The Best of Making Things: A Handbook of Creative Discovery

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Children everywhere will welcome this new edition of a classic activity book – as will their teachers and parents (especially those seeking to simplify). A “best of” compilation of two volumes, it is a unique, affordable, and child-sized handbook that doesn’t talk down to anyone. In fact, it is mostly pictures drawn in a simple and elegant style clear enough for anyone to follow, whether or not they read (though some projects, like paper making or batik, ask for adult supervision).

Thirty years later, author Ann Sayre Wiseman says “I still meet people who say ‘Making Things was (or is) my bible.'” What’s the appeal?…

stix ‘n mud can make a hug

A new charter school in Corvallis commissioned this mud project as the initial step in creating an “outdoor classroom.” All 60 kids, K-5, participated in 2 days of playdough brainstorming and design, and six days of mud. Parents and neighbors contributed random prunings of willow, fruitwood, and forsythia that we wove into a rough hut; the mud came up out of a hole in the ground, and we ended up making a lovely cob bench and this “hug hut.” Â

The hut is intended to be temporary. It will probably “last” for at least one winter, but my hope is that teachers and parents will replace or augment academically defined “art curriculae” with a culture of creativity, where every year, individual students not only get to “express themselves” and “make things,” but where all the citizens of the school will share in re-making the school into a warm, inviting place to be and to learn—rather than the cold, factory-like institutions that we’ve inherited from industrialized systems thinking.…