“Educational, but make it fun!” That’s the goal, not only with our museum, but with our weekly classes as well.
If you’ve signed up for our newsletter or seen any of our monthly calendars, you’ve probably heard about our Tinkerlab class. It happens every Saturday at 11am, but what is Tinkerlab exactly?
Well, Tinkerlab is just what it sounds like! It’s a maker’s workshop-type of session where children get to discover, imagine and create with STEM (science, mathematics, engineering, and technology)-based lessons. It’s a hands-on class created to help children focus, generate new skills and drive imagination. From crafts and challenges to instructor-led experiments, each Tinkerlab session is bound to teach your child something new while they have fun.
SGCM Education Specialist Jessica Anderson is the mind behind the weekly tinker sessions. She said Tinkerlab is the perfect opportunity to encourage children to use their imagination to focus, problem-solve and think not only creatively, but critically.
“I think Tinkerlab gives kids a chance to recognize that they can work hard on a problem and they can figure something out,” Anderson said. “They are full of imagination and they’re dang smart!”
Anderson said informal, hands-on learning environments like Tinkerlab help to supplement and solidify any learning that’s happening in a classroom or home setting. This is because, at Tinkerlab, children learn by doing; they are the ones getting involved and making things happen.
The New School of Architecture and Design published an article all about hands-on learning and how it is one of the most intriguing, and effective forms of learning.
“Barring severe shyness or anxiety, hands-on learning is uniquely positioned to support or elevate any type of learner,” the article states. “Hands-on learning uproots this tired, traditional classroom instruction, allowing students to move, discuss, interact with, and truly engage within the lesson.”
The article, although written for adults, shines light on the importance of learning in out-of-the-box, non-traditional ways.
“I think any environment that’s not so structured increases the ability to learn and the want to learn,” said Anderson. “Being at a place like the children’s museum, where you’re surrounded by fake cows that you can milk and a grocery store that you can shop in and all this fun stuff, [children] don’t know that they’re learning the whole time, but they are. Adding weekly classes and getting kids involved just amplifies our mission and purpose as a museum, as well as helps kids to learn to enjoy learning.”
SGCM Intern, Josey Smith, agreed Tinkerlab offers children the opportunity to learn in unique ways while having fun. Smith assists in the planning and teaching of Tinkerlab classes, and she said she enjoys having the opportunity to teach and learn in a relaxed, fun environment.
“[Kids] have a sense of creativity I think people lose as they grow up,” she said. “Tinkerlab has made me realize just how clever kids are.”
Learning happens anywhere and everywhere, and weekly classes like Tinkerlab, are a great way to take advantage of learning opportunities for your children. It’s also a great way for parents, guardians and caretakers to take an active part in their child’s learning. The best Tinkerlab classes happen when caretakers are involved, asking their own questions and guiding their child. It’s important for children to have mentors, and having an adult they look up to participate, builds excitement and interest. If you think learning is cool, they will too!
Tinkerlab is a weekly class that offers so much more than a lesson. It offers opportunities for families to spend quality time having fun, learning and experimenting. Although Tinkerlab was just added to our weekly schedule in January, we’ve already made lots of memories, learned a ton and made so many friends along the way.
Anderson said: “Learning opportunities for children are everywhere, we just have to learn to recognize them. It’s exciting to see kids have confidence in their learning abilities. Kids are limitless.”
Want to get involved? Visit our digital calendar of events or pick one up when you stop by for a museum visit! Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter to be the first to learn about the month’s Tinkerlab classes.
Do you have Tinkerlab ideas? Let us know!