STEM programs for kids

What do people think about Makerkids?

“I wish they had places like this when I was a kid. As a “tomboy”, I was actively discouraged from pursuing anything un-ladylike. It’s important to let kids find themselves in positive ways and MakerKids fills that need. These kids may not all grow up to be engineers or video game designers, but they will get the message that their talents and ideas are valuable and that they have something to contribute to their community – whether that community is a group of geeky kids or the world at large. Empowering kids with a sense of confidence in their abilities to solve problems is good no matter which way you look at it.”

“A most excellent program and apparently unique in the world so far. My nine year old son had a blast, is recommending it to all his friends and would have set up camp there permanently if I let him! Higher praise has no nine year old believe me! And a strong focus on woman role models makes this a natural for girls interested in STEM too. I highly recommend it.” – Susan

“They experienced a completely different kind of camp, very unique and learned about robotics, Minecraft, and creating. something very different from a conventional camp.”

“Great company! great people! I really respect what these guys are doing.” – Oksana Salamaszek

“MakerKids has impressed me from the start. It’s the ultimate playground for wired, technology- oriented kids or any child that wants to play “inventor”, and what kid doesn’t! The atmosphere is relaxed and the teaching method is child-centered. Creativity comes first and no question is left unanswered. Experimentation and the learning process are emphasized more than the end result.”- Roberta Janzen

My boys flourish here and look forward to it every week. They show social skills improvement and more confidence since coming to MakerKids and finding their “tribe.” Happy children make me a happy and grateful mom. Thanks MakerKids for creating programs for my quirky, “outside the box thinking” boys.

Tammy

Parent

I love that the kids take the lead on their projects and learn how to achieve their goals Absolutely the kind of things my kids are interested in exploring in a guided setting!

Parent

This MakerKids Graduate learned key sound, robotics and design concepts and now runs his own business fixing stereo equipment in his neighbourhood!

Robotics Programs for Kids Toronto

Experts

“I think that MakerKids is doing some outstanding things for kids. Let’s get more kids into making.” – Carlos Contreras, Director of Education at Intel

Summer Camp

“MakerKids was a great experience for my kids this summer. One of my sons did 4 different weeks and each was a different program. Jacob loved Makerkids and learned a great deal about electronics and computer programming. These programs are the way if the future. Jacob has expressed interest in working at Makerkids one day. It really was a very positive experience for him as well as our younger son who joined him for one of the weeks.  I recommend MakerKids to anyone whose kids want to try something different, it is just great!” – Lori Snow

“I just spoke to my child and he absolutely loved his experience…all he kept saying was that it wasn’t long enough!  It’s not that often that a kid will say that they want to stay in the after care program longer so that they can keep having fun! My only wish is that you were closer!

“The camp was perfect for my 8-year old son’s interests. He has already asked for online Scratch and Minecraft accounts. He was excited to go to camp every morning.”

“Luke was excited to come to camp every day. He tried hard and is already excited about the fall program we already signed up for.”

“I liked the up-beat atmosphere for the kids and the beautiful space. I liked the fact that the kids are encouraged to experiment, try new things and embrace the technology. I liked the fact that going outside for lunch and to run around was on the agenda.”

“My child learned a lot. He liked the variety of the Sampler Camp – particularly Minecraft.”

Kids STEM Programs Toronto

Build Social Skills

“For my son, the challenges were always more social and emotional, not academic, and he improved in both those areas.”

“It’s hard to overstate. He went from being terrified of the idea of being in a program with other kids to being one of the kids who helped the newer members acclimatise.  He also finally had the experience of being in an environment where his life-long and all-consuming interests were not only honoured but valued and shared. The benefits of that are immeasurable.”

“He was supported completely in both areas he was strong in, like creativity and the technical activities, as well as those he was not a strong in, like dealing with frustration and being flexible with other kids. He was able to grow tremendously in both areas!

