How to Take Apart Play Time: Tips From the World’s Best Tinkerers

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Drills, saws, hot glue and hammers aren’t usually what come mind when you think about kids and play. Think again. In the wonderful world of tinkering this is just the tip of the iceberg. Using creativity, math, science, imagination and the magic of trial and error, tinkering teaches future inventors about the world around them. Want to learn how to do it? Listen to these tips and tricks from the best tinkerers out there and you’ll be all set for your next project.

Rachelle Doorley

Anyone who has tried tinkering has undoubtedly heard of this ultra-creative mom of two. As a maker teacher, the expert blogger behind TinkerLab® and the author of TinkerLab: A Hands-on Guide for Little Inventors, Rachelle is one of the tinkering heroes who everyone follows.

Growing up with frugal parents in Hollywood created the prefect storm for this innovative inventor and problem solver. Eventually she started TinkerLab® to celebrate children’s curiosity and encourage them to create, combine and invent.

If you’re trying to inspire a future tinkerer, it’s all about access, access, access. Supervision is a must when your tykes are just starting out, but as Rachelle says, “repeated experiences with these materials will build confidence, and you will eventually feel safe when your child has a permanent marker in his or her hand.”

If you’re looking for an activity to get the juices flowing, take a chance with the Mystery Box Challenge. It’s as simple as filling a box with a collection of goodies from fabric, to wood scraps, Popsicle sticks and more. Follow Rachlelle’s advice and, “invite the child to invent something with these supplies. The results are always unexpected, surprising, and food for conversation.”


Do you like to tinker with your kids? Share your favorite project in a Comment below. 

— Natasha Davis

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