Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Rachelle Doorley's NEW "TinkerLab: A Hands-On Guide For Little Inventors" Book Review and Giveaway!

Sponsored Post Disclosure: I received a free copy of the "TinkerLab" book in exchange for sharing my opinions with you. As always, all opinions are my own and truthful. 

I am very honored to be participating in the TinkerLab book launch blog tour, 
sharing Rachelle Doorley's (of TinkerLab blog) wonderful new book with all of you! 
Rachelle and I have "known" each other as colleagues and fellow bloggers for many years now, I adore the activities she sets up with her own two daughters and always love getting little glimpses into her beautiful and creative home here on the West Coast. 

As soon as my book arrived in the mail I took it upstairs to the art studio 
and dug in - so many great ideas to mark with the girls for fun things to try this summer!

I love the way she makes art materials accessible to her own daughters, the way I do. 
I believe that children should have open access to art supplies and tinkering materials so they can create, explore, and imagine whenever the creative muse strikes them! 
She explains in her book how to set up a creative space for your family to use. 
We are fortunate enough to have an entire room devoted to art making and creating in our home.

I set up this corner of our new art studio for the girls and their friends. 
I have several "kid-friendly" self-serve art supplies and materials for them to use whenever they want
as well as an Ikea easel that has a magnetic dry-erase board on one side and a chalkboard on the other. We also have this sturdy table and chairs that I picked up at a garage sale (for $20!) last month waiting with "invitations to create" - it currently has some watercolor paper, a glass jar of fresh water, a permanent black marker, and watercolor paints waiting for someone to get to work! 

My favorite piece of advice from Rachelle in this book about "self-serve" art materials or areas for your kids is to "make it work for you." This is FANTASTIC advice. 

Don't set out self-serve materials that make you crazy. For me, this would be acrylic paint, oil pastels, chalk pastels, and glitter. I like to have a little more control when those materials are used so I don't leave them out for the girls to get by themselves. They need to ask me first and I'd like to be in the room or nearby when they use them. 

I do have their shelves stocked with supplies that don't stress me out. 
I have no problem with  self serve access to: washi tape, construction paper, graph paper, 
tracing paper, contact paper, fun scissors, markers, craft foam, 
permanent markers, stencils, duct tape, perler beads (but they need mom for the Iron part!), 
crayons, colored pencils, watercolors, pom-poms, googly eyes, ribbon scraps, 
felt, yarn, and popsicle sticks.

NOTE: Please keep in mind that my girls are 11 and 7 years old 
and have been using these materials for years. 
I did not allow them to have access to all of those supplies (e.g. permanent markers) 
when they were toddlers! We've added to the supplies gradually over the years.

My very favorite thing I took away from Rachelle's new book (and her blog!) are her hands-on opportunities or "Creative Invitations."  This is just setting out some art materials or supplies in an inviting way, clearing away distracting clutter, and giving kids an opportunity to create something in an open-ended manner. They don't have to be complicated, frequently less is more and keeping it simple makes it fun for everyone. I love this, it was something I did in my own classroom and love doing it with my daughters and their friends. It emphasizes the process not the product although in my experience, the girls usually come up with some really beautiful and creative "products" as well! 

I am planning to set up "Invitations to Create" all summer break for the girls. 
It will be a great way for us to connect with art and explore some materials together!
You can follow our set-ups this summer and share your own with us via Instagram 
#invitationtocreate and #creativitymatters

I laughed when I saw Rachelle's art cart stocked with supplies for her kids.
We have the same one, picked up at Ikea last year stocked with crayons, colored pencils, colored masking tape, "fancy" scissors, markers, crayon rocks, washable glue, and scissors. 
I love the way we can roll it right up to the table or easel while the girls are working, then roll it out of the way again if we need more room to work. If you don't have room for a whole cabinet of kid art supplies or a room in your house as a studio, this cart makes a fantastic portable art center. 
It rolls up wonderfully to the kitchen table, dining room, playroom, back porch, you name it!

This book would be a fantastic summer resource for so many parents and teachers I know. 

For more sneak peeks, giveaways, and reviews, check out the following blogs on her blog tour! 
Happy Tinkering and Creating! 


Pink and Green Mama, MaryLea

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