Make Friends

“MakerKids came on my radar after Googling the game Minecraft, a game that my kids are very passionate about. What a lucky find! Every Thursday now my twin 9 year old boys play their favourite game with other fans in a safe, fun and welcoming atmosphere. The mandate that we are all “makers” and that creativity is the beginning of any great idea is apparent in the relaxed accepting vibe of the space and in the approach of the facilitators. Makers themselves, they seem to intuitively embrace and encourage what other classes and systems work so hard to repress. My boys flourish here and look forward to it every week. They show social skills improvement and more confidence since coming to MakerKids and finding their “tribe.” Happy children make me a happy and grateful mom. Thanks MakerKids for creating programs for my quirky, “outside the box thinking” boys.” – Tammy Isbell

They loved being able to meet other kids that were interested in the same things as themselves. Being geeky can be isolating; MakerKids allowed them to be comfortable in their own skin and skills.”

“They made friends based on their interests, not because of proximity (neighbours, school). “

“Both the boys found a community that they fit into which gave them a stronger sense of who they are. They have been teased quite consistently at school over the years but this last year, it didn’t seem to bother them as much. I think that is because they discovered a place that validated their likes/dislikes and inherent skills.”

“They have nurtured friendships. At another program they attend they found another kid who likes Minecraft and now he’s attending the program. They have come out of themselves in a positive way. A year ago, two years ago, they never would have reached out to anyone, now they hang out with this other boy in a fairly regular basis.”

Birthday Parties

One of the top 10 awesome birthday party places in Toronto – Today’s Parent

“A great spot for a party” – Huffington Post

“MakerKids was perfect for my son ‘s birthday party. He and his friends love to build stuff so the hands on activities kept them engaged the whole time. The staff member who helped was fantastic and it was a breeze to arrange. I’d highly recommend MakerKids and their birthday party packages.” – Alison

“I wanted to send you a quick email to let you know that the birthday party today was great! The instructor and your other 2 helpers were fantastic! Many parents are now looking into your other programs.” – Mary

“Thank you for existing so my son could have his best birthday party ever. The instructor, Graham, was awesome! So friendly and knowledgeable and patient. A great time was had by all! -Heather

“Whether your little maker is into Minecraft or LED lights, MakerKids has the ideal party for your child. These are just some of the options for shindigs that run 1.5 to 2.5 hours long. Most of the parties are geared to kids aged 8 and up, but there are options for slightly younger ones, too. Cost varies depending on the number of guests and the length of the party, but packages start at $250 for a 1.5-hour-long party for fewer than 10 kids, which includes an instructor-led activity, supplies, party space, one staff member to help with the event, set-up and clean-up. Parents are welcome to bring in their own refreshments such as drinks and cake.” – Today’s Parent

Build Confidence

“Kids come in here not knowing what they can do and they leave with a phenomenal amount of self-confidence, and capability.” – Rod

“Artash developed more confidence and skills about DIY projects at MakerKids. He enjoyed tinkering and interacting with mentors and getting his numerous questions answered.” – Vikas Nath

“My child seemed to mature over this past summer. Doing something he really wanted to do and us and MakerKids allowing it was a boost in self confidence and maturing.”

“Definitely self-confidence improves with MakerKids.  He feels like his ideas are valued and like he is heard.”

“He loves being with people who appreciate his ideas, who inspire him to do more.  He likes the tools and he likes the activities.” 

Build Independence

“Liked the independence, guidance when required.”

“I love that the kids take the lead on their projects and learn how to achieve their goals Absolutely the kind of things my kids are interested in exploring in a guided setting!”

“It seemed my child enjoyed trying out various things by himself first, and having help by instructors when he needed.”

 

Interest-Driven

Hands-on use of programs and computers; ability to pursue what was of interest. Was full day, and had plenty of staff for the crowd of kids.

Amazing Instructors

The counsellors were very good with the kids, extremely knowledgeable and the kids loved learning more about what they already love to do at home.

He enjoyed learning complex programming, and was pleased that the instructors were able to teach the kids at different levels. The fact that he was able to learn at his own speed really helped keep him engaged.

Veronica liked the collaborative approach and open communication.

