I’ve been looking at these for the last few gifts I’ve given Deacon, my 6yr. old grandson. He’s a creative guy. I thought his visit last week might be the perfect time for me to try it out.

It’s a box … can you guess what type of box?

A. Subscription Box B. Sensory Box C. Cardboard Box D. Bento Box E. None of the above

If you guessed … E. None of the Above, you are CORRECT!

I put together a….. TINKER-BOX!

Ever heard of it?

What is a TINKER-BOX you ask?

It’s similar to a creative box. It includes craft items, workbench items, trash items and anything you decide to throw in.

The user uses their vast imagination to create whatever their mind comes up with … limitless!! It’s not for grownups to suggest, or hover, try to improve, or make suggestions. It’s up to the user to figure it all out by themselves! It’s only limited by the supplies you provide and “tinker time” given.

Obviously, I made it age appropriate with tools and supplies, so minimum assistance is needed. Part of the theory is for users to grow in independence, experimentation, design and making thoughts come to life.

At the moment, I didn’t have a cardboard box, so I used a basket.

Here are some items I included:

Buttons, Pom-poms, Popsicle sticks, Pipe cleaners, Yarn, Scissors, Ruler, Stapler, Pliers, Paper – white & colored, Clothespins, Googly eyes, Jewels, Glue stick, Washi tape, Painter’s tape, Paper clips, Feathers, Beads, Ribbon, Wire, Stickers, Ink pad, Hole punch, Rubber bands, Tubing, Towel/Toilet Paper rolls, Wooden dowel, Containers, Straws, Paper plates/cups/bowls, Paper bags, Ziplocks bags, Cleaned empty food containers, String, Rubber bands.

Our morning was busy with engaging play. His younger brother was arriving about 2:30pm, so after lunch, I announced I had a surprise for playtime. I put a sheet on the floor and introduced Deacon to his TINKER-BOX!

I wish I had a pic of his face! He was one big smile with shivers of excitement!

He said, “Zee Zee, you sure know what I love!”

My “ZeeZee cup” filled to running over!! He dropped to the floor inspecting all the contents of his “box”.

His first question… “I can use all of this?”

Me: “You sure can. Make whatever you want!”

Next question… “Zee Zee, what does tinker mean?”

I used my improvised definition… “It means using things to figure out how to make something.”

He had two hours to work and work he did. The day prior, at his other grand’s house, he made a mask of a character in his video game named Beatbot.

He decided he wanted to make a costume for the mask. Twice he asked for help… wanting me to look up a picture of Beatbot on my iPad and to help cut eye holes in a second mask he constructed. Hearing him talk while he worked, explaining what he was doing, was priceless.

It was fun to watch him work, process, and work it out! What a treat!!

One thing I was glad to see; he didn’t let the plethora of things stall his creativity or block his efforts. Sometimes, too many things make it difficult to decide what to do. But, that did not deter him for a minute!!

Judge for yourself… I think he did a fabulous job for a six-year-old!!

Here is what the character Beatbot looks like…

Drum Roll please ……

Here is Deacon’s self designed and executed costume…

The resemblance is definitely there!! The band around the back to hold the costume up impressed me! He wanted to make the hands and feet too, but time ran out! He made a second mask that was another character, but couldn’t get farther than that! The time flew by!!

He asked if he could take the box home, but they will be moving soon; I doubt they need another box! Perhaps, his next gift occasion will include a TINKER-BOX and then for future events, I can gift or take him a few more things for the box, keeping it stocked!

He told me, “Zee Zee, I may want to be an art teacher when I grow up!”

I know he can be whatever he desires!!

My daughter used to love Barney, the big purple dinosaur. The TINKER-BOX reminded her of Barney’s purple bag. When they opened the purple bag, it contained items for a creative project. She said she always wished she had that purple bag to create what they were creating. She would have loved a TINKER-BOX as a child! Of course, she did end up with an Art degree so somewhere she found inspiration and built her creative muscle.

Of course, you can grow the tinkerbox items with age. I can imagine some grand experiments, exploration and creativity budding and blooming from the box.

Maybe you know a younger one who may enjoy the simple pleasure and creativity boost from a box filled with stuff from your home, craft stash, garage, basement, and/or recycle bin contains!  I think their parents will appreciate a place/box to keep it contained!

You could be encouraging an artist, designer, architect, engineer, handyperson, or Art Teacher!

Sharpening a child’s creative thoughts and implementations gives them a tool to apply to all areas of life!

Do you have any “tinkering” memories?

Tinkering Twinkles,