How can we give more kids the opportunity to make things and bring them to exhibit at Maker Faire? That was the question asked first by Tony DeRose of Pixar, who realized how much he and his family enjoyed working on a project and exhibiting it at Maker Faire and wanted to help provide a similar opportunity for others. In collaboration with Tony and the Exploratorium, MAKE and Maker Faire have organized the Young Makers program, starting first in the Bay Area in 2010. In our second year we introduced the idea of local “Maker Clubs." Meeting at schools or in a parent-run garage or workshop, 100 young makers and 50 adult volunteers participated in 20 or so clubs, and approximately 40 project teams exhibited at Bay Area Maker Faire 2011. Now in our third year, we had 300 makers and mentors in the Bay Area alone, and dozens of clubs across the continent, with nearly 70 projects exhibited at Maker Faire Bay Area 2012.
The Young Makers Program intends to connect like-minded young people with adult mentors and fabricators and to organize opportunities for kids to dream up and develop projects for Maker Faire each year. We encourage kids to develop projects based on their own interests and ideas. Projects have included a pedal-powered trolley, furniture that doubles as a hamster habitat, a fire-breathing dragon, a seesaw water pump, an animatronic galloping horse, and a mobile spy camera. We all work together to create a collaborative culture of creativity, innovation and experimentation. In addition, we bring the clubs together monthly at the Exploratorium to explore different kinds of making and to talk about their own work in progress. In the Young Makers Program, there are no winners and losers; the focus is on exhibition, not competition. Just like Maker Faire, anything that’s cool is fair game.
Sign up to start a Maker Club, to join one, or just to learn more.
For more information, visit our Overview and the How to participate page, read our Edutopia post or the ASEE Prism article, or watch this 10-minute piece from PBS NewsHour or this 2-minute micro-documentary. If you are ready start a club of your own, or need some advice for conitnuing your existing club, download our Maker Club Playbook.
2013 Kickoff meeting Nov 15
There was a great turn out for the kickoff meeting. If you missed it and want to find out what happened, you can view a recording of the live streamed event here. The meeting actually starts around the 14:00 mark.