Decades ago, children often spent their free time tinkering. Whether it was messing around with junk in the garage or hammering together old boards and wheels into a makeshift go-cart, they were often seen with tools in their hands, having the time of their lives. Today, manual arts have fallen out of the common curriculum and kids often spend hours a day in front of a screen. reDiscover Center, a local nonprofit, is trying to change all that with an intensive summer camp called Tinkering School L.A.
At Tinkering School L.A., campers learn to safely use woodworking tools such as electric drills and power saws. They participate in brainstorming and team-building exercises that connect groups of socioeconomically diverse children together to practice design thinking. In each week-long session, groups of 10-15 campers design, build and tinker within what reDiscover calls a Big Build—a room-sized installation as wild as a kid’s imagination. The 2018 Big Build included a 12’ tall guitar, a giant space llama and a deserted island scene complete with waterfall, monster octopus and crashed airplane.