At about 8 am on Saturday morning, the entire neighborhood could hear my kids chanting, “Maker Faire…MakerFaire…” from the living room of our AirBnB. While they were genuinely excited to visit Maker Faire Bay Area for the very first time, they were even more excited to meet all of the makers that they’ve seen online and heard me talk about over the last two years.
While I may have planted the seed for some of this excitement when I first start my journey into the world of making and content creation a few years ago, their acceptance and enthusiasm is a result of seeing everything that people make. They love accessible everything is, even for young grade school kids like them.
This is even more apparent at Maker Faire, where there is no shortage of wide-eyed little ones that race from booth to booth with bubbling excitement. They are actually allowed to build, experiment, and, ultimately, learn about how items in the real-world work. In many instances, they can meet another young maker who is helping run the booth who is a part of a school or makerspace. That inspires them to get involved and start making.
One place that I really noticed the impact that this movement is having on the next generation was during a discussion panel with Mark Rober, Bob Clagett, Laura Kampf, and Peter Brown. The crowd seemed double in size in comparison to a similar talk from last year, but it was even more impressive to see the number of pre-teen kids in the audience. They were all attentive and seemed to care about what each person on the panel was saying.
Even my kids, who are usually on a 30-second timer for sitting still, were giddy with excitement as they looked around and recognized makers that they have been watching online. For them, it was like being on the red carpet for the Oscars.
During the panel, Bob pointed to a young gentleman and stated that this was the kid’s third year in a row attending Maker Faire. He emphasized that it was kids like him that make the future so exciting for the world of making, and I have to agree.
The pinnacle of the event was when my son and daughter were able to get their pictures with a few of their favorite makers, namely Bob Clagett, April Wilkerson, and Ben Heckendorn. To them, and all the other makers who work to inspire the next generation of doers, problem solvers, and makers, I want to say, “Thank you.”