Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Our Very Own Tinkering Lab

After visiting the Tinkering Lab yesterday, we were inspired to do a bit of tinkering at home today.  In a rare moment of alone time (thank you Grandmas), I hit a few thrift shops and picked up some "tinkering" supplies.  I tried to get "highly motivating" toys- toys I would not normally buy for my children, that they would be very eager to have working- princess wands, a remote control car, a bingo machine.  I also bought the cheapest set of Christmas lights I could find and a little fan.

a thrifted start to our Tinkering Lab...all for less than $10

Next, Matt and I did a bit of prep work.  We cut apart the Christmas lights and stripped the ends of the wires to make some battery testers.  We gathered batteries from the around the house (mixing together the good and the bad).  We also may or may not have *helped* a few of the toys need some fixing.

stripping wire

DIY battery tester

priming the pump

We intended to save the tinkering for tomorrow and have the kids actually go to bed on time, but that totally didn't happen.  Let's face it- when Daddy has pulled a motor and fan out of the case, who wants to go to bed?!  The kids quickly spotted the new toys, so we let them open up the battery cases, test the batteries and try to get them working again.

When the wires touch the battery, the fan spins!

Testing out the batteries in the car and in the remote control

Turns out the car batteries were fine, but the remote was dead.

He was shocked when it started working...jumped about a mile.  Then giggled like crazy.

working together

Broken toys are sad.
There is a lot to learn about to get them in and out, positive and negative ends, how to test to see if they are dead, how to put the cover back on...

Toys that you have fixed yourself are AWESOME!

Oh, there will be more tinkering tomorrow...and the next day as well, I am sure.  Matias thinks Beatrice's sleep sheep might be in need of some new batteries.  And Violet has already told me she NEEDS to open up her stable to see why it doesn't whinny when you open the stall door any more.  A girl who plays with princess toys= pretty neat.  A girl who fixes her own princess toys= even neater!

*This is almost too obvious to write, but we were really careful with what we let the kids touch, and we are teaching them the right way to handle the tools and supervising.  For example, we cut the wall plug off the tree lights lest they get any bright ideas (pun intended!)*

Linking up:
Weekend Blog Hop From House to Home” target=”_blank”>”Science
 For the Kids Friday

Teach Beside Me


  1. The next thing you need to do is build a rube goldberg machine. This video is of a kid just a little older than your kids, and really illustrates the idea that it won't necessarily work the first time.

    Oh, and Violet needs to go to Rube Goldberg Camp when she's old enough. :)

  2. Wow! What a neat project! I've never thought of doing this! Thanks for being the first to link up at From House to Home. Just curious, did the button code not work? I'm still working out some technical difficulties.

  3. This is such fabulous project - so impressed Alice @ Mums Make Lists

  4. AWESOME IDEA!!!! I love it!
    Thanks for sharing!!
    I found you through the TGIF Linky Party. :)

  5. This is really cool. I would like to play with this lab too. Electricity seems a bit scary to me because I know it can be dangerous, but don't understand enough to encourage this type of play. We went the safe route and bought the Electronic Circuits Set for kids.

    It would be great if you linked up with Hobbies and Handicrafts.

  6. I'm featuring this tomorrow on Hobbies and Handicrafts.

  7. My kids would love this! They've taken apart a computer, but we haven't really tried playing with broken toys and such stuff.

  8. Wow - what a greta activity! I bet they learnt so much!

    Thanks for linking to The Sunday Showcase.


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