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 GLOWING PENDULUM!
Everything arrives together in a single Tinker Crate – the supplies, a fold-out instruction sheet, and the Tinker Zine.
DEAL: Use this link to save 40% on your first box of Tinker Crate! (or Kiwi Crate and the KiwiCo family subscriptions Koala Crate and Doodle Crate).
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 where the lessons really take shape!
The Tinker Zine does a great job of explaining the technology and introducing it in a way that catches the interests of the kids. This issue started out by providing the summary of content inside by showing some illustration and cute doodles.
One side of the sheet explains the Chaos Theory accidentally discovered by Sir Edward Lorenz, showing how simple rounding off numbers can lead to a very complicated effect. This one is a very interesting discovery!
The other side contains pictures of thrilling rides from amusement parks that use chaotic movements. It means means a slightest miscalculation may result to a totally different experience!
This sheet illustrates different simple ways of experiencing chaotic actions like the boiling of pasta, putting color on milk, and even baking!
Meanwhile, here’s some trivia about fluorescence and how they worked when hit by an ultraviolet light. They also featured some animals and things that have a natural fluorescence in them.
Tinker Crate Blueprint + Materials
Shown on this page are the breakdown of materials needed to build a glowing pendulum and experiment with chaotic motion!
The kit includes all the materials needed to construct your own glowing pendulum.
The step-by-step instructions guide you through the project. They are clearly written and very easy to follow, pointing out potential pitfalls so you don’t go astray.
Tinker Crate Activities
My kids, currently 9 & 7, were able to assemble the entire kit on their own! Tinker Crate has checkpoints where you should stop & test the item and make sure that it was properly made, so you don’t have to undo your work.
Setting up was fun and enjoyable! The detailed instructions helped a lot.
After making sure that the LED arm is properly assembled and is working, the final step is to carefully attach it to the glow board.
When you turn on the LED, lift the pendulum arm and fling it down to send it spinning. It produces different patterns on the board, like this circle! (We used a long exposure to create this effect with our pendulum.)
It produces random wave of lights before it totally stops!
Due to the unique materials on the board, light remains on the board a little bit after the source is removed.
Tinker Crate Extension Activities
You may also try other activities like Glowing Maze Race or just change the angle of the Glow Board to see how amazing chaotic motion really works!
Even more activities included in the crate: Invisible Ink and Glow Board Graffiti!
In the Invisible Ink activity, you can write secret messages that can only be read when flashed with Ultra Violet lights! UV led and citric acid were provided in the box, the only thing we needed from home were paper and warm water.
Tinker Crate has been very consistent in bringing great STEM activities. This month’s pendulum activity was a hit with the kids, they had fun owning the assembly process as well as in watching the lights come to life in different patterns. Another favorite is the Invisible Ink, there’s just something so fun about writing secret messages especially if there’s some science involved. Overall, we love this crate because they explain processes and lessons in a simple and understandable way, so that even a young child can fully grasp the ideas. This subscription is really fun and keeps kids mentally engaged. If you are looking for an activity that will further develop your kids especially in the STEM area, this is the perfect subscription for it!
Have you tried Tinker Crate yet with your kids?