Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Tinkerlab at Baum-kuchen home

Few things in life clearly rise to the priority for our family. One is travel (I am sure you guessed it!) and another one is creativity and "creative thinking". 

For Frido and I, design process and solving problems is so much of what is engrained in us... and it has become a natural part of how we approach and engage with our girls too. So when I stumble upon this book "Tinkerlab: A Hands-On Guide for Little Inventors", I was immediately drawn to it. I loved seeing different art and making projects that were captured beautifully in the book. But maybe even more so... the writing that was a part of the book. Introducing the idea and concept of Tinkerlab at home and how to inspire little ones' creativity through process. After reading through the book, I announced to the girls that we will transform our breakfast nook next to the kitchen into our own version of Tinkerlab.

Our space is very humble (approximately 8'x6'). We are currently using two foldable tables with adjustable height. The tables are set to the lowest height so kids can easily access the workspace on the table and a few vintage kids' school chairs. We are using a part of one table for art supply and other table is often totally open as a project station. They are so lightweight and I like that I can switch up the space really easily. I tidy up pretty frequently after girls work in the space so tables have open enough space to feel inviting and less chaotic. But usually each clean up only last about 3-5 minutes.

Today girls use this space daily. One table is currently dedicated to watercoloring since they have been enjoying the process so much. Each evening I usually clean up any left over materials from the day (paper scraps, left over hardened play dough pieces, used brush), set out a new water for watercoloring and a clean sheet of paper!

It helps that it's next to the kitchen so it's very accessible to them. Coco often spends her time there in the morning when I clean up the kitchen. Sometimes I sit with them and do my own little art to gently share different ways of doing things. Satchi's friends all go straight to this space when they come to visit our house and I love seeing what comes out of each kid's creativity.

My hope is that our girls will feel very natural to just pick up a pen, brush, glue, whatever supplies they need and create when they want to and need to. "Making" is not something that they only do for one school project but just another everyday routine.

Now that summer is approaching, I am looking forward to going through the projects listed on the Tinkerlab book again and explore different ways of making and expressing!

The author Rachel Doorley also have a website dedicated to Tinkerlab and her studio in Palo Alto feels magical to visit and take kids' class at!

Thank you so much Rachel for inspiring parents everywhere!

p.s. below is a collection of girls' project photos I have taken in last 6 months or so... after we created our version of "Tinkerlab" in our house. I had fun browsing through my photos and looking at them. To remember how fun some of the project was for all of us! 


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