[Week 5 Activity] Time for Tinkering


This week’s reading and activity reminded me of my 6 year old daughter. She’s constantly tinkering around our house. She claims she’s going to be the world’s youngest inventor. Unfortunately I don’t have images, but for one of her recent inventions she taped together a safety razor and one of those baby nose suction bulbs so that I could blow the hair off my face as I shaved.

My son also created a trap in his doorway using duct tape and string that dropped a pillow on your head when you tripped the wire.

I love seeing these ideas grow and build and the way the kids get explore their creativity. I’ll post again when I’ve done some tinkering of my own.


I go back to the time before Scratch, even before the internet became popular. Tinkering (in the area of the creative arts) was when we tried this idea, then that idea and if we came up with something we created and liked, we had our personal masterpiece. Voila! We were proud of our work, we took pleasure especially when others took pleasure in it. As I shared previously in LCL I taught Art & Construction Crafts to teachers when computers in school were in their infancy!. When the topic of recycling came into national focus I had been using cut-down milk cartons to hold water, paints and glue. Before long I began to realise that a carton is not ‘just a carton’ - it could be anything we wanted it to be (within our capabilities). I got my teacher students to ‘tinker’ with cartons. Over a period of time we invented many ‘artefacts’ from milk and juice cartons. My work came to the attention of the world’s leading carton manufacturer (TetraPak). The Irish division of TP entered me into an international internal competition with TP in six other countries and I won the top award. Like the teachers, the children I taught at school took great pleasure in what they could make from cartons. One such great achievement was a combined class-effort when everyone helped to create a play house that the whole class could fit inside. We donated it to a junior class in our school. Here’s a picture from our local newspaper.

CCraft_pic Next time you look at a milk carton, see beyond it; how its shape, folds, pliability and your imagination can transform it into whatever your can conjure up.
In the 21st century, for the first time in human history, the same applies to new technologies. We can use our playful imaginings to harness the power e.g. the power of Scratch for the sake of the young generation with whom work. Lots of Scratch examples at Just like the children at a higher level, built a Milk Carton house for kids at a lower lever (who were too young to make it themselves). When it comes to Scratch, kids at a higher level can code a resource for kids at a lower level (the maths is for 6 year olds; the code is by 11 year olds.) Here’s an example:


I did my tinkering at the library. This was the result. I started with the little bird on the left. I like a lot owls so I tried to draw them. The one at the bottom is my last: it is not an owl but a kind of bat that is also an owl and an octopus as well. Could be a fat dragon or a fat chicken I don’t know.
I like also trees and branches so that’s why I drew many leaves. I think it is difficult to draw leaves because they don’t follow a clear path in the tree; they could be everywhere! Finally I like to explore different kind of faces so that’s why there are some “sbiruli” /zbìrulì/. They are round and they have soft thorns that make them fly.
So funny, thank you :slight_smile:


Beautiful! Thanks for sharing this. I can use the glide steps with my students.
I’m glad you were able to recreate a happy spot of play in your life.


I love this picture! I think this is an amazing example of what Tinkering is about. Curiosity is the foundation of creativity. When our children get the opportunity to satisfy their curiosity they become more creative learner.


Great :+1:


What is this???!!


I love the Scarabot! Can you make it from almost anything?


Something created with rycicled material


As a Computer Science and Math teacher I decided to tinker with Scratch! Based on week’s 5 reading, I would have my 14-year old students work on a theme like “Sending secret messages” instead of giving them step-by-step instructions to implement specific data coding/decoding projects.

Now, I realize that the two scratch projects in studio should work as samples. Students should come up with their own mechanisms to send secret messages based on their interests and passions!

And as far as Math concerns I would tinker with toothsticks and matches. I would have my 12-year-old students make all kinds of parallelograms using these two materials.


Do you have any particular idea?


That’s a cool idea! It reminds me of some things I’ve seen on TV where they want to show someone’s journey really quickly.
Was it done on your cell phone camera?


Hi everyone,

i am sorry I did not have the time to tinker this week, but as I did something interesting previously, i thought you would not mind if that is my submission. Please do let me know if this is not acceptable. TY.

So, I really really love teaching kids and adults alike. I have done so as a volunteer in Coderdojo and Coding Grace and I had fantastic feedback. I am very passionate about the topic and I believe I have “infected” people with my passion for learning about coding.

What I am submitting are two videos of the things/props I made to teach a pop-up workshop: one was in the local library, teaching kids how to make a video game in Scratch and the other in the local bank branch to teach adults about coding, where I introduced number systems.

Kids props in learning Scratch

Adults props in learning about number systems


When I asked my four years old son to peel onions skin, he was interested into how can he peel them much firster. He tried to peel many onions and then, he started to put them in toy mini car’s road and started to examin which onion is firstest. Because he loves such as, firstest, biggest, highest, he always seeks what is firstest/ biggest/ highest thing. Using the interest, his play is becoming more flexible. (His little sister always follows him)

![85403C47-1DE9-40E6-8DD4-06BE67884F09|666x500] (upload://glnPTZ2Qhz2D2rycqs4JvjsAnbw.jpeg)


No, I just noticed a sardine tin and some straws, maybe? Did you use a motor with some dissentric weight?
I suppose there could be many ways of making a scribblebot.


Thanks for the tip @beeNmusing !


Thinking about a playful approach to learning, I made this program in Scratch, I think we will learn in a playful way to combine additive primary colors to obtain the subtractive primary colors.


Yes all done with cell, using Lapse app, a stop motion animation app followed by iMovie app.


Just a few days ago, I saw on Twitter an invitation: “Make the machines of Da Vinci”. I subscribed, and the ongoing process has been a great opportunity for Tinkering (and the 3 other Ps).

What my team is re-creating is a ‘self-supporting bridge’ from Leonardo Da Vinci. We are making it with wood, mainly from past projects so in a sense we are also thinking on creating something with whatever we have on hand - just as it was in the original context-.

This has been a great process because we have had to do measures several times, learn how to cut with different tools, and think on what kind of cuts to do to each piece of wood we have. We have to think how the bridge will really “self-support”, and we are even creating stories around the process, to make to process even more enjoyable.

We are still working on the bridge, and certainly one of the things I have enjoyed the most is being in a diverse team ( a biologist, an engineer, and me who I’m more like a generalist). This has given us the opportunity to even talk about the quality of the wood, the meaning of the circles on it …



Hello, April_Leonard - Cute squishy circuit creation! I like the way that you were resourceful and used cardboard as an insulator. Another alternative to making homemade insulating dough is to use modeling clay. It is inexpensive and found in many craft stores. See example below.