The Kids’ Guide to Maker Faire Bay Area: 25 Awesome Things to See and Do

Maker News
The Kids’ Guide to Maker Faire Bay Area: 25 Awesome Things to See and Do

Calling all young makers: This one’s for you! We all know the best way to enjoy Maker Faire is by wandering around and discovering cool projects you may never have seen if you were on a mission. But sometimes, having a plan can be a very good thing, just so you don’t miss something you really, really want to see. And, well, there are only so many hours in the day and Maker Faire Bay Area only comes around once a year.

There’s just so much to see and do, so many things to make you giggle, so many ways to make a beautiful mess, so many awesome new things to learn. Here are a bunch of fun, creative projects that we know you mini makers are sure to like. We even included a few of the projects where the makers are kids, just like you. Remember, this is just the tip of the delicious snow cone. There are tons more projects and makers for you to discover at Maker Faire Bay Area, this weekend, May 19–21, at the San Mateo Playground — oops, we mean Fairgrounds.

Giant Spirograph

Ride a kick scooter around and around, making hypocycloid patterns on the pavement with sidewalk chalk as you go. Created by maker Chris Espinosa, it’s like the old-school Spirograph drawing toy, but 10 feet in diameter and kid-powered.

Location: Zone 4 in West Green/Grass A

OVY Pedal Power Racers

Calling all kids 3–8 yrs olds: Come race all you want on the Peddle Power Racers Track. Volunteers from Optimist Volunteers For Youth will set you up to race or ride on our 3-Wheel Racers. Stop by anytime to go for a spin!

Location: Zone 1 in South Lot/South

100-yen Robot Workshop

The 100-yen Robot Club is coming all the way from Japan to share a variety of techniques for building moving robots out of products you can buy from dollar stores (100 yen means one dollar).

Location: Zone 6 in West Lot/Robots

Make Your Own Soap

Learn how to make a bar of soap using a glycerin base you can easily melt and pour. You choose the color, fragrance, and toy, and you’ll go home with your completed soap! This is an easy, fun, and creative project taught by Lisa Chouinard of Feto Soap.

Location: Zone 2 in Expo/Northwest

The Playground 2.0

Do you love to play? Then come and join the Oakwood School STEAM Council in their new Playground 2.0! There, you can build a zipline racer, play with a bubble printer, try the free play arcade, or make an upside-down top.

Location: Zone 1 in South Lot/East

Unicorn Scouts: Make Your Own Unicorn Horn

The Unicorn Scouts, a whimsy troop for all ages and all spectrums, is serious about being silly. They make magic by creating whimsical, interactive experiences that let your “inner child” come out and play! We all need more whimsy in the world. So come make your unicorn horn, wear it, and complete a Whimsy mission to get your badge. Your unicorn horn is a reminder of your magic.

Location: Zone 10 in Make: Activities

Creature Quads

Baron Von Jabba’s Creature Quads, Miss Tickle and Hawk, are interactive mechanical contraptions. They will be roaming around the Maker Faire looking for pilots and animators. Could it be you?

Location: Zone 4 in West Green/Grass D and Roaming

Giant Soap Bubbles

Come and learn about how to make giant bubbles! Make your own wand, which you can keep. At this exhibit of the state-of-the-art in bubble making, design consultant and backyard scientist Brian Lawrence will teach you to how to even make your own want that you get to take home with you.

Location: Zone 9 in Eastside

Giant Cardboard Robots

Did we mention that they’re really big and made of cardboard? As makers Jason Lentz and Ian McCullough say, “The revolution will be corrugated!” Come arm yourself with Giant Cardboard Robot arms!

Location: Zone 4 in West Green/Grass H and Roaming

Program a Robot and Make Electronic Wearables

FutureLeague is a community organization dedicated to inspire kids to innovate to build the future. For kids ages 7-10, code a programmable Arduino robot using drag and drop software to achieve challenges! For kids in grades 11-adult, build a light-up wearable device using Arduino to see your innovation come to life!

Location: Zone 6 in West Lot/Robots

Make and Launch Compressed Air Rockets!

Join the fun by making your own rocket and launching it hundreds of feet into the air! This has been a favorite activity at Maker Faire Bay Area for many years now, brought to you by educator and maker Rick Schertle and Air Rocket Works.

Location: Zone 1 in South Lot/South

Balloon Hacks

You’ve worked with wood, cardboard, 3D printers, laser cutters, fabric, and electronics. Now try the art of balloon twisting and hacking with Squidy the Squid. Drop in to learn techniques to make your own hacks, including wearables (bracelets, headbands, hats, dresses), flowers, animals and more.

