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Meet Rachelle!

Hi there! I’m so happy you’re here.

TinkerLab was created as a space to celebrate childhood creativity through hands-on making. If you’re curious about how you can bring more joy to the art table, TinkerLab was made for you.

My name is Rachelle (Raquel). I’m a mom, a wife, a sister, a daughter, a maker, and an educator.

While I built a career as a classroom art teacher and progressive contemporary art museum educator, it was becoming a hands-on mom that gave me a deeper understanding how open-ended making can lead children to greater critical thinking skills, creativity, and agency.

My mission is to share these insights with you, so that no child misses out on the empowered feeling that comes with the freedom to explore, imagine, and invent.

I grew up in Los Angeles, not far from the sparkle of Hollywood magic. I was captivated by make believe, play acting, and the mystery of studio backlots, and knew this was a world I wanted to be part of. It all held so much potential for play.

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.

Scott and I met at UCLA:  I was studying theater design, he was making films, and we bonded over a love for creativity and imagination. After college we began building our careers in Hollywood. We learned so much from those long hours on set.

And then we each felt a calling for something more, turning attention to design and education.

I returned to graduate school for a degree in Arts in Education from Harvard and Scott headed to Stanford to study learning and design. 

Scott now teaches at Stanford’s Design School and I’m the author of best selling books on childhood creativity and founder of TinkerLab.

Why TinkerLab?

As a mom to a toddler, I became keenly aware of how seldom young children tend label their creative experiences.

When they play with blocks or make tiny paper costumes for dolls, one discipline blurs into another.

Play might begin with storytelling of dragons and fairies, which sparks an idea for building a magical castle from blocks. This leads to an idea to play act, and costumes are pulled out of the closet. Crowns are missing, and out come the crayons and paper for spontaneous arts and crafts.

Following the thread of curiosity is where the fun lies.

Disciplines blur. There are no labels. There’s only play.

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

When I felt and witnessed this magic, TinkerLab was born.

Here at TinkerLab, we create opportunities for young children to tinker, play, and invent in their lab/studio/sandbox. While hard at play, children think like inventors, artists, engineers, scientists, authors, and directors, and oftentimes 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.

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

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. Join me in our subscription program, TinkerLab Schoolhouse, or in a live class in the TinkerLab Studio.

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.