Tinker Crate is a subscription box that inspires kids to learn about science, engineering, and technology, all while having lots of fun. Each month, the box explores a field of study within a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) discipline. Kids practice their problem-solving skills and learn how to engage in both structured and open-ended exploration and investigation. Most boxes walk the tinkerers through the construction of fairly complex mechanical devices.
This month’s theme is SANTA’S LIGHT-UP WORKSHOP! Everything arrives together in a single Tinker Crate – the supplies, a fold-out instruction sheet, and, ordinarily, the Tinker Zine.
The main project is always a great hands-on activity and a great demonstration of the scientific principles featured in the box, but the Tinker Zine is full of well-written, historically and scientifically accurate background and explanatory materials. This crate is a little different in composition than the normal monthly box, as it is a special Holiday project box. Like the regular crate, it makes a cool, tech-based project, but it omits the Tinker Zine and the extensive treatment of the science behind the project.
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The instructions and other project info are printed on a faux blueprint fold-out sheet.
One side of the sheet has pointers for using your newly-constructed device, plus an inventory of all the supplies provided in the Crate.
The other side contains highly-detailed illustrated instructions with lots of explanatory blurbs, close-ups of technical areas, and arrows to show where parts are to be placed. Because this was a special Holiday project, they even suggested how to decorate your house to look like a gingerbread house!
They give you enough information at every step that you never have to guess what to do next.
They include checkpoints to verify that assembly is going properly, plus, there is help available if needed!
The kit includes all the materials needed to construct your own light-up workshop.
They included some small signs, too!
Here’s a look at the electronic parts, including the battery packs and the LED lights.
The design is very simple and elegant. Instead of having to wire individual LEDS all along the build, it uses a central light strip to illuminate the roof beads through cut-outs.
The lights looked like tiny decorating beads! Here, my daughter strings them on fishing line while my son does the other decorating touches.
Santa would be so happy if he sees this finished workshop!
The LED looks awesome with all that color, and the finishing touches like the label and canes also added fun to the mini-house.
On the other side is the snowman. You can add whatever you want to the basic project, too, painting the house and decorating the snowman however you choose!
Our project looks fantastic when it is lit up! My youngest son uses it as a nightlight — it glows just enough to lighten up the room, and the batteries last a long time with the LEDs.
The kids are so happy with the finished project, and this project saw a lot of display time during the Holidays. If you want to engage your kids in worthwhile offline activities, Tinker Crate is a great subscription to try. It has a great balance of learning, building, and playing – you never build a static model, and there is always some tinkering, experimentation, or other use of the project once it is built. Also, the instructions they provide are simple and comprehensible, making the complex scientific and engineering principles easy for kids to understand!
Have you tried Tinker Crate yet with your kids?