What is a Maker? Can my child be one?

What Is A Maker?
Have you ever heard someone use the term “Maker” and didn’t know what they were referring to? Simply put, a Maker is someone who makes something. Easy enough, right? There’s a little more involved. Specifically, they combine the Arts, Technology, and Engineering to make whatever they put their minds to. The movement is really starting to get off the ground here in Colorado with makerspaces opening as quickly as lemonade stands during the heat of summer.

What Is A Makerspace?
Then you ask, so what then is a Makerspace? Think of your garage, but bigger and with more equipment and tools and technology than you can pack into your space. It can have workspaces, laser burners, 3D printers, silk screen machines, firing kiln, pottery wheels, sewing machines, and the list goes on. If you have an idea, you can usually make it at a Makerspace.

Can My Child Be A Maker?
Can you child make things? Then, yes, absolutely! Some Makerspaces may have a minimum age restriction due to the nature of the equipment, but children as young as 2 or 3 can be Makers. All they need is an idea and the material to make it. It doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive. My 4-year-old recently made a machine out of a crayon box. You’ll have to ask her what it does, but it took a lot of effort on her part and she was pretty pleased with her creation. There’s an online Maker Camp now available as well so that you can make things from the comfort of your couch or dining room table.

Where Can I Find A Makerspace?
Check you local listings for makerspaces if you live outside Colorado. If you want information for Colorado, I have a list of makerspaces along the Front Range for you check out. Usually, there is a monthly fee associated with using the equipment of the makerspace and being a part of the club. The recently opened BLDG 61 in Boulder, however, is free and open to all ages thanks to its association with the Boulder Public Library.

Maker Books To Get You Started
The synopsis for these books were taken from Amazon and are affiliate links. There is no additional cost to you. I am supported by a small portion of the seller’s profits in return for advertising.

Making Makers
This is a book for parents and educators. It builds the case for why it is crucial to encourage today’s youth to be makers. The Maker Movement history is introduced as well as practical advice for getting kids started in making. For those who are already familiar with the Maker Movement, this book provides information about many of the “big names” of the movement and their stories that make them so passionate about making.








Make: Electronics
Burn things out, mess things up-that’s how you learn. Make: Electronics begins with the basics. You’ll see for yourself how components work–and what happens when they don’t. You’ll short out a battery and overheat an LED. You’ll also open up a potentiometer and a relay to see what’s inside. No other book gives you such an opportunity to learn from real-life experiences. Ultimately, you will build gadgets that have lasting value, and you’ll have a complete understanding of how they work. From capacitors to transistors to microcontrollers–it’s all here.



Cardboard Box Book
Don’t throw away that box! Why not turn it into something amazing instead? This creative book shows kids that by using easy-to-find art and craft materials, the ideas, templates and stickers included in the book, and most importantly, a ton of imagination, simple cardboard boxes can be transformed into a robot costume, a princess castle, a circus, and so much more!


The Most Magnificent Thing
This book offers a perfect example of the rewards of perseverance and creativity. The girl’s frustration and anger are vividly depicted in the detailed art, and the story offers good options for dealing honestly with these feelings, while at the same time reassuring children that it’s okay to make mistakes. It’s likely to light up the imaginations of youngsters eager to create their own inventions and is a great tie-in to learning about Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.


Galimoto
Kondi is determined to make a galimoto — a toy vehicle made of wires. His brother laughs at the idea, but all day Kondi goes about gathering up the wire he needs. By nightfall, his wonderful galimoto is ready for the village children to play with in the light of the moon.







Rosie Revere, Engineer
Rosie may seem quiet during the day, but at night she’s a brilliant inventor of gizmos and gadgets who dreams of becoming a great engineer. When her great-great-aunt Rose (Rosie the Riveter) comes for a visit and mentions her one unfinished goal–to fly–Rosie sets to work building a contraption to make her aunt’s dream come true. But when her contraption doesn’t fl y but rather hovers for a moment and then crashes, Rosie deems the invention a failure. On the contrary, Aunt Rose insists that Rosie’s contraption was a raging success. You can only truly fail, she explains, if you quit.



You can also check out The Instructables. They have a reservoir full of ideas of things to make.

Happy Making!

Author: Olivia

I am a mom and a homeschooling teacher of two little ones. I am also a Biblical Studies major with a hobby in Creation Science. I love to research Biblical topics and how science and the Bible live in harmony with each other. I learn beside my children when we read, build, and explore with the help of our glorious classroom - God's green Earth!

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