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::: the tinkering table

The children at the table go …

tinker, tinker, tinker …

tinker, tinker, tinker …

tinker, tinker, tinker.

The children at the table go tinker, tinker tinker.

All day long!

This wonderful learning experience took place at Ringwood UnitingΒ Kindergarten because the children were provided with real tools for real work!

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19 Responses to “the tinkering table”

  1. Scott says:

    He looks so intent and so determined. I love the focus.

    ::: He was so proud of himself Scott! Each time he managed to unscrew something he would run over to show me. I gave him a small yoghurt container for his collection on screws and washers and he carried it around with him. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  2. Glenys says:

    What a fantastic idea!. I have 2 boys one who is always wanting to pull stuff apart and why it never occurred to me to give him something like this is beyond me. terrific!

    ::: Don’t feel too bad Glenys, you’re not the only one … Now go and have some fun with it! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  3. Elise says:

    What a wonderful play idea. Such a sense of achievement would be gained from playing with the real tools.

    I clicked on the link for Ringwood Unting Kindergarten and it looks AMAZING – those teachers are truly dedicated and what a privilege it would be to part of their class.

    ::: We agree Elise, the staff at Ringwood Uniting are amazing and their dedication certainly shows in the environment they have created for their children. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  4. Levi says:

    Hi, my sister sent me a link to your blog and I love it! I actually homeschool and teach several classes at our homeschool co-op. One of the classes is called The Junkyard and we do this same tinkering with kids ranging from 3 to 15 years old. Everyone loves it and we have also put new things together from the parts of various “junk” including re-wiring small voltage fans and motors so they work again. Most of the kids say it is the best class they’ve ever had! Thanks again for your blog!

    ::: Levi welcome to ‘irresistible ideas’. your co-op sounds wonderful. Have you heard of the Austin Tinkering School Blog … I think you might enjoy that one too. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  5. Greg says:

    That’s what they love – to use real toys, & to enable them to use them in realistic contexts is just fabulous. Well Done! πŸ™‚

    ::: You’re so right Greg … they love real tools. It’s so much more meaningful to them πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  6. Gianne says:

    How great! I need to save all the broken stuff because I’m afraid I couldn’t get anything back together afterwards!

    ::: Oh it never goes back together again Gianne … unless of course you give the children a glue gun! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  7. Bianca says:

    I set up a tinkering table last week after viewing your post and it was an absolute hit!!! I have a class of 17 boys and I was amazed at the focus and concentration that they displayed. It even ‘cured’ a sever case of separation anxiety!!!!! Just fabulous πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ Thank you for your ideas…as a primary trained preschool teacher it has really inspired me to follow the children’s interests and at times take their lead. Play based learning is soooooooooo inspiring!

    ::: Yeeeehaaaaaa Bianca! … That is so wonderful to hear. We hope that through ‘irresistible ideas’ more teachers, like you, will be inpired to listen to the children … Good on YOU Bianca! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  8. anne says:

    I have done this before (I found an old Tv dumped on the roadside and raided the parts!} and it is fabulous. It did however raise concerns by a couple of parents about trying this at home! I did follow up with some discussion with the children and haven’t really done it much since…maybe I’ll give it another try.

    ::: Anne If your parents are worried their children are going to try pulling the electrical appliances apart at home without permission then I don’t think they are giving their own children enough credit for common sense. I’m sure your children would LOVE it if you brought the tinkering back! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  9. june says:

    Any reason to be concerned about safety? I work with four year olds…and as much as they would LOVE this tinkering table, I worry about their safety and (ultimately the school’s liability) if someone pokes an eye with a screwdriver or cuts a finger on some sharp plastic. Would safety glasses spoil the fun?

    ::: June we think safety goggles are a great idea! Have fun with your tinkering. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  10. Jen says:

    I love the tinkering idea for boys and girls. We have pulled apart an old laptop. It even became a literacy activity as the children plucked the keys off the keyboard. The dexterity needed to twist a screwdriver is a skill with many benefits. The bits of wiring and circuit boards were treated like treasure. They where rewired or stuck to new art forms and taken home. I would love to know what other fairly safe items others have used successfully in a preschool situation. Are there any know hazards to watch out for? Are there bits inside a TV that might go bang?

    ::: We agree that tinkering is awesome fun Jen. As for things that go bang … Not that we know of! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  11. […] are removed, are great toys to practice taking and putting things back together again.Β  Thanks Irresistable Ideas for the […]

  12. […] had seen a post on the wonderful blog Irresistable IdeasΒ for Play Based about just such a table and immediately looked for a place in the classroom to add our own version […]

  13. The two things I know of that can be dangerous are leaky batteries (easy to spot) and high voltage capacitors (not so easy to spot).

    Capacitors are little electronic bits mostly found on circuit boards, they can sometimes hold an electric charge long after the appliance has been unplugged. Just don’t pull apart microwaves, fluorescent lights, power packs or appliances with large motors and you should be right.

    Cathode Ray Tubes (CRT’s) from old TV’s and computer can also sometimes hold an electric charge so just don’t pull it to pieces.

    If you’re still worried then just wear rubber gloves.


    ::: THANKS for the heads-up SNG! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  14. […] Make a tinkering table with old electronics (remove any batteries first) – we are definitely doing this one! […]

  15. Bianca says:

    I absolutely love this idea and it has been a popular addition to our classroom. After requesting some recycled items from families though one parent expressed concerns that taking apart electrical items can expose ch to mercury? I wouldn’t have thought so but does anyone have any ideas about this?

    ::: Yes, Bianca, we have heard those concerns from time to time too. We doubt that the ordinary run of the mill appliance would pose any problems.

  16. […] It’s Playtime:Above, from left to right:Tinker away with tools at a tinkering table from Irresistible Ideas for Play Based Learning. Boys love anything with real tools!csupamoka2 finds a way to play with homemade moon sand for the […]

  17. […] away with tools at a tinkering table from Irresistible Ideas for Play Based Learning. Boys love anything with real […]

  18. Marnie says:

    I’ve used VCR/DVD combos, radios, cameras, curling irons, cordless phones, etc. Both boys and girls alike loved this time, and ALL wore glasses. it made them feel more authentic, I guess. They sorted all the bits that they took off, and used them to make robots. I would love to set this up as a permanent centre next year…

    ::: Just go for it Marnie … The children will love having access to it all the time. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  19. calum smith says:

    Hi i am setting up a tinker table for my F1s, any no-nos on what to use? I just picked up an ancient TV with the fat back but not sure whether it is safe, Ive always thought it just must not be plugged in, is this the case?
    Thanks a bunch!!!