Tinkerlab Book Review and Giveaway

A review of the awesome book Tinkerlab: A Hands-on Guide for Little Inventors by Rachelle Doorley.Tinkerlab book

I’m absolutely thrilled to be next up on the blog book tour for Rachelle Doorley’s new and wonderful book, Tinkerlab! This book is much anticipated and we have all been desperate to get our hands on a copy ever since she announced that she had first signed her book contract! Rachelle is a dear blogging friend and we have known each other many years through this creative online space. I couldn’t be happier that she has finally put her expertise, ideas and experience into a book for easy reference and inspiration.


Firstly, if you are not yet familiar with the Tinkerlab blog you are in for a real treat. Rachelle is an arts and museum educator with a rich background in creative thinking. Her first book, Tinkerlab: A hand on guide for little inventors, is every bit as wonderful as her blog and offers readers an easy to pick up format, as well as a great context for all of the ideas and activities that she suggests we all try.Straw rockets Tinkerlab book

In the book, she gives a great introduction as to why creativity and experimenting with children is SO crucial to their intellectual development, and how only through these hands on investigations can they grow into adults with the power to think critically and imaginatively. You want to learn how to build computers one day? Start with taking one apart and examining the component parts now!

After setting the context and need for such an approach, she sets forth a treasure trove of handy tips and hints, from how to set up a creative space and where to purchase your materials , to the most useful types of open-ended questioning to promote the best thinking from your child. It’s all at once entirely practical and useful, as well as being inspiringly creative! That’s quite a hard thing to achieve in a piece of writing, but Rachelle manages it effortlessly.Tinkerlab book review

The 55 experiments and creative activities are set out in a really easy to use and follow format, with a supply list and set of instructions accompanying every (beautifully photographed) page.

My three girls have wrestled each other over this book already and have asked to make or do nearly every single project that they have seen in it so far, so we have a busy summer schedule ahead of us! I love how most things are adaptable for a range of ages and will teach and inspire them on so many different levels. The drawing machine, which combines technology and creativity (pictured above) is absolute genius, and high up on our list of  ideas to get started with!

So, where can you get yourself a copy of this fantastic book?! It is available to pre-order from Amazon here: Tinkerlab: A Hands-on Guide for Little Inventors (UK and AUS readers)


 and from the following list of suppliers here (US readers):


Barnes & Noble


Roost Books

I truly hope you’ll be motivated to reading some more reviews, visiting Rachelle’s Tinkerlab blog itself, and to getting your own copy asap!

And good news for all readers of The Imagination Tree! I am giving away one copy for FREE to anyone living in the UK, US, AUS or Canada. 

**To enter, simply leave a comment below, making sure you use a valid email address in the comment form so that I can let you know if you have won! [The giveaway close on JUNE 30 at 11:59pm GMT and is open only to entrants from the countries listed above.]** This giveaway is now closed.

The winner is: Ann Sweet


  1. says

    I absolutely cannot wait to get my hands on this little beauty! My adventurous 16month old will light up when she has some new provisions to discover and explore!

  2. rachelle lee says

    My 5-year old girl will surely love all those amazing activities! Good Luck to everybody!

  3. kate mcferrin says

    I’d love this book! My little guy is just getting big enough to enjoy things like this.

  4. Sarah says

    This book looks amazing! Would love to get my hands on a copy, hours of fun for my children!

  5. Melanie Haines says

    I hope to have hours of fun with the children that I work with – I am only sorry that my own children may be too old to enjoy some of these!! xxx

  6. Lorraine Heath says

    This book sounds amazing and I am always looking for new and exciting ideas to do in my stay and play sessions.
    Tomorrow is full of fun with colour dyed spaghetti, coconut playdough and ice play with giggle.
    I’d love to win a copy!

  7. Amanda Ralph says

    As a pre-school teacher and granny I would love to have this book and share with friends and colleagues – and most of all have fun in my classroom and at home :-) Looks great!

