10 Reasons Maker Camp Was the Best Way to Spend Our Summer

Maker Camp took off at Biblioteca Digital Tenango del Valle (Tenango Valley Digital Library) near Mexico City.
Maker Camp took off at Biblioteca Digital Tenango del Valle (Tenango Valley Digital Library) near Mexico City.

Maker Camp, our free online summer camp, inspired kids around the world to explore, make, and share for six fabulous weeks this summer. Camp Counselors Burke and Paloma marched our campers to peaks of creativity in projects centered around an “F” troop of themes: Fantasy, Funkytown, Farmstead, Fun & Games, Flight, and Far-Out Future. Makers of all ages and skill levels joined us as campers! And you still can!

Maker Camp summer of projects is perfect fodder for reusing all year ’round. Our daily videos introduce quick making tips and guide campers on step-by-step project builds. Through field trips and special guest Q&As, our campers met inspirational makers from places like Pixar and NASA. For those who like some goof and spoof under their roof, Burke and Paloma also got up to some mischief (along with their friend-in-the-window Rebecca Raptor), including a Pun War, some casual space/time travel, and an epic, choreographed secret handshake.

Running daily from July 6 through August 14, Maker Camp keeps bubbling away year-round (word on the trail is that there will be some exciting news about that soon). In the meantime, you can still participate! Watch the videos and make the projects anytime you want! The beauty of Maker Camp is that you can follow along at your own speed, or skip around to themes and projects that interest you. And most importantly, whatever, whenever, however, and why-ever you make, don’t forget to share your making with the Maker Camp Community, or use #makercamp on Twitter, Instagram, etc.

Let’s buckle-up in the Maker Camp Wayback Machine, cue up “Memories,” and re-live some amazing moments from the summer.

1. Kids These Days (Make Their Own Habitats)

Sustainable Housing took on a whole new meaning during Farmstead Week, with a surge of Geodesic Dome Construction.

2. Favorite Trend: The Rise of the Maker Cat

Each week brought with it a cat-astrophic project, from “caped purrsaders” to kitty masks and artwork. The feline affection was strong at Maker Camp.

3. Toying with Games

Would you be a Live Action Root Beer Pong champion (with moving cups), or a Monster Pinball wizard? Campers revamped traditional games with a creative spin.

4. Futuristic Fashion

Terminator’s Bionic Eye peeked into camp and a surprise penguin hat trend took off. We saw fashion-forward designs all during the final “Far-Out Future” week of Maker Camp, from LED-studded shirts to drinkable headgear.

5. Time Travel (and the Dino Revival)

With Rebecca Raptor’s quest through time and space to save her parents and Burke’s teleportation to Detroit, we had our fair share of past and future phenomena.

6. Far-Out Field Trips

The team at Maker Camp flew around world and back with Special Guests and Field Trip Fridays. We interviewed the whimsical minds behind Maywa Denki in Japan, and flew to NASA to talk with the team behind the SOFIA telescope.

7. Puns A-Plenty!

Our favorite hosts Paloma and Burke kept us snappy with weekly puns. We’ve pulled together our favorites here.

  • “Emily is sew good at crafting, she could pipe clean the floor with anyone in that department.” (Fantasy Week)
  • “Do you know why today is so much better than last week? Because Paper beats Rock!” (Transition from Funkytown to Farmstead Week)
  • “I’m impressed Burke, you seem to have propelled yourself to new heights!” (Flight Week)

8. Special Makey Appearances

We were ecstatic to see our favorite robot Makey pop up in camper projects. Come see him (and us!) at World Maker Faire in a few weeks.

9. Campers Tested the Limits, with AWESOME Results!

From Lego Ball Labyrinths to Rocket-Propelled Toy Cars, campers explored all types of advanced Maker projects from Make: Magazine, Intel, and more!

Lego maze

Check out the instructions to make this Lego Ball Labyrinth yourself.


10. The Grown-Ups who Made Camp Rock!

att-campThousands of adult campers made this program possible (and had fun while doing so!), putting in the time and love to bring Maker Camp to kids all over the world.

Maker Camp as a whole — including the videos, free materials kits to 500 affiliates, project writeups, affiliate support, and so much more — was generously powered by Intel and AT&T.

We can’t wait for the next season of Maker Camp to begin, and that may be sooner than you think!

Discuss this article with the rest of the community on our Discord server!
Kelli Townley

Kelli Townley is a lifelong maker who has worked at Maker Media, Pixar, and several startups, including video games, hardware, and health/wellness.

View more articles by Kelli Townley
Kathryn Lastufka

Kathryn Lastufka handles social media for Maker Camp. She has been a devoted fan of Maker Faire since attending her first while a student in the UC Davis class "Electronics for Artists.” She’s an avid sci-fi reader who also loves to climb.

View more articles by Kathryn Lastufka


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