Tinkering School

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February Fun 2014

Break Camp Day 5 : So Many Things

February Fun 2014Josh Rothhaas

In just 5 days these kids and collaborators built a plethora of artifacts. Croquette/shuffle board hybrid, foosball table, ping pong table, mini ping pong table, two rubber band based pin ball machines, a swing set, a bean bag toss, and rubber band ball run. We are delighted and exhausted!

Most of the project's just needed a few touches, but the foosball table need 5 hands working for a solid 2 hours. 

Break Camp Day 3 : A Swing!

February Fun 2014Josh Rothhaas

Today the pinball machine neared completion. The swing got reinforced. And, the foosball table started taking shape. Wednesday is a tricky day where if there are any choke points in the projects, we have found them and are stuck on them. Some kids get frustrated. Some kids disengage. Some kids muscle through.

At Tinkering School we just keep plugging along. Some of the collaborators fully investing in the project, modeling what it looks like to stick it through. Other collaborators spin off to support the kids who can't engage, meet them where they are and help start mini-mid-week projects that re-engage and put kids back in their comfort zone. Today was book making and tons of imaginative play with the construction toys.

The big project highlight of the day was the push to stabilize and finish the swing. Rocking in every direction, our original design needed some beefing up. We added diagonal pieces all over the place and made huge strides in rigidity. By the end of the day it was safe enough to play on!

Break Camp Day 4 : Foosball, More Swinging, Table Tenis

February Fun 2014Josh Rothhaas

Each morning we attempt to create a calm but creative space to walk into. It's time to say hello to our friends, wake up a bit, and get our brains thinking. 

The moment the clock strikes 9:30am, we dive right in. Having nearly "finished" the swing in one day. We've spent the next two reinforcing it, adding details and really making sure it works.

All the while the pinball machine entered a whole new level of colorful. Dubbed gum-ball machine camouflage, it was determined that this color scheme would be ideal for hiding in a gum-ball machine.

Side projects are flourishing as confidence grows and kids get an understanding of the shop. 

Today the foosball table team made great strides. Early on in our work we used a very warped piece of wood. This has come back to haunt us again and again as we try and get the whole thing to sit flat.

The oldest group felt confident their swing had achieved a certain level of "done" and decided to move on. Next up, a ping pong table.

Can we finish them all? Tomorrow is our last chance.

Break Camp Day 2 : Bowling, Pinball and a Swing Set

February Fun 2014Josh Rothhaas

The urge to make kicks in within 10 minutes of walking through the door. A few kids gather around some wooden dominoes and start going for the longest chain. Their teamwork gets them to over 120 in just a few minutes.

On day two we tend to catch the kids a little off guard. Yesterday involved so much description, talking, safety, and generally getting to know how this place works. But on day two we are off and running right after morning circle.

We began painting our bowling pins.

Today some projects finished, some projects just started and one project started and nearly finished. One of the more ambitious projects of the week involves our oldest group trying to build a swing set. As of this morning, it was just an idea. By the end of the day we were just a few pieces of parachord away from a swing set.

After park we ate some lunch we got right back to making. The pinball machine made great progress and the bowling ball alley project took a turn for the beautiful.

Find more photos on our flickr.

Break Camp Day 1 : Fun and Games

February Fun 2014Josh Rothhaas

Today was the first day of February Break Camp. The theme for the week: Fun and Games. We are working on a series of things inspired by our favorite games; a miniature bowling alley, a shuffle board / croquet hybrid, and a bean bag toss and a marble run to start.  

The day began with our standard tool and safety intro. Drills & Drivers, Chop Saw, and Clamps are all we cover. From that basic foundation everything else emerges.

By the time we went through safety training, announced the project and started designing, it was already park time. We spend an hour every day just running around outside, playing group games and soaking up the sun. It's an essential piece in our puzzle as we manage focus and energy levels and create a rhythm for the kids and the staff while we pursue our more ambitious projects.

From there we got right to it! Building and cutting, planning and prototyping.

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