Good counselors, great location and comfortable surroundings. My kids liked doing new activities never done before.

The people were great (the helpers). Our son had a great time! The children were all happy!!!

My daughter really enjoyed it. It’s hard to find a way to do a very individual and niche activity like this with a group. Teachers were super nice and put in effort. Really just a cool space for creativity and an interesting group.

Learn from Others, Teach Each Other

The Minecraft camp gave my son lots of exposure to the game and he enjoyed learning from others. The teachers were very helpful!

Build Presentation Skills

I really liked the presentation aspect of the final day. It was an excellent extension of their learning and wonderful to see (for the parents, caregivers etc.) what they had been up to. It was also great that they went outside for some movement. My son enjoyed the whole experience.

Mental Health Outcomes

“My child who has Aspergers and is quite shy, has become much more outgoing and it is quite obvious to us as well as others.”

“I honestly can’t say enough good things about MakerKids, Jenn, and the rest of the team. When my son started his first multi-week Arduino class last spring, he had only done a few open-make days, and had never – not ever – done an extracurricular program or camp. He is 11, super-bright, with high-functioning autism, and always found the challenge of being successful in a group of peers when there are activities happening totally beyond him.  Right from the first day of the class at MK though, every single member of the staff strove to understand exactly what my son’s anxieties were, and accommodate him. They immediately connected with his passion for building and technology, and used that as a way to make him feel connected to the program and the group. He loved every class, and Thursdays quickly became the best day of the week by a long shot.  His confidence grew immeasurably, and he loved every minute of the course. He was able to learn first hand about the process of building a project from the ground up, from planning, to revision, to the multiple steps in testing and revising and failing and trying again. Most of all, he was clearly delighted to be in a place and with people who not only “got” him, but loved the same things that he does. His passions and interests – which are usually only marginally addressed and fostered in school and other settings – were encouraged and celebrated. You can’t get better than that.  This past summer he also did a one week camp session at MK, and from start to finish, he had a blast. He was outgoing, relaxed and even helpful with some of the younger kids in the group, and was able to handle things which a short time ago would have been overwhelming. Best of all, he was so excited and proud of what he was accomplishing every day, and eager to do more.  Truly I think if he came up with a place where he felt right at home, with everything he could ask for there, he’d be talking about MakerKids. Ok, maybe he would like a jet engine, but otherwise, it’s just about perfect.   Regan Daley, Mum of 11-year-old inventor.

“After completing his first ever multiweek course at MK (his first anywhere, though) he not only felt confident enough to venture into several camp programs in the summer, but was successful in all of them, and felt a huge increase in social confidence.”

Build Technical Skills

“Bottom line: they learned stuff. They learned new skills and they learned how to better skills they already had a good command of.”

He loved the opportunities for creating, learning new skills to advance what he was able to do, and the staff.  

 

Build Creativity

It is a great space to help kids create what they can imagine! – Baxter Wallace

 

Enrichment for Gifted Children

“My kids are both gifted so I believe that this camp was something they both enjoyed because it was science and art mixed together, subjects they already excel at. It only helped those skills.”

Be Inspired to Build a Love of Learning

“They were dedicated to the programs they attended. They borrowed books from the library and, in a less formal way, they had a starting point for discussion with like-minded kids which provided them with ideas and inspiration.”

Both of my kids are very driven and MakerKids helped increase their desire to learn that much more.”

Build Resilience

“Our child is gradually learning to accept that failure is part of the making process and that it is not always final — failing once does not have to mean failure forever. “

“He was able to a) see that multiple attempts and revamping plans are part and parcel of any invention or project, and b) he was able to get over the anxiety about trying something he had never done before, because he could clearly see how learning that skill or technique would lead directly to his being able to build bigger and better things.”

