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The Eric Carle Museum
of Picture Book Art
  • 125 West Bay Road
  • Amherst, MA 01002


  • Thursday, Friday10 am-3 pm
  • Saturday 10am – 4 pm
  • Sunday 12 pm - 4 pm

Closed Monday,Tuesday, Wednesday

Accessibility Information

Visit the carle


Making Art Together

On Our Bookshelf: Tinkerlab: A Hands-On Guide for Little Inventors

Make Room for creativity

Encourage questions

Listen actively

Be curious

See mistakes as gifts

Embrace a good mess

Accept boredom as a tool for self-discovery

Step back and enjoy the flow

Spend time outdoors

Think of everything as an experiment

These "10 Tinkerlab Habits of Mind" are from blogger Rachelle Doorley’s first book Tinkerlab: A Hands-On Guide for Little Inventors. Rachelle says she uses these habits of mind to guide what she calls her “parenting curriculum,” and are very much in the spirit of what we do here in the Art Studio.

I’ve been following Rachelle’s blog and have always loved how skillfully she blurs the line between art and science. This approach makes sense. Young children, in their drive to understand the world, don't force divisions between those pursuits. In her blog, and now in her book, Rachelle shows she truly understands young children and how they construct knowledge. She also knows how to instruct and encourage adults to nurture a love of wondering and experimenting in themselves and in their children.

Tinkerlab by Rachelle Doorley

Tinkerlab has been in my possession for at least three months, but within 10 minutes of opening it, I had it littered with pink flags marking ideas I wanted to try with my own kids at and the young people I encounter at The Carle.

Her book blends the why and the how of offering “tinkering” experiences with concrete ideas for materials and experiments in chapters titled: "Prepare", "Experience", "Build", "Concoct,"and "Discover" and in experiments such as “Take Things Apart,” “Hanging Structures,” and “Yes, You Can Paint on That.”

The value of this collection is that it includes ideas and projects kids will choose to come back to again and again as they (and their adults!) develop a language with materials and learn to shape experiments of their own design.

We carry this book in our shop, and if you decide to pick it up for yourself, a friend or an educator, it will be referenced again and again!

Making Art with Children is generously sponsored by the Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority.



We enjoy exploring materials and ideas in the Art Studio, and we’re excited to share our process with you! Please consider the following factors when adapting these posts for your learning environment: 

We facilitate a variety of programs within the Art Studio for a wide range of age groups. Please carefully consider the age appropriateness of each individual activity in your own learning environment.

Our projects are always done with adult supervision and proper safety precautions. Be sure all of your projects are overseen by adults who likewise follow proper safety precautions. The adults overseeing your project must also be responsible for handling or assisting with any potentially harmful equipment or materials. 

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art is not responsible for any damages, injuries or liabilities that result from any activities contained within this website, and we expressly disclaim any responsibility or liability therefor. From time to time, we reference materials that we have found to be particularly important in our projects. We do not receive any monetary compensation for recommending materials. 


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