Tuesday is a HIGHLY anticipated day at our house. Every Tuesday morning, the kids spring out of bed, inhale their breakfast, get chores done in record time, and then rush to the table to see what I have planned for ….. Tinker Tuesday!!
I first heard about tinkering from a book that came with my daughters kindergarten homeschool curriculum. It is called Tinkerlab by Rachelle Doorley. The book is chucked full of ideas and experiments that encourage curiosity and creative thinking. I actually like to change up our homeschool routine fairly often (my inner child hates anything that gets even a tiny bit monotonous) so I decided we would try some “tinkering” once a week but only for six weeks …. that’s all I could mentally commit to. And so Tinker Tuesday was born! For a little while anyway.
My kids fell in love. Every time the word Tuesday is spoken in their presence there is an immediate and enormous reaction.
And I calmly reply with
One time I actually did forget Tinker Tuesday …. but I will have to tell you about that some other time.
So when my six weeks was up and I mentioned to the kids that it was time to change up our homeschool routine you can imagine the response I got. They weren’t very excited to put it nicely. In fact, I probably could have offered a trip to Disneyland at that moment and they still wouldn’t have cracked a smile. Our conversation ended with me promising nothing would happen to their beloved Tinker Tuesday any time soon. And so it continues …..
To be totally honest, I kind of love it too. I love :
- seeing what my kids create and learn on their own
- the fun things we do together and the memories we create
- that a few minutes of prep time results in an hour or more of happy and engaged kiddos
So to make all that happen, I brainstorm ideas of tinkering activities. I have an ongoing list of these (list addict here). Many have come from the book I mentioned, many from pinterest, and a few have even come from my own imagination believe it or not. I write down anything that let’s the little ones be creative or engages them in hands on thinking. Generally, I try to pick activities with supplies I already have and that don’t take a ton of time to prep. Then on Monday nights after the kids are in bed, I get everything together for the next morning. Sometimes I even set it out, all ready to go, on the table. Nothing gets my kids chores done faster then seeing a giant mound of shaving cream on the kitchen table, or looking out the window and seeing all the paint supplies set up neatly on the patio …. weird right?
We have had some activities that hold their attention all morning, some that only last a half hour, and everything in between. We have also had some HUGE messes and some LESS huge messes. We usually happen into an art or science discussion of some kind depending on what we are working with. But there are a few things that happen EVERY SINGLE TIME.
And that is enough to make me want to keep tinkering! At least for a few more Tuesdays.
Here is a list of a few of our favorites to get you thinking
- toy tractors and dried beans/ rice/ wheat berries/ etc
- painting … anything
- playing with baking soda and vinegar
- shaving cream finger painting on a mirror
- edible colored sand (click on it to find out how easy it is to make!)
- mud pit with bricks and rocks
So pick one of those and start tinkering! And if you already do, then please tell us your favorite tinker activity!