It’s Saturday morning and you have a list of chores to complete. One of them is to fix part of the backyard fence. The wear of winter snow tore away some lengths of wire from the wooden posts, which are somewhat rotted.
Your child tags along. You talk to her out loud as you poke around in your workbench drawers. Which would work best, nails or staples? Should you try one first? Staple gun or hammer? Bungee cords? A tape measure? A shovel or not? A wheelbarrow? When your work apron and hers are full of supplies, out you go to fix the fence.
This scenario is the beginning of learning to tinker, to fix, to mess around, to try out an idea and then adapt it until it works. It’s the foundation of problem solving and visualizing and talking back and forth about what might work and why.
When children use real tools to solve real problems, it creates an opportunity for a parent to help show that tinkering around is real life problem solving. Find ways to involve your child in tinkering. You’ll be well on your way to building a good, solid, parent and child bond.