While the Exploratorium is temporarily closed to the public, let’s keep tinkering @ home!
Tinkering’s active approach to learning about the world lends itself perfectly to be extended to the home environment, where there are many opportunities to practice and perfect the ability to think with your hands. Along the way, we hope that your mindset toward learning itself might shift a little bit, that you might gain insights into the ways in which learning happens best for you — after all, as we like to say, the big idea is your idea!
This collection of activities consists of prompts, invitations, provocations, and resources for tinkering in your own home. We are developing ways in which tinkering can be done with materials and tools that you might already have in your house, or that can easily be sourced. We will emphasize simple everyday materials, accessible tools, and activities that are easy to get started with, but that can get quite complex as you practice more.
We want this to become not just a community effort, but a way to build community and support around the practice of learning through tinkering. We encourage you to try them out and share your creations with other tinkering explorers around the world through social media, using the hashtags associated with each invitation. We'll share playful tips, inspiring ideas, and delightful outcomes as tinkerers around the world contribute their creations.
Here are some of our ideas for tinkering at home. You can click on each to find more information, ideas, and tips to help in your explorations!
Use everyday materials to construct a whimsical sequence of cause-and-effect actions — a Chain Reaction contraption! Set it off and post a video of your creation on Instagram or Twitter, and contribute to a worldwide, home-made chain reaction. Tag your video with #RoundTheWorld_ChainReaction to participate!
Ready to take your turn? Making things spin opens up a myriad of chances to explore, and we’re starting with the most classic of all: making tops! You can make them big, small, fast, wobbly, or even use a pen as the axle to draw patterns as your top twirls and whirls. (We recommend you put a sheet of paper down first.) Take your top for a spin, post a video, and tag it #ExploringSpinning to share your creation with the tinkering world.
You’re invited to be part of an international celebration of Light & Shadow! To brighten your day, grab a light source (a flashlight or even your cell phone will do) and find objects around your home that make interesting shadows. Create a Light Play vignette or remix someone else’s shadow, and share your photo with the world using #LightUpOurDays or #ShadowRemix.