Confession: While I’ve been to several Maker Faire Bay Areas (Maker Faires Bay Area?), I’ve never been to a Mini Maker Faire. Until this last weekend. I visited the Benicia Mini Maker Faire on Saturday, which was charmingly low key to the point of effectively being a glorified high school science fair. And I LOVED IT — it was just the right size for our family outing.

Took my wife and kids (Ella, 4.5 and Max, 2) and we had a great day. Both kids dug the make-a-little-boat-float-it-down-this-fun-river thing. Ella and I did a horrible job navigating the laser maze, but we had a good 007 adventure and a laugh.

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Floating your boat

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Float it down the river

Met a few of the makers who were all happy to chat about what they’re making (everything from laser-cut kinetic gear kits to aquaponics, 3D printed RC robot kits to balloon animals) and why. There was even an Arduino-controlled testing environment to discover how single-celled organisms learn (who needs a brain, right?).

We’d seen everything before the kids started to crater. Perfect timing! Ella is super psyched to go to more Maker Faires!

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Ella shows off her Frog Boat™

Key takeaways:

– The optimum age for kids at a Maker Faire is probably 6-years old and up. While it’s still fun to bring ‘em, 2-year olds just get into trouble.
– There are still bands out there who emulate Firehose. Who knew?
– My 2-year old can plow an entire corndog faster than I can.
– Those big cardboard robot costumed dudes cause my kids low-level PTSD (“Daddy, can the robot get us? Where’s the robot now?”)
– Fire trucks are like catnip for kids.

Got a story about your experience at a Mini Maker Faire? We want to hear about it! Pop it to us.

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Greg Price of Steamy Tech shows off his kinetic gear kits

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Make: schwag at the Benicia Makerspace booth

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Ella demos a Tinkathing RC robot


Find the next Mini Maker Faire near you!
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