Tinkering Resources

Compiled by Sylvia Martinez and Gary Stager of The Constructivist Consortium & Constructing Modern Knowledge

Recommended tinkering books from the Constructivist Consortium

List of  open-ended creativity software and construction materials used at Constructing Modern Knowledge

Reggio Emilia books and constructive toys
Learning Materials Workshop

Project Websites and Communities


Programming/building materials

  • MicroWorlds EX -A modern multimedia version of the Logo programming language, with robotics control with an optional robotics version
  • Scratch – Free programming language for simple storytelling and games. Graphic interface. Materials and videos for educators and classrooms. Scratch works with many of the building kits below.
  • ScratchED web site – for educators who teach with Scratch
  • Arduino – Open source electronics prototyping platform and robotics controller for interactive projects.
  • Lilypad Arduino – or http://www.arduino.cc/en/Main/ArduinoBoardLilyPad A special Arduino board for projects using textiles and wearable electronics.
  • GoGo Board -Open source hardware platform for programable projects using sensors and robotics. Works with MicroWorlds and Scratch.
  • Pico Cricket – A programmable tiny robotics construction kit that can make things spin, light up, and play music.
  • Sugru – Air-curing rubber used to repair and affix things.
  • Tinkercad – Kid-friendly, free and Web-based CAD program that may be used with 3D printers.
  • Inkscape – An Open Source vector graphics editor, with capabilities similar to Illustrator, CorelDraw, or Xara X, using the W3C standard Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) file format. This is useful for CAD and 3D printing tasks.

Places to purchase parts and supplies

  • Sparkfun -Online supply house for hobbyist electronics
  • Adafruit – Online supplier of “Unique and Fun DIY Electronics and Kits”
  • Digikey – Extensive collection of electronic components
  • Electronics Goldmine – Source of inexpensive components such as buckets of LEDs

3D Printing and Fabrication

  • Makerbot – Materials, tools, blogs and community forums about 3d fabrication.
  • Thingiverse – Share digital designs with the world.
  • Fab Central – MIT Center for Bits and Atoms (CBA) clearinghouse for global projects, tools, events, etc. using 3d fabrication.
  • High-Low Tech group at MIT – Engages diverse audiences in designing and building their own technologies and develops tools that democratize engineering.

Blogs and websites

Other sites of interest:

50 Dangerous Things (You Should Let Your Children Do)

Please add your recommendations in the comments below!