  8. Maxeen says

    This book looks great, I love crafts and encouraging children to reuse materials, perfect book

  9. Virginie says

    This sounds like so much fun. Nether mind my kids I would love to do the activities!

  10. Cathryn Mullins says

    Looks like a must for my class of inquisitive students and my two beautiful girls x

  11. Scousabel says

    It sounds fantastic and if I don’t win a copy my husband may well be getting it for his birthday as our 3 year old son would love it!

  12. Ruth Bone says

    I NEED this book! My middle child is a complete tinker and I need to harness it and channel it into something that’s not taking apart/fiddling with things in my house that he shouldn’t be! :-)

  13. Nichole says

    As a stay at home Mommy for the last 4 years and thinking I have no crafting ability what so ever this book gives me hope!!!
    I find my daughter gets bored quickly with the same old ways of painting, coloring and I’m afraid that if I bring out one more pipe cleaner that’s it… Love all the new ideas I find online but get tired of my daughter seeing me on the computer or phone trying to find new creative things for us to do… Super excited to see I just need to open a book now!!!

  14. Zeel Ambekar says

    I totally would love to get this book. Can’t wait to do the activities in it.

  15. Esme says

    This book looks lovely. Thank you for such a great blog – we made some sparkly playdough using your 4 minute recipe and it’s wonderful! Much better than the real thing!

  16. Sophie says

    This book looks fab! I would be using these ideas day in day out with my son and 4 month old daughter, but also for when I go back to work in a nursery x

  17. Vicky Skinner says

    Very excited to have discovered your blog…looking forward to trying out some activities

  18. Kylie says

    This book looks amazing. Thank you for coming up with this great concept. I love to give children these challenges and watch their joy as they see it come to life in front of them. Can’t wait to start experimenting. :)

  19. Laura Newberry says

    Always looking for inspiration for activities for my 3 year old and this book looks so exciting!

  20. Carla Enrici says

    I would love to win this book for my friend Claire Menzies who inspires me with so many craft ideas & alot of laughs x

  21. Annie Baron says

    I am a mother of 10 y-o twins. I just graduated in Éducation . This summer I will be animating a reading club. A copy of this wonderful !

  22. Tanya says

    I would really make good use of this book with my children and the creachthat I work in

  23. Jenny Hurry says

    I would love this. It’s not even a problem that my bookcases are all full again, as it would probably never get put away due to constant use!

  24. Hayley Sherrell says

    This book looks fantastic. Not only does it inspire little people but it looks like it could inspire the adult! Great to look through a book rather than on the internet too.

  25. Katy Burgon says

    This book looks amazing and I need it in my life!! I can’t wait to inspire my children at home and at school to get tinkering!!!

  26. says

    I LOVE TinkerLab! I used some of Rachel’s ideas in my art classroom for kindergarten/first graders, and fOund wonderful blogs like yours. I’m excited to use some of the wonderful, creative fun with my kIddo when he’s old enough.

  27. Morag Torrie says

    This looks fantastic! Have been looking for ways to keep two big sisters busy now there is a newborn in the house and my repetitive ideas

  28. Carolyne Bird says

    My little one is only 10 months but this looks like a fantastic book for when he’s slightly older, and for us parents too!

  29. Meredith says

    My husband is constantly wanting to introduce science to our little guys. I like that these look like they can work for preschoolers where so much science stuff I see is geared towards elementary aged kids.

  30. Andrea says

    My children would love this book. Come to think of it I would love this book as well. My eldest boy (6years) and I used to engage in experiments all the time. However my repertoire of experiments have dried up and this book is just the thing to extend us both and my other son as well.

  31. Sarah Foster says

    I am for sure in need of a book like this to keep my growing smart boy busy :) pick me!

  32. Amanda says

    That looks like such a fun book! I’m sure I could use it to find lots to do with my daughter! :)

  33. Heather says

    This book looks great! I would love a copy for my daughter. Also, I would love a book of your Imagination Tree activities. Any plans for this??

