Category: Organizing Inventive Kids

The Making of a MakerSpace

I was getting antsy.

Once every six months or so I need to do a complete overhaul of something. Maybe my desk. Maybe our daughter’s bookshelves. But something has to change.

Today? It was time to create a MakerSpace in the basement. It has been a long, rainy summer, so I needed more constructive environments indoors. And our daughter is very inventive. Give her a piece of PVC piping, an old Barbie, and some clay, and she’ll get right to work. So why not create a space in which she can explore her ideas further?


I quickly fired up an old card table and cleared a corner in the basement. During this time, I had our daughter peruse her shelves for “maker-ish” things to put in the space.: Legos, K’Nex, PVC (one of her favorites), odd magnetic things, scissors, and the like. We pulled out one of those mini chrome shelving units that was being used for winter shoes (they are now in a very neat pile which will not last, so that will probably be the next project I tackle) and put it off to the side. Then we dug out a toddlers’ tool bench that had come from her grandparents.

Off to one side, similar to an art studio setup, we place sharpened pencils and journals so she can brainstorm and document her projects.

She is down there right now with her father, and I can hear them cheerfully discussing new ideas. What a great way to end a summer day.

Have a good one everyone!

And, hey, download this free worksheet to go with your MakerSpace: 


Organizing your Inventive Kid – Drama-Free Mornings

Organizing your Inventive Kid - Drama-Free Mornings

6:37 am.

I always know it’s coming. I screw my eyes shut for one more minute of sleep, but I can tell by the angle of the sun through the blinds, and the sound of the early bus roaring by that it must, indeed, be 6:37 am. I know I should be up at 5:30 on the Pilates machine. Or sorting laundry. Or Tweeting nice comments and favorite-ing.

But I cling to those last few silent moments of pre-chaos before the day begins. Continue reading

School Strategies – A Binder that is Easy to Keep Organized



I always thought that I would eventually transform into that perfect teen you see on the after-school specials: binder with kitten picture on cover, neatly organized and hugged to my chest, assignments completed, fresh pencils in hand.


I had one of those 80s pseudo-denim covered binders (do they still sell those?) complete with ballpoint-pen doodles and a beautifully penned Led Zeppelin logo, pages hanging out the side. But I was eager for the change.

However, there was an issue in the way. The hole punch delay.

For instance, I could not keep up with worksheets. I would receive one and tuck it away, planning to hole punch it later. But he sheets would often fold or slip out.

So, I developed a strategy: line up the paper in the open rings of the binder, then quickly snap the rings closed, puncturing the sheet with the binder rings. Solved! For the moment. The sheet would hang on for a day or two, but the ragged holes would eventually tear, leaving a half-hanging-out sheet to contend with.


These days worksheets are being handed out just as they were when I was a student. And I love seeing the worksheets that our daughter brings home. I am in the worksheet business, after all.

They cover so many wonderful subjects: Simple Machines. Fact Families. Parts of Speech. All of them should be held onto for reference and review. This is, after all, precious information that should not be lost!

But, again, we have a little issue: the hole punch delay.

Our student is young, so she is still in the learning stages of organizing. She is eager to keep things in order, but sometimes struggles with getting the worksheet punched and in the correct place by the time the class has moved on to the next subject.

So I have decided to own the problem as it is. There just may not be enough classroom time for each student to file up and hole punch the paper, then bring it to the binder. So, last week I bought this (this is not a product endorsement blog, but if I find something I love, I will definitely show it to you):


Pocket tab dividers

Then, I inserted one of these tab dividers into each subject section of the binder, right behind the subject divider for clarity.

The slash pocket design works really well, because it is easy for little fingers to insert a page. It is not frustrating like a top loading page protector.

The dividers are also semi-transparent, so the worksheet can be easily located if needed during the week.

Now, our student can slip the worksheet in to the proper subject as soon as she receives it, then once a week we take the binder home to three-hole punch the sheets and file them in.

Note: you may want to check with your child’s teacher to see if he/she approves of this method first

Photo credit, top: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division: LC-USZ62-47718; middle: LC-USW3-053568-D


Organizing your Inventive Kid – Brainstorm Journals

organizing your kid

My grandfather had stacks of journals. Leather ones and plastic ones. Fancy and plain. He would even buy datebooks from years past because of a special quality he liked: a pebbled leather cover, a gold stamp of the year. He would show us in delight. Look! Hand stitched!

I inherited this gene. Back-to-school shopping at Staples finds me wringing my hands in delight over the fresh batch of composition books. Shall we get one with a cute puppy cover? Or a peace sign cover? How about college ruled? Oooh, graph paper inside! How about recycled? I want them all.

But what is it about a fresh journal that is so inspiring? Continue reading

Organizing Your Inventive Kid – Movable Storage

Organizing Your Inventive Kid - Movable Storage - Nikola Tesla

Mr. Tesla

Nikola Tesla lived in a hotel.

After a day in the lab, tinkering with wireless power and x-rays, he would retreat to a room, freshly cleaned and organized by housekeeping.

Strangely, we have no housekeeping staff. After a day of tinkering with K’Nex and colored pencils, our little one retreats to a room strewn with Big Hero 6 figurines and well-loved stuffed animals. She is happy with this. After all, Hiro and Tadashi have always wanted to fly on the back of a stuffed kitty cat. So the inventive thinking continues late into the eve.

Our children have the potential to be as creative as the world’s greatest scientists and artists. Continue reading

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