Sunday, October 4, 2015

TinkerLab: A Book Review

About The Book:

Design, Build, Concoct, and Discover - 
55 Creative experiments for curious kids!

Kids are natural tinkerers. They experiment, explore, test and play - and learn a great deal in the process through problem-solving and hands-on experiments. From art making to simple robot building, magic potion testing, and nature exploration, this book is about creative experiments, in all fields, that help kids explore the world. Perfect for young children up to age six.

Check out these great examples from the book:

Watercolor exploration

Potion Station

About The Author:

As a university lecturer, museum educator, and classroom art teacher, Rachelle has established herself as an authority in the world of arts education. Before founding TinkerLab, Rachelle was the Director of Education at the San Jose Museum of Art where she oversaw training for a over 100 docents, managed school programs, and created content that supported visitor learning for all ages. Rachelle lectures on Visual Thinking Strategies at Stanford University, designed a hands-on art curriculum for the San Francisco Children’s Creativity Museum, and is an advisor to Kiwi Crate. Rachelle holds a BA in Theater from UCLA and a Masters in Arts Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
She’s also the founder of Bay Area Bloggers, a founding member of 20 Moms, host of the Instagram parties #creativetable and #tinkersketch, and mom to two creative kids.
Questions or comments? Drop me a line directly at rachelle at
My Review:
So how does one describe thoughts about a book that has seriously changed the way I do early childhood education! There have only been a handful of books in recent years that have knocked my socks off and totally helped me to embrace my philosophy of play-based early childhood education. TinkerLab is one of these books. Suffice it to say, I put Rachelle Doorley at the top of my favorite early childhood educators, along side Lisa Murphy (The Ooey-Gooey Lady), Jeff Johnson, Bev Bos, and Dan Hodgins. That is definitely great company to be in!
The books starts off with how to create your own TinkerLab for the children in your life. Whether you are a parent or an educator, this is a book that is an absolute MUST-READ! Creating a TinkerLab is easy and does not have to cost a lot of money. Most of the items used can be found at your local Dollar Tree, Holly Lobby, Michael's or even Walmart or Target. Doorley explains the developmental importance of tinkering for children, regardless of age. 
I love that Doorley embraces the importance of process, versus an activity having an end product in their result. The book is full of amazing quotes from famous folks like Emerson and Churchill, but also includes a ton of tips about purchasing materials (for example, by art supplies in the fall when back to school items are on sale) and setting up spaces (ie: set up according to your children's interests). Finally, each activity in the book is explained in such a way that they are very easy to implement and include several ways to expand the play experience. The book is absolutely stunning in it's presentation, with bright colors and amazing full color photography throughout. Very pleasing to the eye and mind. A perfect combination. 
TinkerLab has been a huge asset to both my personal and professional library and I firmly believe it should be on the shelves of every child care program out there! 
I highly recommend this book and give it a huge thumbs up!
BUY IT: You can purchase TinkerLab online through Amazon, as well as through your favorite local book retailer
***I received a complimentary copy of this book, courtesy of the author, for the purpose of review on this blog. All opinions expressed are my own, and I have not been compensated in any other manner***

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