  34. Nicole says

    I am so excited for a chance to win this book. I am very much looking forward to reading it.

  35. Tracey says

    Ooh what an exciting looking book! A perfect present to keep my soon to be 5 year old busy!

  36. Caitlin says

    Thank you for opening this up to AU residents! I would LOVE this book, I’d be so grateful.

  37. Kirsteen Roe says

    Having recently discovered your blog, not only is my daughter getting to do more creative activities, but I am rediscovering my creative side too. Will definitely check out the tinkerlab blog and would love to win this book!

  38. amanda says

    I would love a copy! This would add some excitement to homeschooling when my kids are school age :)

  39. charlaine Kenyon says

    Fantastic book with lots of excellent ideas. Would come in very handy and cant wait to get it x

  40. Adele says

    We would love to win a copy! It would be perfect for childminding as a quick grab resource to inspire me or even my daughter. Xx

  41. Julie says

    I would love this book for summer holiday inspiration. My daughter would love this too:)

  42. Susan Mann says

    With 3 under 3, it’s going to be a long winter WITHOUT this book. Please save me, oops, I mean us.

  43. Anne Churcher says

    Wow. I am fascinated to try them out myself! These activities incorporate Technology and Science in a truly creative way. Inspiration for Designers and Scientists of the future.

  44. Rachel Holland says

    This book looks so inspiring. I have followed Tinkerlab for quite a while now and have found it has really challenged my thinking about approaching creativity with children but also my own. I have too very inquisitive and investigative children who would love the ideas in the book. Thank you for the chance to win.

  45. Jackie says

    This book looks great. It would be invaluable to someone who works with children. Thanks for the chance to win one.

  46. Esther says

    I’d love to win this. I have a two year old who loves creative things and 4 week old twins too.

  47. LaShawn says

    How fantastic! I will definitely check out her blog; headed there now. My baby will love these activities as he is just so naturally curious and always exploring. And I absolutely love the idea of making things especially doing them together even at a young age. Thanks for sharing and a great review.

  48. Karma says

    I just signed checked out her blog–very interesting! I am homeschooling my daughter and will definitely use these ideas!

  49. says

    Hey, I am also a neighbor, I follow you from Spain! I “re-use” lost of you r ideas and think they are great! I would love that book… I hope I am lucky enough…

    ¡Gracias! Thank you!

  50. Laura says

    Love the look of it,I am looking forward to use the activities from the book for my autistic son,it will be great if I get this book as a gift,if not, I will have to order it online :)

  51. says


    As a child development psychologist, I would surely put this book to good use as I create curriculum for my development play & parenting classes in the Boston area. I will spread the word with all my families with young children…

  52. Kelly Etu Stanton says

    As an administrator in a small inquiry based program I am so grateful for this website, especially the Tinkering Lab as we have incorporated one in our program. Please keep the wonderful ideas and inspiration coming as we all try to include child led education policies into our schools.

  53. Kat says

    This looks amazing! I have a few little inventors that would love to add this to their invention bin to inspire new ideas :)

  54. Shirley Mars says

    As a grandmother of 34, I get a lot of ideas from The Imagination Tree and would love the TinkerLab book.

  55. Jen says

    This looks like an amazing book and exactly what I need to tickle my girls’ imagination and curiosity.

  56. Karolina says

    This book is just exactly what I need at the moment. My daughter has just become a big sister and I need a lot of inspiration to keep her busy during long nursing sessions. It looks amazing!

  57. Bev Hersey says

    I would LOVE to win this book, as I am an early educator, and work with creative and inventive little minds each day! I am also a new grandmother!!!

  58. Becky says

    I would love to win this book! If I don’t win, I will definitely be buying a copy!

  59. Jenny Lyle says

    This looks like a fantastic book for Early Childhood Educators who practice a Reggio Approach in the classroom. Setting up a variety of thought provoking provocations for children to explore and engage in! Hope I win!

