Manual Gears Turn Mental Cogs

Manual Gears Turn Mental Cogs

If we want to raise kids to be independent thinkers and change-makers, one of the best things we can do is give them the tools to figure stuff out for themselves.

– Gever Tulley, author of 50 Dangerous Things

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Great piece in  the NYT about project based learning and hands-on engagement. I used to work at a community arts center and we had great programs for kids. They thought with their hands and their imaginations made blueprints on the spot. Adults forget how to do that. I’m afraid in our over-structured world, kids won’t ever have the chance to try.

Allison Arieff brings up some fundamental facts about necessity being the mother of invention in this summative paragraph from the article: “Before the Industrial Revolution really kicked into high gear, people had to know how to do everything, from navigating routes to preserving food, building homes to sewing clothes. You couldn’t head to the nearest supermarket or mall, you had to figure out how to make it, catch it, build it or grow it. . . . as we’ve become so disconnected from where things come from, from the knowledge, resources and effort required to fulfill even the most basic needs, I believe we’ve lost something essential (if intangible)”.

Cultivating that sort of resourcefulness and creativity is crucial for kids or we risk skipping an important step. We can’t forget what we don’t know, but more important, we can’t remember what we never learned. If we don’t get our kids off their digital devises and help them play with tools and materials and each other, they’ll be missing a huge swath of skills they just might need to navigate the next revolution. Luckily, there’s an amazing place to grow your brain via your hands and heart – it’s called Tinkering School! How great is that.


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