I liked that it challenged him

 

From Kids

“At first when I came here, I had no idea how any of this electric stuff worked, and I’m just like, how I am going to be able to make this? But over time with my mistakes, I realized it gets easier and it comes to me and sometimes making a mistake actually teaches you something – why something doesn’t work.” – Joe, age 11

“Since I come here about every week, it’s like Christmas every week!” – Leif Fitzimmons Frey (Global News)

“This place is awesome. It’s fun to make things, and you can use your imagination a lot. And there’s no right or wrong thing to do.” – Ethan Robson

I liked learning about downloading Minecraft Forge and mods

The whole camp was based around fun and creative activity, which I really enjoyed. I also liked talking with the other campers, even though they were younger than me.

“MakerKids is an awesome organization. I like that they won’t do the project for you. They will of course teach you how to use tools. If you want to make something they will supervise but you will do it. We need a MakerKids here.” – Joey Hudy, teen maker who made a marshmallow gun that he got to show President Obama

 

Advice from Maker Kids for other Maker Kids

“Mistakes aren’t really bad cause you can learn not to do your mistake again” – Adam, age 8

“Make a plan before you start” – Blaede, age 10

“Be patient when working in a group!”

“Make sure when you’re drilling something, you put something underneath it so you don’t drill through the table.” – Amelia & Maceo, age 11

“Get one thing working well first, instead of trying too many things at the same time” – Julia, age 12

School Testimonials

“The students are really enjoying the programme. Graham has the students engaged and has great class management skills.”

“I am writing to recommend one more great organization for the co-curricular program, if there is space for it for the future. It is now expanding into schools, so it is a great opportunity.  My daughter has been trekking to the High Park area for this one, for her second year, as are many kids from mid-town, as it is unique and very well delivered, so well worth the drive. It is essentially a maker space for kids.  Here she has learned Minecraft, programming with Scratch, and some robotics.  The culture is consistent with IB principles, specifically encouraging risk taking.”

Inspired by one of our MakerKids’ clubs, a student in grade 5 and his Dad are building an Arduino controller to remotely turn on the cottage water heater in advance of their arrival. This and other amazing projects have been spreading through Kingsway College School thanks to MakerKids.

It’s never been more exciting to be in education; the learning and creativity through technology, coding, electronics and open-ended making are like rocket fuel for the school experience. But schools need help making this available for all their students, and that’s where MakerKids stepped in at KCS. Their focus on children, their passion for learning through making, and their flexibility in providing solutions for our school have been invaluable in our efforts.

Vast new frontiers for learning are possible by embracing the Maker Movement, but most schools don’t have enough in-house expertise needed to go there. With MakerKids, you’ll have the expertise you need. You’ll be amazed by the potential in your students. MakerKids will help you release it.” – Andrea Fanjoy – Assistant Head, Academics – Kingsway College School

 

Staff

“For me, working at MakerKids was much more than a job. It offered an unmatched opportunity to be at the forefront of a movement that is revolutionizing how we approach education. At MakerKids, I worked in unison with industry leaders, educators, and parents to create impactful change not only within the organization, but in the lives of children and youth. Now pursuing my degree in Electrical Engineering, I credit my time at MakerKids with giving me the opportunity, confidence, skill set and ethic that is unrivaled by any organization.”

 

Events

From Maker Faire Toronto:  “My 8yo son says he loved it all. He especially enjoyed the balloon battle bots (won his round!), and the toy hacking.” “The kids’ toy hacking area was amazing” “We loved the toy hacking.  Lots of great buttons to push.  Lots of hands-on things for Kids (we came on the Saturday) such as making your own motor out of wire and a magnet and some batteries” “Mostly I went for the kids (ages 4 and 7), and by far the favourite thing to do was toy hacking. We loved it so much, we decided to do this for our son’s birthday party!” “The number of hands-on activities was great.  My kids loved the toy hacking, and what a great way to help them understand that it’s okay to change things, and make things their own.  The best part was the way my kids continued to talk about the event after we left.  They had a better time than I had hoped.” “Toyhacking with MakerKids was a favourite at our house.” “My kids adored the toy (re)construction!” “Toy Hack was popular with my 6 year old – her toy is pride of place in her room, and has been for show ‘n’ tell at school.”

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