Location: Zone 2 in Expo/West

Acme Muffineering

See the inner workings of Acme Muffineerings 18:1 scale cupcake vehicles! Their cupcake cars are delicious, mentally nutritious, highly maneuverable, and built from scratch using only the finest new and repurposed ingredients.

Location: Zone 9 in Eastside/Grass T

Monster Trees

The Watt sisters, Jill and Lorna, collect and hack vintage knitting machines for knitting street art and commissioned installations. Four huge, knit tree eyeballs are back this year! Try it yourself and see more epic knit street art at the machine knitting booth.

Location: Zone 9 in Eastside

Making Pyrographic Memories

Learn the ancient art of pyrography (wood-burning) using traditional tools and techniques via a free make-and-take with maker Sarah Hodsdon. Open to all young makers (and those who remember being young once upon a time)!

Location: Zone 8 in The Yard/North

SpinBots ArtBot Workshop

SpinBots is a workshop that allows kids to build a drawing robot, or ArtBot. Using surplus motors, switches, and laser-cut parts, young roboteers can build their very own art-making robot. We provide the platform — you provide the creativity!

Location: Zone 10 in Make Activities

Paper Roller Coasters

Build marble runs using only paper and tape. Andrew Gatt’s Paper Roller Coaster templates have been used in schools in all 50 states and over 30 countries. It’s a great hobby for anyone who likes origami or engineering. Join Andrew and his son and collaborator Daniel to make your own.

Location: Zone 10 in Make Activities

Young Makers Who Are Exhibiting

Sometimes the best inspiration is seeing what young makers just like you are making. Come meet these bright young makers, check out their projects, and talk to them about how they got started!

15-Second Drawings

You tell Tinker Girl what you want her to draw and then hit the homemade buzzer. In 15 seconds, she’ll whip out a drawing for you that you can take home. Tinker Girl is a 10-year-old who loves to draw and make things.

Location: Zone 6 in West Lot/Robots


Atomix is a retro-futuristic, LED-infused, robot costume worn by its 10-year-old creator, Atom Glover. It was conceived to represent the hope of a better future through technology, space travel, and fun. For fun, Atom makes movies, plays piano, and does math. Atom plans to design robots for space travel and hopes to be the second human on Mars.

Location: Roaming in Zone 9

Chalk the World

Three teens from the Pacific Northwest — Sara, David, and Julia — spent two years and their own funds bringing a rusted old milk truck back to life. They lovingly restored the classic truck by hand-making an interior, painting the exterior, and even replacing the engine and transmission. Now they’re on a mission: They’re driving across America, inspiring people of all ages to use their imaginations!

Location: Zone 4 in West Green/Grass C

CoderBunnyz Board Game

Are you ready to challenge yourself and be a code maker? Come play CoderBunnyz and learn programming and coding concepts. An inventor, speaker, and maker, 8-year-old Samaira created STEM board game Coderbunnyz to get everyone excited about coding in a really fun way and to teach coding to kids age 4–104!

Location: Zone 8 in Sequoia

Farrell’s Props

See how you can make helmets, props, and costumes of your favorite superhero! Try on a costume or two. And if you have a few minutes, you can make a prop of your own to take home! Farrell is a young prop maker from Canada. In his spare time he likes to make prop replicas including helmets, costumes, and many hand props using a variety of molding, casting, and building techniques.

Location: Zone 2 in Expo/Northwest

Mindful Monkey Wire Game

Mindful Monkey is a wire game in which two players compete to see who can get the best score. Each player moves the loop around the wire. The person who has the best score at the end of the Faire will win their very own wire game. Mindful Monkey was made by 11-year-old maker Tomi, who likes making/hacking, cooking, reading, riddles, and programming.

Location: Zone 9

Lighthouse Creativity Lab

Join Lighthouse Creativity Lab for design challenges! From grabbers and paper-circuit murals to 3D design and watersheds, Lighthouse Charter School K-12 students will be sharing exciting projects and leading hands-on activities for children and adults.

Location: Zone 10 in Make Activities

Young Makers Program

Maker Ed’s Young Makers program brings together a community of young people with mentors and a space to make. In small clubs, participants work together to design and make a youth-chosen, open-ended project which they showcase at Maker Faire!

Location: Zone 8 in Sequoia

All the information you need to join the fun at Maker Faire Bay Area this weekend is on the site, including a full list of makers, a map, the program guide, and how to buy tickets in advance!

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I'm a word nerd who loves to geek out on how emerging technology affects the lexicon. I was an editor on the first 40 volumes of MAKE, and I love shining light on the incredible makers in our community. In particular, covering art is my passion — after all, art is the first thing most of us ever made. When not fawning over perfect word choices, I can be found on the nearest mountain, looking for untouched powder fields and ideal alpine lakes.

Contact me at or via @snowgoli.

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