All four of our kids display artistic abilities in various different forms. Each one uses their artistic gifts to express themselves and to process the world around them. In their artistic explorations They are developing critical thinking skills, creatively problem solving and having fun.
Titus loves building, taking things apart and trying to come up with new inventions. He dreams of owning a junk yard with what he says are treasures. Some may see junk, he sees endless tinkering possibilities.
I try my best to listen as my kids talk to me. Not only to hear their heart, but to hear what they do not know they are communicating. In my conversations with him I am watching for the moments his eyes light up, he uses descriptive words, because in these moments he is showing me a little bit of his heart. There are times he has come home and told me about a construction site he saw. I listen to what it was exactly that caught his attention. Was it the management, building, concrete pouring, electrical or other parts of the construction he enjoyed. There could be one element within the big picture that tugged on his heart and mind.
Own, my nephew, is also into tinkering. He spends hours and hours taking toys apart to see how the mechanisms work. He then creates different toys out of the parts. My sister wanting to create a constructive, encouraging environment for Owen created a tinkering station for him. She used an old desk they had around their house, attached a overhead light and bought a low powered drill from Ikea. She gave him storage bins and other organizing containers to keep everything orderly. Titus saw his cousin’s station and of course had dreams of a tinkering station of his own.
I knew ours would need to be bigger, because with three big kids they would need elbow room. I also wanted to bring in the ability to use it as a play-doh station, painting, crafting and taking things apart.
Our first step was to purge their toys. If we were going to bring this element into our home we needed organization. We threw away broken toys, donated other toys to the Salvation Army and rearranged the rest.
The first item our kids were able to take a part was an organ we had inherited with the house. We tried to sell it or donate it and we had no takers. So, we worked together as a family and took it apart. Our kids have had so much fun experiencing the inner workings of the various parts.
In our tinkering station we used an old end table with shelves, we also put in a shelving unit we were no longer using and bins for nuts, bolts and other small parts. I imagine we will eventually add wood working tools to their tinkering station as they mature and are able to tackle bigger products.
I look forward to seeing the inventions our kids create. I also look forward to hearing the problem solving, critical thinking skills, math and language arts skills it took to complete their projects. I’ll keep you posted as we update, change and dial in their new favorite place in the house.