Tinkerlab blog tour and giveaway

tinkerlabcoverNote: I was given a review copy of this book and there are affiliate links in this post. Thanks!

Friends, I think you’re going to love today’s post. I’m giving away a copy of my friend Rachelle Doorley’s incredible new book Tinkerlab to one lucky Simple Kids reader!

7.28.14 This giveaway is now closed and winners will be announced soon.  Thanks!



I know that many of you are familiar with Rachelle’s wonderful blog and with her creative challenges and prompts. I personally am a big fan of both. I have felt a connection to Rachelle and her work with kids and her artistic voice ever since I discovered her blog a few years ago. In the crowded world of kid blogging, Tinkerlab stands out and part of the reason is the very talented writer behind it.

So, I was really excited to learn last year that Rachelle was writing a book and I jumped at the chance to be a part of the Tinker-Circle group as she was writing and to help promote this incredible resource through the blog tour team.

The day our copy of Tinkerlab, a Hands-On Guide for Little Inventors: 55 Playful Experiments That Encourage Tinkering, Curiosity, & Creative Thinking arrived the kids and I were thrilled! This is a gorgeous book to look at, but more than inspiring pictures, there are so many projects and ideas and Rachelle encourages you and your kids to “tinker” – to create, explore, find that inner artist and just to play.

Hmmm, tinkering, creating, exploring, and curiosity.  Yes, that sounds perfect for the Fleck kids!


I think the arts and crafts are one of the best tools we can give our kids (and ourselves) for self expression. No two people, including kids, will approach art or the process of creating art in exactly the same way. This book not only encourages that individual “tinkering” but celebrates it.

Tinkerlab takes the kids craft book to the next level:  beyond just amazing projects (and there are some truly unique ideas here), Rachelle goes into the hows and whys of tinkering, encouraging parents to embrace the mess (one of my personal mottos) and to see mistakes as gifts.

Sprinkled throughout the book, like little gems, are some thought-provoking essays by various authors that this artist/mama/maker found really inspiring and helpful.  My favorite, as a parent who also strives to live simply, is the essay on the benefits of basic materials by Jennifer Winters, the director of Bing Nursery School at Stanford University.

How much do the kids and I love this book? So much so that just spending a summer with it hasn’t been enough.  Tinkerlab and it’s wonderful 55 play experiments will be included in our 2014-2015 homeschool curriculum, though honestly I think this one will be in our hearts and on our creative table for a long time to come.

The Giveaway

One lucky winner TWO lucky winners will receive one copy of the book Tinkerlab.

To enter

Answer the following question in the comments on this blog post (if you’re reading via a reader or email, you’ll have to click through and visit the blog to leave your answer): What are your child’s current favorite creative materials?

Note: this giveaway is open to residents of the US, the UK, Australia, and Canada.  This giveaway will end at midnight EST on Friday July 25, 2014. Winners will be chosen by random.org. Thanks and good luck!

Can’t wait?

If you can’t wait to get your hands on a copy of Tinkerlab for you and your kids (and who can blame you?) then head to your favorite bookseller.

Buy Tinkerlab here:

blog tour 2

Want to visit the rest of the blogs with sneak peeks and giveaways on the Tinkerlab tour? Here’s the lineup of the blogs following Simple Kids on the tour:

About Kara

Kara Fleck is the editor of Simple Kids. She is a small town mama, writer, knitter, bookworm, and hooligan. Kara lives in Indiana with her husband Christopher and their four children Jillian, Max, Lucy, and Amelia. You can find more of her writing at KElizabethFleck.com.

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  1. Glitter and pastels!

  2. Rebecca says:

    Honestly, cardboard boxes. We currently have a box police car in the playroom (big enough to fit both of them), a box rocket (for Buzz Lightyear) and a box treasure chest. The box fire station is awaiting recycling after it just got too battered. There are always cardboard boxes in our house.

  3. Fernanda says:


  4. My daughter loves paint, and my son loves markers!

  5. Paint and play dough…though not together…not yet, at least. Although our favorite project of late was creating fairy gardens from scratch. We had so much fun!
    Amy´s latest post: Top Ten Things That Drain Me

  6. Heather says:

    My daughter is loving water color pencils right now

  7. A sketchbook, pencil and her imagination! They have taken us from doddle shapes, to shopping lists, to fairytale characters, to pen pal letters and more!
    Michelle´s latest post: 15 June 2014

  8. Paint paint and MORE paint!

  9. Marshalene says:

    My boys love play dough and sidewalk chalk.

  10. My 4 yearold son prefers to build with scrap wood and nails right now. My daughter loves to glue things right now so her tools of choice are a glue stick and construction paper.
    Siné´s latest post: 4 yearold Logic

  11. My son recently discovered pastels at school, so we had to buy him a set for home.
    Suze´s latest post: Monday Morning Round-up: A Few Favorite Apps, Websites, and Blogs.

