Friday, March 25, 2011

A Tinkering Place

I've been thinking a lot about a "permanent" tinkering place to add to our indoor environment. It is difficult to find the balance of space sometimes, as at the end of the day, this is our home. We devote the entire first floor of the house to the childcare, where most people would have a living room, we have a giant classroom! Filled from floor to ceiling with equipment (toys, books, etc... ) for the children.
(This photo was taken awhile back, but it gives you a general idea of the first room you enter in our home daycare)

(Looking at these photos reminds me that I really need to take some newer photos of the classroom!)

This week, Mr. Allan and I started to install our tinkering station. We decided that it would be best placed in the kitchen near all of the arts and crafts supplies. We started with a peg board and shelf.

 Then, I started to stock it with hand tools and moved the shelf of recyclables (the shelf that has the alternating colored baskets in it) over under the peg board. It is filled with metal lids, plastic caps, odds and ends of plastic, mesh nets from produce, peg clothes pins, Popsicle sticks, etc.  We also added a cart of bins for odds and ends pieces of wood, corks, string, fabrics, etc.

As with all of the other areas, I know that this one will evolve over time. I am really excited to have a space devoted to storing our real tools that is now in the area that the children use. (Previously, we stored them in the basement and we retrieved them when needed.) I think that having the tools readily available and plain sight will encourage us to use them more!

I know that taking the majority of our art supplies and organizing them where children could see and access them more readily encouraged more mixed mediums and creative use.  Here is what our art supply area looks like:

We also have a couple of shelves with other arts and crafts supplies and closet filled with more stuff! (And no, I won't be showing any photos any time soon of that closet! It tends to collect a lot of odds and ends.) We have a very child-driven program, and like to have materials ready for use at their level. If a child can reach it and does not come from a box or container that needs to be open, the child can choose to use it without asking for permission.  For this reason, materials that require assistance are stored in covered totes or up higher.

Our kitchen table is child sized, and well loved. We actually found it on a curbside. Someone was getting rid of it because it had a broken leg. We need to make it short for the children, so we cut off all of the legs at a shorter length! Over time, the table top has become a collection of project residue. (Hot glue chunks, paint, etc..... ) Instead of getting a new table, we cut and stained a new table top. So, when we need a nice table for eating or sitting, we put the new top on. When we are working on arts and crafts... and now.. .tinkering.... we will just remove it!

I can't wait to see what the children think about this new addition! Do you have any suggestions for tinkering items? 


Christie - Childhood 101 said...

Wow, I can't believe that is your home, it looks like a purpose built classroom - if you know what I mean?!?! I love the idea of your tinkering station.

diane said...

I swear you can re-purpose anything! Makes me think about what I am throwing away!!

Wendy said...

Does your family eat at the child sized table or is that a classroom specific item?

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