In an age of prepackaged toys, it is important to provide opportunities for young children to ‘tinker’ with a variety of materials.Loose parts, recycled and natural materials and a selection of tools enables the children to problem solve, experience failure, experiment with trial and error, and use their imaginations to create in innovative ways. Tinkering develops spatial and rotational abilities, which are important to both geometry and engineering. More importantly, human beings are naturally makers of things.Tinkering provides opportunities for the children to learn to be resourceful and develop confidence as they fix and make things with their hands.
The children have enjoyed ‘messing about’ with a selection of materials, and real tools. This area is one that they frequently chose to work in. They are cognizant of safety, and always remember to wear their safety goggles. Hammering is their favourite thing to do. They have also shown great perseverance and problem solving when finding out for themselves how to use a screwdriver. They made the connection between the shape of the screw head and the shape of the screwdriver bit themselves, after much trial and error. They have discovered magnetism independently as they explored parts of a computer.Skills learned during tinkering will now be applied as they begin work with cardboard boxes, in their latest investigation, “Transformation and Innovation”.