Welcome!

Hi there! I’m Rachelle (pronounced Raquel) Doorley, founder of TinkerLab, and I’m so glad that you found my creative corner of the internet.

This is my family: Scott, Nola, Isla, and our fur-baby, Catie. We’re a family who likes to create together, and we’re grateful for the opportunity to share our ideas with you.

Prior to founding TinkerLab in 2010, I built a career in arts education as a classroom art teacher in Los Angeles schools and then as a museum educator in Boston and Northern California.

I’ve been passionate about creating for as long as I can remember. As a child, art and tinkering were my jam. I loved inventing kitchen concoctions for my little brother (he was a good sport) and hacking recycled materials into sculpture. Major props to my mom who waited in line before the sun rose to sign me up for art classes in those pre-internet days.

Armed with a BA in Theater from UCLA, I returned to graduate school for a degree in Arts in Education from Harvard. This all led to a career in arts education as a classroom art teacher, museum educator, author, and online educator. 

Why TinkerLab?

As a mom to a toddler, I was keenly aware of how seldom young children think to label their creative experiences in the ways adults do. When they play with blocks, create tiny paper costumes for superheroes, or draw a story, children aren’t thinking “I’m learning how to be an engineer, designer, or artist.” Nor are they thinking, “I’m doing a building project, art project, or writing project.” 

They just do what they do, and oftentimes one discipline blurs into another as storytelling morphs into building morphs into dramatic arts.

With young children, creativity and imagination thrive in the wild forest of interdisciplinary learning.

And this is how TinkerLab was born.

Here at TinkerLab, we create opportunities for young children to tinker, play, and invent in their lab/studio/sandbox. While playing, they may think like inventors, artists, engineers, scientists, authors, and directors, and sometimes wear multiple hats at once.

I offer families easy ways to support creativity at home. I care deeply about bringing arts education to as many children as possible, and TinkerLab is both my platform and my muse.

My goal is to uncover easy and simple ways to set up a home that supports creativity, and it’s my hope that TinkerLab will shorten the learning curve for you.

Teaching Philosophy

We believe that:

+ Open-ended projects spark the imagination.

+ Experiments help us reframe mistakes as triumphs.

+ Choice gives rise to creative courage.

+ Learning grows through curiosity and play.

Dotted Line

1. Experiments teach children that there are multiple ways to approach a problem.

2. When children solve self-designed problems, they think for themselves and  build confidence.

3. Experiments remind me, as a parent, that I’m a co-learner and that I don’t hold all the answers.

4. The spirit of experimentation, exploration, and boundary-pushing is at the root of innovative thinking.

4. Experiments are fun and playful.

TinkerLab and you

If you believe that there’s more than one way to do things, you’re attracted to the DIY culture, and you want to raise children who are confident thinkers, then TinkerLab is for you!

My goal is to uncover easy and simple ways to set up a home that supports creativity, and it’s my hope that TinkerLab will shorten the learning curve for you.

I love the community that’s grown around these ideas and I hope you’ll feel welcome to join in at any time.

In the Press

Tinkerlab has been featured in Real Simple Magazine, Family Fun Magazine, Palo Alto Pulse, Kiwi Co, PBS Parents, Apartment Therapy, Palo Alto Online, Modern Parents Messy Kids, Playful Learning, and Babble Dabble Do. Tinkerlab was named Best Local Blog by Red Tricycle San Fancisco and Rachelle was named a Top 25 Creative Mom at Circle of Moms.

A few websites that share parts of my journey.

Process over Product: Building Creative Thinkers in Art, Americans for the Arts

TinkerLab: Experimenting in the Creative Sandbox, Palo Alto Weekly

Rachelle from TinkerLab on Museum Education, The Artful Parent,

TinkerLab Book Blog Tour, Q + A with Rachelle Doorley, Not Just Cute

First Person VTS: Rachelle Doorley, Visual Thinking Strategies

A Peek into Rachelle Doorley’s Kitchen, La Food Sitter

You can find me on Instagram or sign up for our free newsletter. If that’s not enough, you can contact me directly at rachelle at tinkerlab.com.