Why don’t rocks float? How do you get the best bubbles? What’s the secret to super-fluffy pancakes? If your kids have turned into a question machine, indulge in their curious nature with Rachelle Doorley’s Tinkerlab. With 55 easy-to-follow, hands-on projects that cover topics like art, tech, science and nature, get your little inventor on route to becoming a problem solver and figuring out how stuff works.

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Play, Learn & Ask Away!
If you’ve caught your kiddo taking things apart, or building questionable contraptions to get something (or somewhere), then you’re going to love Tinkerlab. Or maybe you already follow Rachelle Doorley’s website, and want a hardcopy to unlocking more creative experiences with your kids. This book is all about teaching kids, especially those ages six and under, how to dive deep into understanding and exploring concepts rather than checking off experiments like a grocery list.

Experiments fit into four categories: Design, Build, Concoct and Discover. Each projects in the section grows progressively more complex, while repeatedly exposing kids to the same materials so that, on top of learning, they can see how one material can have limitless exploration and experimentation.

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Projects You’ll Love
You can start simple with art dice, a tossing game that lets kids learn shapes, colors and vocab while building drawings skills. Then move on to refine those motor skills through watercolors. See how paint reacts on paper, salt, coffee filters, glue and more. Tinkerlab teaches you how to make every step fun, from perking the interest of kids through the suggestion of play (instead of instructing with expectations), asking easy observation questions, to delving deep into understanding the concept of “Why?” and visually identifying the answers to “How?” through trial and error.

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Why Tinkerlab Rocks
You won’t find a better creative hub for kid-friendly projects that celebrate open-ended discovery and experimentation. The vibrant, detailed photos, inspirational quotes and plethora of sample questions are a sure way to encourage your kiddo’s curious nature. But our favorite part is how the book makes a solid case for loving a good mess. All that newfound knowledge that your kid soaks up trumps the need to clean — at least for a few moments.

Tinkerlab by Rachelle Doorley (Shambhala Publications, Inc. 2014) Available at Powells; $21.95

Got a handsy tot who loves to take things apart? Tell us what discoveries they made below! 

— Christal Yuen

Click HERE to discover more hands-on projects that’ll get those little brains churning.