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Summer 2018 Location

Brightworks Annex

1920 Bryant St. San Francisco CA 94110


financial aid available

  • Camp costs $575/week

before and after care provided by Tinkering School

  • Before care costs $40/week

  • After care costs $100/week

This summer, get ready for a pop-up day camp at Brightworks Annex in San Francisco, brought to you by the educators, tinkerers and artists from Wonderful Idea Co. and Tinkering School

At each week-long Wonderful Idea Camp, we’ll tinker with projects that blend art, science, computational thinking and technology in strange and delightful ways. Each day will be full of surprises, and campers may find themselves sewing LEDs with conductive thread to make wearable e-textiles, programming arduino powered cardboard machines, dissecting and reanimating tickle-me-elmo toys or designing paint-flinging robots that create colorful abstract patterns.

We follow a constructionist philosophy that encourages people think with their hands and learn through play, as they create, share, imagine and reflect on their own learning process. We’ll create new friendships, build confidence as we develop real skills, and leave excited about what new ideas to try next.


More Information

During each week-long session, experienced facilitators will lead a series of playful and collaborative workshops that introduce campers to a mix of high and low tech tools and materials. Each week will combine introductory computation or coding workshops with tinkering with everyday materials.

There will be two overarching themes that we'll explore on consecutive weeks, one focusing on computational creatures and the other on crafting with code


CompuTational Creatures

July 9th-13th and August 6th-10th

In this session, we'll explore the intersections between robotics, programming, electrical circuits and art machines. We'll try out activities like toy dissection, scribbling machines and cardboard automata. Our tools and materials will include hot glue guns, arduinos, geared down hobby motors and colorful ink. 


Crafting with Code

July 16th-20th and August 13th-17th

In this session we'll tinker with the connections between computation, traditional craft, digital fabrication, engineering and circuitry. We'll investigate workshops like paper circuits, sewing with conductive thread and designing vinyl stickers. Our tools and material set will include soldering irons, chibi chips, copper tape and watercolors. 

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Over the course of each week long program, tinkerers will develop their own ideas through prototyping and iterating on personally meaningful projects and on the last day we'll finish a little bit early so that we can share our creations with family and friends.  


Each week is a mixed-age format for 8 to 11 years.

Staff Ratios

We staff all of our camps and programs at 6:1 (or better!) camper to facilitator ratios. 


Camp Dates and Hours

July 9th-13th, Computational Creatures

July 16th-20th  Crafting with Code

August 6th-10th, Computational Creatures   

August 13th-17th, Crafting with Code

  • Camp runs from 9:30am until 3:15pm.
  • Drop off starts at 9:00am.
  • Pick up is 3:15 to 3:30pm.

Optional Extended Care

  • Early bird starts at 8:30am ($40/week).
  • After camp is from 3:30pm until 5:00pm ($100/week). 

About us


Ryan Jenkins, Lead Educator

Ryan is the co-founder of Wonderful Idea Co, a creative studio in Northern California that explores art, science & technology through making and tinkering. Ryan trains educators, develops playful environments, and creates unique handmade exhibits and art pieces for museums and makerspaces.

Previously, Ryan was a founding member of the Exploratorium's Tinkering Studio, where he developed workshops and activities that have been used, adapted and remixed in innovative education settings around the world. He has worked closely with partners at the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at MIT Media Lab, Brightworks School, Make Magazine and LEGO Foundation to develop a deep understanding of the latest developments in STEAM education.


Nicole Catrett, Artist and Designer

Nicole is an artist, inventor and tinkerer. Her work combines art and science in playful and surprising ways, and it is meant to be played with, peered into, touched, and questioned. It might make you giggle or scratch your head as you look underneath to see how it works.

Nicole studied sculpture at the Rhode Island School of Design, and went on to become an exhibit developer at the Exploratorium in San Francisco. She created interactive exhibits that blur the lines between art and science, allowing you to mix colors of light like paint, take pictures that capture time, play music by kissing, and peer through a telescope that shrinks the world to the size of a toy.