We began just recently offering Tinker Time over the lunch hour. I wasn’t sure how it would go, so basically decided to dive in and make adjustments as needed.
A few decisions were made at the get go: we are a K-3 school, but wanted tinkering time to be multi-age. To make numbers manageable, we invited three students from each class to join us in free tinkering, often with a materials theme.
Students creating insects from Lego.
So far we have offered building with straws and connectors, Lego, marble runs, Scratch Jr., and making with cardboard and plasticine for starters.
Our rules are simple: include and help each other, everyone cleans up, and be on time for class.
Feedback from teachers has been very positive. The students love the opportunity to work with different students, and mess around with materials in an unstructured environment.
Older student working with grade one.
Upcoming ideas include making with paper (origami), cardboard arcade games, practising with tools (hammers and screwdrivers), taking things apart and putting them back together, tinkering with magnetic poetry kits and cameras to photograph poetry, to name a few.
When I have asked students if they would like specific ideas for tinkering, they are adamant in their response. No.
I am wondering because their lives are so structured they are happy to have time throughout the day to just play with materials.