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Tinkering at Home

Tinkering at Home
Tinkering at Home

Tinkering is an active, hands-on approach to discovering the richness and depth of the world around you—and it lends itself perfectly to the home environment, using materials and tools you might already have to explore everyday phenomena in surprising ways. Try this collection of invitations and resources to get started.

Share your creations with other tinkering explorers on social media using #TinkeringAtHome and the hashtags included in each invitation. We'll share playful tips, inspiring ideas, and delightful outcomes as tinkerers around the world contribute their creations.


Exploring Balance


Join us in playfully exploring balance and stability! Design whimsical sculptures by tilting, sliding, and suspending everyday objects and ordinary materials into surprising arrangements. Use the hashtag #ExploringBalance to share your ideas as you invent your own mobiles, stabiles, and balancing toys.

Exploring Balance


Tinker with Computation


Digital technologies add movement, illumination, sensing, responses, even communication to the things we make. The blending of digital tools and tinkering can open up wonderful new explorations in light, color, sound, music, motion, mechanisms, and storytelling. Explore computational tinkering and blur the line between the physical and the digital — use your body to trigger an animation on the screen, tell a story with light and sound, use a craft cutter to create a design with code. Share your projects using the hashtag #ComputationalTinkering.


Wind and Air


Let air whisk you away and be the wind beneath your wings as you explore this mostly invisible phenomena. Use wind to propel your investigations in movement through pinwheels, lanterns, seed pods, and more. Share your flights of fancy using the hashtag #WindAndAir.


Stop Motion Stories


Bring your toys, constructed creatures, drawings, and everyday objects to life with stop motion animation. Use a simple phone app to create imaginative and whimsical stories by stitching photos together to create moving images. Share your homemade movies with the hashtags #StopMotion and #TinkeringAtHome.


Creative Constructions


Build structures and make your own construction sets using everyday materials—look for inspiration outside in nature and inside in the recycling bin. Turn cardboard, toilet paper tubes, branches, and other ordinary materials into component parts for building. Share your stable structures, expressive sculptures, and creative connections with the hashtag #CreativeConstructions.


Digital Designs with TurtleArt


Create artistic, geometrical designs in your web browser and turn them into digital art. Snap puzzle-like code blocks together using the TurtleArt app and give the turtle a sequence of movement commands—then watch your image take shape as it moves. Invent your own designs or build on existing ones, then share your coded art using the hashtags #TurtleArt and #ComputationalTinkering.


Tinkering with LEGO


Tinker with your LEGO bricks in a new way—construct whimsical contraptions by combining LEGO with everyday materials. You can playfully explore kinetic sculptures, marble mazes, sky parades, art machines, moving critters, and more! Share a video of your contraptions or images of your inventions using the hashtag #LEGOTinkering.


Animate Your World


Explore computational tinkering and blur the line between the physical and the digital—your hands or body can trigger a digital animation on the screen. Use Scratch video sensing to animate your world and make interactive animates that trigger with your movements, then share your projects using the hashtags #ComputationalTinkering and #AnimateYourWorld.


Cranky Contraptions


Cranky Contraptions are homemade kinetic toys that produce a variety of motions—up and down, side to side, and more—by turning a wire "crank." Use everyday materials to tinker with ideas about storytelling and mechanical motion, and bring whimsical creations to life! Share your creations using the hashtag #CrankyContraptions.


Exploring Spinning


Find out how rotation works with Exploring Spinning—gather materials around your house gather recycled materials around your house and try turning them into spinning toys. Share your creations with us using #ExploringSpinning. Include what worked well and what didn't—we want to see your tinkering process.


STEAM Starters


Looking for ways to engage young children with tinkering? Try these STEAM Starter activities: Tinker with light and shadow and share your images and stories using #BlockBendBounce. Or find out what rolls, create your own tracks, ramps, and pathways, and share what you discover with #RampsandRollers.


Light and Shadow Play


Brighten your day with our Light and Shadow Play project ideas—find a light source (a flashlight, cell phone, or the sun) and look around for objects that make interesting shadows. Create a shadow, take a picture, and share it using #LightUpOurDays to become part of this international celebration of light and shadow.

Developed in collaboration with Fab Lab Barcelona

Play with light and color. Remix a shadow. Build a shadow skyline. Tell a story with shadows. Remix a shadow. Try different shadow-making materials.


Chain Reaction


Use everyday materials to construct a whimsical sequence of cause-and-effect surprises—a chain reaction contraption! Start simple, then add to your ingenious construction. Share a video of what you create with collaborators far and wide using #RoundTheWorld_ChainReaction.