Tinkering and the Value of Engaging Our Kids in Building

What Tinking looks like for 10 year olds.

Kids are natural tinkerers. We all are really. But give them some wood, pvc, tape, glue, paper, markers, and when they are older power tools, and watch those kids who just moments ago said they are “bored” become engaged. Consider creating a Tinkering Kit or a place where kids know they can go to pick up scraps and create things. Encourage kids to follow their imagination! They can draw out a picture before hand or just go for it and create what they imagine along the way. I am always amazed at what my kids create!

Tinkering Kit:

  • Papertowel rolls [used]
  • Screwdriver & different size screws
  • Wood and/or balsa wood for younger kids [various sizes]
  • PVC [various sizes]
  • Hammer & different nail sizes
  • Tape [electrical & duct tape are great!]
  • Glue [non-toxic craft glue] and/or a glue gun [adult use only]
  • Recycled objects [plastic containers, corks, any item you are throwing away could be considered]
  • Art supplies [to decorate the creations]

Tinkering is messy. It is creative. It is fun. It is frustrating. But if we leave the tinkering open ended our kids come out with something they are proud of creating. Consider making a project with your child or making one of your own while they are making one. Remember as parenting we need to step back and let them make mistakes and learn from the process. If they nail something in and it cracks the wood, what can they learn from this process? If it doesn’t come out the way they want, should they have drawn out a picture first? Or could they simply change what they expected? Just help them through the process of considering how to improve next time.

For more on tinkering, watch this video on The Tinkering School and take a look at the post from OutdoorMom.com, Kids Love Plumbing.

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