  12. Breezie says:

    pencil and paper and colored pencils.

  13. simple colored pencils get the most use these days!
    kortney´s latest post: wonders

  14. My son received a huge art box for his birthday, and he has been exploring all the colored pencils, markers, crayons, and pastels.

  15. Carol in NM says:

    Duct tape, masking tape, scotch tape, string and cardboard!

  16. My son loves pipe cleaners, rubber bands and magnets most. My daughter loves playdoh, colors of any kind (markers, paint, etc.) and beads. :)
    Sarah M
    Sarah M´s latest post: Into the Wilderness We Go…

  17. Natalie says:

    We are fans of cardboard, masking tape, sticks, and leaves.

  18. Mud. He LOVES mud. We keep running out of sand in the sand bin (on a table) (and outside, thank goodness) because he puts in the swimming pool — to make mud. But then he also likes to scoop water from the swimming pool to add to the sand bin to make… guess… mud. Playdough and paint are a tie for 2nd place, I think. I prefer thick paper and a soft pencil. 😛
    Mama Rachael´s latest post: An end, or a means to an end?

  19. crayons and markers. I’m reading the book “Drawing with Children” so got him a bunch of new markers so we can start “arting” together.

  20. Painting and sketching right now.

  21. Duct tape and a cool glue gun!

  22. Lacy Sanford says:

    I have three boys and they are always asking for things to create with . Lots of tape and cardboard at the moment! This book would be a blessing to our homeschool year!!

  23. my kids love painting & glue….puffy paint seems to be the biggie right now!

  24. Heather Kowalski says:

    Glitter and scented gel pens!

  25. Rebecca says:

    Crayons, scissors, and empty boxes!

  26. They love love love modelling clay, like Sculpey.
    Robin from Frugal Family Times´s latest post: Unbundle Yourself: Part 4 – VOIP for Phone and cutting off our Bell Bill completely

  27. Shereen says:

    Right now my four year old son is pretty into the basic markers and notebook. I have a small set that I keep in my purse to pull out when needed and it always keeps him occupied.

  28. Carrie White says:

    My two year old loves drawing with chalk on the chalkboard, and with crayons on colorful paper.

  29. Cardboard boxes and markers!
    Teish´s latest post: Homeschool Must-Haves

  30. Alicia G says:

    Our “builder box” which is random bits of things that would usually end up in the recycling bin plus a roll of tape.

  31. One boy (4 y.o.) loves stickers right now (and meticulously places each one on whatever he is making), while the other boy (2 1/2 y.o.) primarily sticks to markers for creating.
    Katie May´s latest post: After a Miscarriage: Responding to Your Own or Another’s Miscarriage

  32. One word: legos
    I finally gave up feeling like he needed to keep his sets together, because he is much more creative just building his own little creations or vignettes.

  33. Laura Smith says:

    Right now my kids are all about Duct Tape and Rainbow Looms!

  34. Currently colored pencils and gimp cord

  35. Paper, all sizes, textures, weights, coloure ! We cut, glue, sticker, paint , tape, staple, use paper fasteners, markers, crayons. But we love all the different types of paper.

  36. Paper, scissors, tape, and markers.

  37. My girls are wild – WILD – about playsilks, brown paper grocery bags, and my biggest metal mixing bowls for scooting around the house.

  38. Right now, we’re pretty basic at my house — My child’s current favorite creative materials are crayons and markers. He loves to draw, and I’ve invested in some washable markers because he somehow gets color all over his entire little body!

  39. My kid thinks it’s Christmas when I break out the paints!

  40. Stephanie says:

    Watercolors, colored pencils, and sticks

  41. jenifer says:

    Scotch tape!

  42. For my 6 yr. old son it is definitely colored pencils right now. They provide him the fine tip he needs for his new found joy of creating smaller more detailed drawings. For my 3 yr. old it is play dough. He is mostly very large motor but enjoys using play dough to create because he can really use his muscles to squeeze, shape, push and manipulate the play dough. We have found it to be a wonderful outlet for that physical need because otherwise he tends to pinch and push people a lot.

  43. Allison says:

    Currently large tubes and recycled aluminum foil are their favorite mediums!

  44. Lindsay Partridge says:

    sidewalk chalk! they just want to be outside as much as possible.

  45. Christine says:

    Paint, lots of colors.

  46. Staci A says:

    Chalk and pencils.

  47. Jennifer Woodward says:

    My kids are 3 and 18 months. We don’t do many craft days (yet). I was brave and pulled out the red and blue paint to try pipe cleaner fireworks last week. The girls LOVED it!

  48. Cynthia says:

    My oldest loves pencil crayons and a fresh piece of paper, as well as perler beads for something more 3D. My middle one prefers paint or scissors, while the youngest is happy with pencil crayons and something she’s allowed to colour on!

  49. markers and papers do it for us!

  50. Leslie C. says:

    My daughter exclaimed yesterday while creating… “I love tape!”

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