Rosie Revere, Engineer… Tinkering Station

I know you are going to love today’s guest post! Anne from Left Brain Craft Brain is introducing a new book (yay!) and sharing an idea of how to expand on it. We love it already right?

Thanks for inviting me over to A Mom With a Lesson Plan today! I’m excited to share one of our recent book adventures… We’ve fallen in love with a book called Rosie Revere, Engineer and set up a Tinkering Station to go along with it. (This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for helping support our craft supply budget!) It’s an inspiring story about a smart little girl who likes to tinker with trash and make amazing contraptions. But her inventions don’t always work quite right so she gets frustrated. That is, until a very special family member takes her aside and teaches her that failure is the first step in inventing something spectacular.

Tinkering Station for Young Engineers

Tinkering Station Supplies

It doesn’t take much to set up your own Tinkering Station. A few items from the recycling bin and some odds and ends like tape and bolts and you’re ready to go. Plus, don’t forget a journal and pen so the kids can record their ideas. Here’s what I laid out for The Babe:

Tinkering Station for Young Engineers

  • nuts and bolts
  • hole punch
  • tape
  • rubber bands
  • old chop sticks
  • recycled cardboard
  • recycled bottles
  • ruler
  • twine
  • leftover wheels from a broken toy
  • journal
  • pen / markers

Let the Tinkering Begin

What’s the goal here? Some open-ended creative play for your kiddo. Just lay everything out, step back and slyly observe 🙂 I have to say, this was one of The Babe’s favorite Left Brain Craft Brain projects so far. And because of that, it was really cool to watch her get into it. She’s 3 1/2, and hasn’t ever really been much of a building kind of kid. Legos? Boring. Blocks? Sometimes. But a tinkering station? She was all over it!

Tinkering Station for Young Engineers

She literally sat down at the station, opened the pen and started drawing her contraption. She said ok, I’m going to build a car, but I should draw it first. Then she tinkered and built a “car”. Then she drew it out again, post-build. This mama engineer was so proud of her little engineer for working through a design process all on her own!

tinker and draw... love this engineering activity for kids

Talk About Tinkering

Tinkering open play is a great chance to talk with your kiddo about trial and error and failure. Experimenting helps kids develop logic skills, important for daily life, not just engineering. Some good open-ended questions to ask:

  • What did you design?
  • How does it work?
  • What parts were harder than you expected to design / draw / build / make ?
  • Does this look and work like what you thought it would when you started? Why or why not?
  • What would you do differently next time?

Every kid can be an engineer, it just takes trying! As Rosie’s Aunt Rose said, “The only true failure comes if you quit.” 🙂

20140418-130752  Anne from Left Brain Craft Brain is an ex-engineer, current stay-at-home mama writing about crafty   ways to encourage creativity (and brain power!) in our kids. Look for projects that give kids the chance     to learn about a new subject and do something crafty at the same time, like DIY Recycled            Suspension Bridge or How Bubbles Work & 20 Things to Do with Them.

For other fun and educational ideas, follow along with    Anne on FacebookPinterestInstagram and Twitter.


  1. Hello! Oh how I love this post and the pictures. This simply makes my heart sing! Thank you for helping spread the word about Rosie Revere, Engineer and encouraging kids to get out there and tinker!

    I would love to share this with other Rosie Revere fans. Could I include a copy of the photo and link to your blog from my website?
    Andrea Beaty

    author of Rosie Revere, Engineer
    Iggy Peck, Architect
    Happy Birthday Madame Chapeau

  2. Thanks for this great idea! I purchased Rosie Revere for my 6 year old who build everything with whatever she can find…She shuts me out of her room when she is “inventing”. She has a prototype for a take out box that won’t let ice cream get cold coming home from a restaurant:) We really want to encourage this amazing uniqueness in her. So thanks, I will be shopping this week for this tinkering kit.

  3. Sometimes we forget how creative kids can be; what a great project to let kids take the reigns and create. Thank you for sharing, pinning via K12’s Pinterest for other families to enjoy.

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  5. What a great way to get little ones tinkering and playing creatively. Love it! Thanks for the post.

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