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Tinkering at home

Tinkering at home

Yesterday we received these two nice pictures from a fellow named Richard with a short message: "Thanks for the inspiration!"

After asking for some more information, here's the very nice email we got back.

I found you online. I am a fan of Tim Hunkin and Paul Spooner (some of your artists) and I met Tim briefly at the Brighton Maker Fair. On his website he mentions the Exploratorium several times. Later I was searching for something to do for a home educators workshop when I found your website. I think I googled "taking toys apart", and the Exploratorium popped up and rang a bell.

Your activities are perfect for what I wanted to do and as they have been road tested I thought why not try it.

As you can see from the photo they loved it. They started by taking things apart and the idea was to use the bits to make the robots. None of the bits were really suitable but I had a few motors and switches just in case and we used them instead. Really fast prototypes were produced with lots of trial and error. I had trouble keeping up!
They even started adding 'horns' so the robots could do battle. I managed to slip in a bit of theory about electromagnetism when one of them noticed a motor was magnetic.

It was an informal fun afternoon in the garage but I am hoping it will become a regular thing so I may try the marble run and chain reaction ideas next!

I love that someone can find enough information on this website and blog to feel prepared, empowered, and encouraged not just to try some of our activities at home, but even put their own spin on them, combine them, and expand on them. We are always interested in feedback about our work, so if you have been trying tinkering at home, please let us know!