking suggestions.

Why is Margo’s dad introduced but not involved in the story?

We like that Shivers and Margo have to solve their problems on their own so we don’t usually have a lot of parental supervision in the books. But we thought it was important to give you an idea of Margo’s background, and how she has always liked going on adventures with her dad, Police Chief Clomps’n’Stomps.

Was the Shivers series fun and exciting to write? 

Shivers is so much fun to write! We love writing about his crazy adventures but we also love writing about the regular details of his life, like what normal everyday things fill him with terror. Like a toaster. That thing will pop up when you least expect it.

Connor White recording audio book for Shivers! the pirate

Connor White recording audio book for Shivers! the pirate

Do you like this interview so far?

So far… WE LOVE IT!

What’s Shiver’s favorite object in the world?

His bunny slippers. They’re soft and cuddly, plus they protect him from one of his greatest fears: his own toenails.

About how many hours a day did you spend writing these books?

We try to write for three hours every day but sometimes that includes long walks, snacking, chatting, and stuffing our faces into pillows.

hivers the pirate who's afraid of everything author interview school event

Did you ever get bored while writing?

We never get bored while writing but sometimes we get frustrated. When we’re stuck, we like to think of writing as solving a big puzzle instead of waiting for an answer.

Do you get writer’s block and how do you handle it?

Definitely! We think that writer’s block comes from a fear that your writing won’t be perfect right away. So we try to face that fear by allowing ourselves to write a “bad version” of whatever we’re working on. We also look for inspiration from the outside world by going to museums or reading great books. Also, there’s snacking. Did we mention snacking?

Can you cross your eyes?

Yes! And we can dot our T’s!

Have you ever been interviewed by a 5 and 7 year old?

Now that we’ve reached the end of this interview, we can officially say yes.

If you’d like to learn more about the authors behind Shivers!, check out this video:

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How to Make Melted Crayon Art http://tinkerlab.com/how-to-make-melted-crayon-art/ http://tinkerlab.com/how-to-make-melted-crayon-art/#comments Tue, 12 Apr 2016 06:00:33 +0000 http://tinkerlab.com/?p=22136 Today I’m sharing how to make melted crayon art. This fun STEAM project combines the art of drawing with the reaction of crayons melting on a warm griddle. Scroll down to watch a video of the process in action. Supplies This list contains affiliate links Hot Plate: We use Cool Touch Electric Griddle Crayons: We like Crayola, […]

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How to make melted crayon art

Today I’m sharing how to make melted crayon art. This fun STEAM project combines the art of drawing with the reaction of crayons melting on a warm griddle.

Scroll down to watch a video of the process in action.

How to make melted crayon art

Supplies

This list contains affiliate links

Hot Plate: We use Cool Touch Electric Griddle
Crayons: We like Crayola, especially when they’re free from a restaurant, but you could try any crayon.
Aluminum Foil: Use 2 layers of regular foil (in case it rips) or one layer of heavy duty foil.
Paper Towels: To clean the surface between layers

How to make melted crayon art  with a griddle

Steps

  1. Before you turn the griddle on, cover it with aluminum foil.
  2. Tape the foil to areas of the plate that do not heat up. This will keep the foil from sliding.
  3. Turn the burner on to about 200 degrees, or just warm enough to melt the crayons (but not so hot that you scorch yourself!).
  4. Draw on the foil with crayons. They will melt!
  5. Peel the crayon paper back as needed.
  6. Make a print by placing a sheet of card stock or other heavy paper on the melted crayon.
  7. Wipe the foil clean and start all over again.
  8. Be safe! Use caution with hot burners.

How to make melted crayon art  with a hot plate

Watch the Video

Join us

Try this project and tag your work on Instagram with #tinkerlab and #tinkerlabmeltedcrayon

More Projects Like This

If you enjoyed this activity, check out my book, TinkerLab: A Hands-on Guide for Little Inventors, for more art, science, and tinkering experiments for kids.

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STEAM art project: Create melted crayon drawings on a warming tray

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