Sorry I've been offline (and will be again this Tuesday – tinkering with my Toastmasters contest speech. Actually I'd like to offer writing/editing text as an example of tinkering... with words).
This week's p-word is Play. The activity is more about Tinkering. Of course the two overlap, but I do think there's a difference in context. It's more common to tinker by yourself than it is to play by yourself. Play tends to focus attention a bit more on social interaction, while tinkering focuses attention more on objects. Again the two are not mutually exclusive, but it's interesting to think about the differences.
Speaking of play and creativity, here's a speech of mine that's a bit tangential to this week's activity, but very much in keeping with the philosophy of LCL – extending childlike playfulness into adulthood: “Childhood Saving Time.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3wX6_5vkjBA
Don't have time for any new tinkering this week (lame, I know), but here some reflections from past experiences. I introduced store-bought Mexican piñatas at my French granddaughters' 4th birthdays.
They liked it so much that it's become an annual tradition. A couple years later, I asked if they wanted to construct their own (not to mention save me money!) So of course, they've started constructing their personal piñatas. Each year they get older, they have more skills, more history, more ideas on how to tinker more elaborate designs – before they smash them to bits to get the candy. (The prizes are the least important part of the fun.)
Another cross-cultural example somewhat tangential, but interesting, is carving Halloween pumpkins. It's a wonderful American activity for designing and carving, but a Dutch tinkerer was the first one (as far as I know) to figure out that you could turn a pumpkin sideways and use the stem for the nose!
(“Play With Your Pumpkins” book by Joost Elffers)
Moral: when you're tinkering with a team to play outside of the box, it's always good to have people who come from different backgrounds.
I think most of us tinker all the time. In sports. (I'm always trying to work on techniques to throw my golf disc further and with more accuracy.) In cooking. (I'm still trying to replicate the spicy black bean soup I loved from a Mexican restaurant off of Central Square in Cambridge. Any recipe has long disappeared with the restaurant.) In rearranging the furniture; in designing a workshop; in parenting; in maintaining relationships (men have to tinker more than women, because everything is so much more mysterious to us.) Here's an example of a poor man trying his best: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4EDhdAHrOg
Okay, I've pretty much gone off the rails here, but that's just part of tinkering outside of the box.