Maker Camp: Halfway through an Awesome Summer!

Maker Camp: Halfway through an Awesome Summer!


It’s been a busy first three weeks of Maker Camp. Thousands of kids worldwide have been dipping their toes into making. Our more advanced supercampers have been taking on bigger challenges and even holding their own gatherings around the virtual campfire with hangouts after our official hangouts. (We’re looking at you, Supercamper Ashley Van Steenhacker!)

Today we kicked off the fourth week of Maker Camp, on the theme of Science and Technology, and we did it with two big parties. In our usual spot at 11am we welcomed Massimo Banzi (yes, the co-founder of Arduino!) and fellow maker superstar Ayah Bdeir of littleBits. But first, at 9am, we met with three young scientists who are in the running to win the 2014 Google Science Fair, and Brittany Wenger who won first place in 2012 with her design of a neural network for cancer analysis.

This week, and all 15 days we have left of Maker Camp, we have jam-packed your maker days with great projects and content. Check out the Maker Camp website to see what’s in store and what we’ve seen so far. Happily, you can jump right in now and get making right away. If you want to re-live the three weeks you may have missed, the great news is that every Hangout has been archived on Make’s channel on YouTube, and all the conversations between Maker Campers are still live on Maker Camp community.

Maker Camp is for every kid, everywhere. We’re bringing makers and making to kids around the world. Be sure every kid you know is aware that this free and open program is here for them! Check out the very active Maker Camp community, full of very enthusiastic posts. Our campers have been busily building our daily and advanced projects, and you can see a handful of those above.

What did Delaware? A Maker Camp t-shirt! 

Our goal in 2014 was to find 500 affiliate sites at libraries, Boys & Girls Clubs, makerspaces, and more. We’re nearly there! We only have a few dozen spots left, and with a 4-H club signing up in Dover a week ago Friday, Maker Camp is are now reaching all 50 states. First to sign the Constitution, Delaware was the last to whittle its state’s name into the Maker Camp ceremonial tree.

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Today, we had our first Hangout with campers at the Guadalupe Branch Library in Maricopa County (shown in the video, right, on Day 1 of camp, and the photo, above.) Guadalupe’s between Tempe and Phoenix, Arizona, and many of the kids who come to camp sessions are members of the nearby Pascua Yaqui tribe. Maria Mucino, the branch manager, wrote to us a couple of weeks ago to tell us, “The campers and the staff are having so much fun with Maker Camp; their creative juices are to the top!”

guadalupe Maker Camp
Campers hard at work at the Maker Camp at the Guadalupe Branch Library in Maricopa County, Arizona.

HaifaMakerCampBesides the States, we also have sites in Puerto Rico, Quintana Roo and other parts of Mexico, India, New Zealand, Jordan, Colombia, Costa Rica, Israel (including Haifa, where two campers sported their Learn-to-Solder pins, left), Singapore, Ireland, Canada, Brazil, Egypt… and on and on! Today we got an application from the Marine and Family Programs office at MCCS Iwakuni, Japan.

Occasionally, a Maker Camp affiliate site isn’t run by a library or a Boys & Girls Club, but by a camper! Twelve-year-old Riley is leading his peers in a neighborhood camp (group picture below.) His mom Kimberly wrote, “We are having so much fun with the Maker Camp box and our non-Maker friends have been won over with the experience. It’s also nice for Riley to be able to connect with other children through his passion… Your efforts are benefiting so many people in countless ways.”


15 great days behind us, 15 more to go!

We’ve had on Makers who fearlessly tackle projects for no other reason that they want to see them happen. Every day of Maker Camp has been truly great, but here are a few highlights of our first three weeks of camp:

  • buzzBuzz launching us on July 7th. We had a real astronaut on Maker Camp!
  • Jacqueline, an engineer at Festo, whose long career in engineering did not begin with a college degree, but by leaping into everything from movie props (for Spielberg’s Glory) and low-riders. She (and Festo’s bionic bots) oozed cool!
    • Similarly, Jie thought she’d be a surgeon, but was inevitably drawn to a path where her passion for papercraft could walk hand-in-hand with the rigorous creativity of engineering.
  • Google Treks taking us on a meta-field trip: hundreds or thousands of field trips in one, and showing us how to build photospheres
  • Becky of Adafruit shared us her “clone” of her favorite beanie baby, which she sewed it at age 8, and it still held all its fava beans!
  • Erica’s glue gun covered with pink Swarovski crystals.
  • Jess of Flux Foundation told us that each person has a special, secret, “ninja skill.”
  • Paloma’s nature walk, inspired by Jessica of Nervous System.
  • Carla showing off how she is prototyping new frames for her (and her mini figurine’s) eyeglasses
  • cartoonnetworkThe live voiceover by creative powerhouse Peter over a pencil test at Cartoon Network Studios (seen in the still from the video of the Field Trip Friday, right)
  • A very friendly sneak preview of the STEAM Carnival as it was being built in the workshop of Two Bit Circus, and a tour of Urban Putt
  • A live visit to a park on the other side of the world, in Sweden, with “sonified” skate ramps by Skatehack.
  • Two coups of field trips in one day–to both LEGO in Billund, Denmark and Fantasmic! at Disneyland.

 What do the weeks ahead hold in store?

Tune in every weekday at 11am Pacific time. Don’t miss a moment!

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

Michelle, or Binka, makes . While at Maker Media, she oversaw publications, outreach, and programming for kids, families, and schools. Before joining Maker Media in 2007, she worked at the Exploratorium, in Mitchel Resnick’s Lifelong Kindergarten group at the MIT Media Lab, and as a curriculum designer for various publishers and educational researchers. When she’s not supporting future makers, including her two young sons, Binka does some making of her own, most often as a visual artist.

View more articles by Michelle "Binka" Hlubinka


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