A question we are often asked is how to encourage the Maker spirit at home. How do parents continue to incorporate what their kids learn after their programs are completed? Like all programs, education and experiences, continuous learning is key to growth and deeper understanding.
The great thing about the Maker spirit is that it can be found in many places! If you look close enough, you will find a plethora of places to create, hack, invent and do it yourself. Many of our students have brought the Maker spirit with them, in classrooms, daily activities, summer vacations and more.
Below are some of our top activities for kids and ways you can create your own MakerSpace at home:
- Designated MakerSpace
Define a special area where kids are free to play, experiment and get a bit messy. Research has shown physical spaces are a factor in how kids learn. It is important to have an area where kids can think freely and make mistakes. Inviting friends over is encouraged to increase dialogue and an exchange of ideas. A perfect after school activity!
Strawbees are great at any age. They allow kids of varying levels to create very simple or complex designs. Using straws and connectors, kids can make buildings, inventions with moving parts and can be even be connected to motors. Strawbees are a great method to teach imagination, structure and design.
- Quadrilla Marble Run
This toy doesn’t require any electricity, batteries or internet, yet still explains fundamental computer programming, debugging and logic. Kids create wooden structures that allow marbles to run through them. By involving moving objects, kids learn about acceleration, problem solving and engineering.
LittleBits are easy and ready-to-use electronic kits. Teaching the basics of electronics, (as well as science, tech, arts and math) kids can make doorbells, cars and different types of machines. With no soldering involved, kids can keep on rebuilding and easily share their inventions.
- Old Toys
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. The core of the Maker spirit consists of a DIY outlook, hack culture and using open-sourced technology. With a worldview, many Maker activities use defunct items to upcycle and reinvent. Take a look around the house, are there any objects that can be toy-hacked or repurposed? Try using them in any of the above mentioned Maker activities too!
Remember to also ask what your kids like and how they envision their MakerSpace. Get them involved in the process and have them take ownership; it’s a sure way they will be actively engaged in their MakerSpace. Note that not all toys and gadgets (even labelled “Maker”) may be beneficial or something your child would like. Ideally look for items that are fun, educational and hands-on. They should allow kids to modify or create the design, have real world applications and, most importantly, they give kids the inspiration to make the world a better place.
Need more inspiration? Check out our virtual tour of our Toronto MakerSpace!