  60. Ru says

    What a wonderful introduction to this blog! Thank you for sharing. Would love to win the book.

  61. Christin says

    Is there anything better than a little explorer? I’m so excited to see what this book has I store. :)

  62. says

    As mom to 6 month twins, I’m constantly trying to make sure I’m providing creatively stimulating environments for them. I would love to have this book as a resource!

  63. BethAnn says

    Coming from an engineering background, I’m excited to help my kids learn to experiment and tinker. But, I’m a little weak on devising creative ways to do so. This book seems like the help I need with that creativity piece! Yay!

  64. Elise says

    I will definitely be checking out that book, one way or another. Thank you for the great review!

  65. MaggieMae says

    Thank you for highlighting the Tinkerlab! She has such great ideas and they touch all ages which I love for my three munchkins. Phenomenal stuff here, thanks!

  66. Bridgette Preston says

    This looks like a fantastic book and wonderful resource for my “Granny Nanny” role with two granddaughters. I’d love to share some of the activities with them.

  67. Wildflower says

    Hi Anna, thank you for all your support! Your ideas and connections get alot of mileage in the Centre I work in; I really appreciate your efforts!

  68. Claire Hegarty says

    I like the title! Would love to win the book to enrich childrens experiences further x

  69. angie wilkinson says

    I run a science tots for a charity ,Parenting 2000 ,I so need the book!!

  70. Jane Burton says

    With the Summer holidays coming up this would be a welcome addition to our house hold! Hope I win, and thanks for the giveaway!

  71. Millie Gagliano says

    I would love to win this book for my daughter who is always asking me to craft with her.

  72. Clara says

    My daughter is an inventor, a scientist, a veterinarian… We all are winners for having the joy of beig parents..

  73. says

    Hoping to find in this book quick and easy projects as well as more involved ones for lazy Saturday afternoons for my toddler and 5 year old, excited to own a copy!

  74. Dayna says

    I love Tinkerlab and I have been waiting to buy this book! I can’t wait. Would love to win a copy!

  75. Michelle Hill says

    Please pick me!! I never win anything and my kids will use this book every day!!

  76. Kristin Gideon says

    Ooooh, I have this book on my Amazon wish list and would love the opportunity to win it! Thank you!

  77. Samantha D says

    My 5 year old son is the embodiment of a “tinkerer”. He’s always making something out of something. I’ll definitely be checking into this book, but would love to win it, of course (and I love the Tinkerlab blog as well).
    Thanks for sponsoring a peek into this great resource!

  78. Matthew Rominger says

    I would love to bring this book and the ideas to our Pre-K and Kindergarten teachers at our school. Personally, I would love to use these projects with my 16-month old son!

  79. Kim Benge says

    I have been following Tinkerlab for quite some time and would love to have the book. There are so many great ideas that I can use (and have used) with my daycare kids!

  80. Lois Tschaepe says

    I homeschool my triplet grandsons (age 6), and this would be AWESOME to have – they love doing experiments!

  81. Liege Motta says

    As a professor in a teacher education college program, I always encourage my students to think outside the box, to tinker, and to encourage that kind of experiences in their classrooms. This book would be PERFECT for me and for them!

  82. Eva Baukes says

    Would love to win this book.. always need new exciting ideas to get the imagination of my 5 and 4 year old monkeys flowing!

  83. Ka says

    We absolutely love The Imagination Tree and TinkerLab! So many wonderful ideas that keep my little ones exploring and creating. Thank you.

  84. Amy says

    I AM SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS BOOK!!! To win one would be fantastic!! Thanks for the opportunity!

  85. Danielle Schirmer says

    thanks for the opportunity to win a copy of this book! and thanks for your great website!

  86. rhia winant says

    Such a great resource for our bright girls; may they continue to be inspired and learn!

  87. KathyK says

    I love all her ideas – one of a few blogs that actually inspire me to try out their suggestions! Would love to win the book!

