Whether you’re a young maker yourself or the parent of one, I’m sure you’re just as excited about Maker Faire as we are. While we invite people of all ages to roam throughout the Faire, you’ll definitely want to check out the plethora of exhibits specifically aimed at young makers.
Here are 10 exhibits that you won’t want to miss, as they’re all offering hands-on workshops that teach skills like circuitry, coding, soldering, and more!
The Coding Clubhouse
The Coding Clubhouse is a nonprofit dedicated to inspiring kids to code. You’ll have the opportunity to interact with some of the latest in robot and virtual reality technologies, as well as find out more about opportunities and resources for young coders.
At the CircuiTricks exhibit kids will have the chance to draw out their own working electrical circuits with only pencil and paper, using the graphite inside the pencil to complete the circuit. In the past, young makers have drawn their own guitars, drums, and ‘Iron Man Hands.’ These circuits come to life when CircuiTricks blocks (made from simple electronic components like buzzers, LEDs, and sensors) are placed on the circuit.
Tynker introduces kids to the exciting world of game development. They will be showing you how to create your own multilevel games with their Level Editor tool. Create, design, and play your own game right at their exhibit. Don’t worry, you can save your game, continue developing it, and play it at home.
Make It Play It! at the Children’s Creativity Museum
The Children’s Creativity Museum offers the chance to compose a simple paper circuit board as an “electronic” backdrop for stop motion animation stories. Learn about conductivity and how to prototype a circuit in order to build a switch and document a simple animation that you can receive in an email. In addition to circuitry, kids will learn about animation techniques using simple clay shapes.
Soldering Sunday with Pixel Pals
Pixel Pals are fun characters who encourage kids to learn how to solder and program with an Arduino or Raspberry Pi. At their exhibit, Soldering Sunday will help you bring their first character, Chip, to life. They’ll be providing workshops where you can solder your own Chip Kit, available in the Maker Shed.
High-tech machines aren’t the only type of technology that kids can take into their own hands. In its own right, utilizing old school outdoor skills can also be thought of as using a type of technology. Trackers Earth will be teaching kids about wilderness survival, ecological restoration, foraging for wild plants, homesteading crafts, kayak building, fishing, tracking, and more.
Making Metal Bend to Your Will
This “Take-n-Make” workshop will teach kids about the ancient art of metal embossing, while giving them the opportunity to practice their fine motor and spatial thinking skills. This exercise bridges traditional hands-on crafting with the more modern metalworking techniques that are ubiquitous in local makerspaces.
Imaginary Spaces is a creative building app for kids to build, play with, and share 3D models on a tablet. The app uses simple touch-based sketching, interactive building blocks, and intelligent tools. Young makers can export their architecture to other 3D applications or games as well as print them on a 3D printer. The app is available for free from Imaginary Spaces.
Willie invites kids to try their hand at woodworking projects, and this is certainly the most high-tech and comprehensive woodshop I’ve ever seen. In addition to traditional woodworking instruments, Willie is bringing a 3D printer, CNC router, CNC vinyl cutter, laser engraver, weaving loom, screen printer, soldering irons, and more. Did I mention that it all fits inside of a converted bus?
Supercharged Science will be offering robot building classes for 50-100 kids every hour on the hour. These will be fully functional robots, not statues or sculptures! They will also be offering a hands-on science museum complete with electric boards featuring motors, sirens, buzzers, and lights.