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, we are building a ZOETROPE.
Everything arrives together in a single Tinker Crate – the supplies, a fold-out instruction sheet, and 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 where the lessons really take shape!
This month’s Tinker Zine discusses Thaumatrope, the history of animation, and more!
The Tinker Zine is a superb resource for clearly articulated explanations of mechanical and electronic concepts. They always incorporate diagrams and several real-life examples to illustrate the lessons.
Here, the magazine explains how a zoetrope works, and how it gives life to simple drawings.
It also discusses a very interesting topic, the history of animation!
I love how it features a timeline and how animation evolves from magic lantern to the modern day movies.
Tinker Crate Blueprint + Materials
The instructions and other essential project information are printed on a faux blueprint fold-out sheet.
It lists all the materials needed for this project. They included a large wood disc, small wood disc, marbles, plastic discs, binding post and screw, thick sticky foam donut, thin sticky foam donut, washer, zoetrope wall, filmstrip, animation puzzle sheets, plastic rectangle, and clear stickers. You’ll just need a pair of scissors from home.
It has a lot of explanatory notes, and they highlight or bold important and technical areas.
It has illustrations of all the materials needed for each portion of the assembly. For more complex builds, this is really handy for getting out just what you need for the current step.
Tinker Crate Activities
For this activity, we’ll be needing the wooden and plastic discs, marbles, animation sheets, clear stickers, zoetrope wall, and filmstrips.
These are the materials needed to make the base and assemble the zoetrope.
My son is building the base, he’s stacking the donut foams on the binding post.
After making the base, the kids are now assembling the zoetrope by putting the wall around the base. They’re ready to make an animation!
To make the animation, the kids can choose from several puzzle sheets that are included in the crate.
Aside from several animations, the kids can also make their own, as the crate provided a blank puzzle sheet.
My boys chose the robot, and now, they’re sticking the puzzle sheet on the filmstrip.
The number cards are used to know the correct sequence of the drawings.
They are now done with the arrangement, and ready to test how this zoetrope will bring the picture to life! We’re excited!
You can also test if spinning the zoetrope fast makes the animation look better, or it’s good to just spin it slowly.
They tried to spin the zoetrope fast! For a photo, it’s blurry, but in reality, they can still see how the robot was brought to life, the transition is really fast.
This is one thing that the kids also wanted to try, a flipbook movie!
It’s making an animation by drawing lots of pictures, forming them like a book, and fliping it fast and seeing the drawing brought to life.
The magazine also included other animation techniques that the kids can try, like stop motion movies. These kind of movies are popular back in the day, and now that I have read how it is done, I am more amazed! The kids did a hilarious Lego stop motion film!
Tinker Crate Extensions
The Zine also provided more ways to tinker via the Tinker Library, where they suggest related literature or applications for this month’s topic: Stop Motion Studio from the App Store, and Clayframes – stop motion from Google Play.
This is a great crate! My kids and I are really interested in this month’s topic, which is all about ANIMATION! We love good animation and it’s cool to know how they’re made and materialized. This month’s Tinkerzine is really a good read as it includes the history of animation and also presented some techniques on how they do it. The kids are really delighted with this month’s projects as they were able to do their own! They saved the blank puzzle sheet and now brainstorming on what kind of animation they will create, and had an excellent time with the stop motion activity too.
This is a great way to have quality time with the kids, and we’re always looking forward to the activities this crate sends. They’re always fun and educational, and most of all, we love tinkering stuff!
Have you tried Tinker Crate yet with your kids?