  88. Emily W says

    I am new to the thinkerlab blog for almost 6 months now and I have to say that it has opened the door to so many easy activities and ideas (as well as introducing me to other amazing blogs such as this one).

    We are happy with following all these blogs regularly, but still, we would love to the book too. :)

  89. Louise says

    Would love to get inspiration from this book. Our two older boys and three younger girls will share more great experiences and experiments xoxo

  90. Lucy says

    This looks fantastic. An especially important book in this worrying time when two year olds could be pushed into formal education. Perhaps if I win a copy I’ll send it to the DfE along with my three children!

  91. Tovah Kinderlehrer says

    I homeschool my three little ones and LOVE being inspired by tinkerlabs!

  92. Heather says

    We dedicate a whole day to Tinkering in our vacation program!!! Plus sneak in lots of other Tinkering on the other days! Tinkerlab is outgo to for ideas!!!

  93. Christine Behrens says

    I love and look forward to your Facebook posts everyday, and my 3 year old little man Josh and I have tried a few of the activities. Thank you very much for sharing your resources with us. Looking forward to reading the book and trying new things out together :)

  94. Laurie Lynch says

    I would love to use this book with my curious little tinkering daughter this summer and my school students once school starts up again

  95. Emily says

    What a great resource to get one’s creativity flowing. I’m always looking for inspirations for exploring and creating with our two little ones :-)

  96. Tania says

    Love to gain more knowledge and build upon what I have, so I can find new and innovative ideas to engage the children and encourage their creavity.

  97. Fiona says

    I would LOVE a copy of this AMAZING book please. After 20 years in the workforce I made the decision to follow my dream to become an early years teacher. Tinkerlab’s book would be a fantastic resource for my teacher library and for the enjoyment of my own children. Thank you :)

  98. Megan says

    I’m a mom of 2 active girls and I’m ALWAYS looking for new ideas!! Your book looks great!!! PICK ME!!!!!

  99. Laura says

    Thanks for your inspiring blog, I love your ideas/post, it will be great to get a copy of this book – thanks!

  100. Catrin says

    This would be such a great holiday project… And also loved beyond the holidays I’m sure! X

  101. Vanessa Osborne says

    I work with teachers on a pre-k thru 5th grade school and would love to have this book as a resource!

  102. Lauren says

    Would love this for my sister to use with her two beautiful kids. They love their craft but my sister and I didn’t do much as kids so we’re quite clueless!

  103. Dena P. says

    This book would be a real asset to our library’s summer reading and story hour programs.

  104. Jane says

    This book looks fab, always looking for new ideas. Would love to get hold of a copy.

  105. Jennifer says

    this would be a wonderful unschooling resource! i cant wait to get my hands on it!

  106. Karen says

    I can’t wait to get this book. I am planning to get one for myself to help with my early years teaching, but I would love one for my sister as well who has a lovely almost two year old daughter.

  107. Monique says

    This book would be an amazing addition to my son’s preschool whose teacher is a big fan of your blog. Thanks

  108. Amy says

    This book looks amazing! I would love to add it to my library to use with the children I will be working with in the fall 😉 Thank you, Amy.

  109. Amanda says

    This book really does look terrific. It is nice to have activities all put together like this!

  110. Cassie says

    This book looks absolutely Shelf Worthy! I can’t wait to devour it with my four little ones!

  111. Misti Coffman says

    This is an excellent source for children to explore with hands on situations. Stimulating and definitely can be used as STEM!

  112. Brooke says

    Looks like a great book for the summer! Love the ideas I’ve already gotten from your review and sure there are many more!

  113. Aleesa Barton says

    How fun! Love the way we can share ideas through blogs and books like Tinkerlab… The world of blogs has changed me from a “I’m not a teacher / can’t do” person to a “blog addict / mummy is the BEST teacher” person!

  114. Katrina says

    Ooooohhhh I can’t wait. I love yi keelan so much. It’s so amazing and going to keep our summer full of
    Fantastic tinkers

  115. Catherine says

    Home-based learning, family-directed education giving Mother to five children 7 years and younger here! inspiration always welcome :)

  116. says

    I love Tinkerlab and her FB page. I was a former teacher and love to make things with my kids. This book looks wonderful.

  117. Kristy says

    I have two Tinkers who constantly challenge my creative side! This book is a much needed accessory for our home!

  118. jodi says

    This book looks so inspirational, and as I run playgroups for little ones and have 5 children of my own, this would be such a valuable resource.

  119. Mimi says

    Hi I am a new stay at home Mom. I am not very crafty, but I am looking to become one with my two kids. I think this book could open up endless opportunity to get our creative minds working. Thank you very much for creating this blog. It has helped me in many ways. Thanks as well much for introducing this book in your blog and for the opportunity to possibly obtain a copy.

  120. Zoe Allison says

    What a fantastic book! It would be a very much loved and well-used book not only with my own children but also our foster children and the children at my nursery! Thank you.

  121. jengd says

    This looks like a fabulous book! Thanks so much for the chance. jgerwigdively at Hotmail (dot) com

  122. Sari says

    This looks like a really interesting book, will be getting copies for my siblings as well…. they would love to learn about this type of mindset and follow some of the projects in it! So happy you reviewed it! Thanks :-)

  123. Cassie Hayes says

    This sounds like so much fun. Sparks creativity in little ones as well as parents. No boredom here.

  124. Gladira Simms says

    I am a home based educator for families of low income and this would be great to use as a resource especially since I am not only an early childhood educator but also give parenting education classes. This book definitely serves as a great guide for parents and educators to help take learning to a broader spectrum.

  125. Angela Harold says

    To give children an arena of learning through play and creativity is so wonderful, and having a guide to remind adults how to simultaneously coordinate and give kids the freedom to explore is fantastic! Thanks!

  126. Amber says

    A friend of mine received this book and sent me a text saying, YOU MUST BUY THIS BOOK. She hadn’t put it down since it was delivered! Can’t wait to get my hands on one!

  127. Jessica says

    This looks like a wonderful book to have on hand, especially that my child loves to invent and create new things :)

  128. Keren says

    This giveaway is definitely worthy of a comment! My 3yr old could really benefit from the crafty ideas, keeping her entertained while I attend to my newborn.

  129. Bronwyn Clur says

    Wow this looks like a lovely book! Full of fun ideas to keep kiddies entertained and learning :)

  130. Cindy McElwee says

    Imagination & creativity go hand & hand. Love the book review. Would love to win this for my grand daughter ♥

  131. Caroline Langford says

    Looks fantastic, definitely think something I would look at investing in – if we don’t win :)

  132. says

    I always love, love, love getting your inspiring ideas in my inbox. And now I can see this book becoming a design staple for my stable of kids (ages 4,5,5,7.) Thanks for reviewing something that truly fits your audience. Now I’m off to order some copies for my favorite pre-school/kindergarten teachers!

  133. says

    Looks brilliant! Can’t wait to try some of the activities, I work in a children centre, so this book would help me support the parents in our area to understand what interests their child/ren and help them to develop their child/ren’s skills. Would love it!!!

  134. Bettina Marsh says

    This looks like a must have for a Mum and Early Childhood teacher! yes please :-)

  135. Charlotte says

    Wow these books look great! Definitely picking up the first, and the second if I don’t win! Starting my first job as a Reception teacher in September so these books would be a massive help! :)

  136. Hayley says

    This book sounds fab! I can’t wait to use some of the ideas inside with my reception class- we have promised lots of craft filled days for the end of term so I’m sure these additional activities will go down very well!

  137. Judy Trent says

    I signed up for her blog! I am excited by creative learning and look forward to learning more. I would love to win the book to share with our little ones.

  138. Miranda says

    That’s going on our Amazon wishlist! My daughter is almost 3 and just getting really into this sort of thing.