Maker Faire is not limited to just adult geeks. There were as many or more activities for the Geeklets and many parents took the opportunity to share the joy of tinkering and making with their young geeks. I’d like to offer a special thanks to the generous and patient instructors that helped make the Faire a fun time for so make kids.
I totally failed as a GeekDad for this Maker Faire and left my own Geeklets at home. I plan to redeem myself next year by letting them skip a couple days of school and go down early to visit with friends. The first day I spent with two good friends and their kids, so I did get a chance to see plenty of kids activites and look in on some sessions. Four sessions stuck out in my mind and I’ll list them in no particular order below.
Make a Kite: In the children’s tent there were a lot of arts and crafts activities, but my favorite was the kite building. They had a very simple and easy to fly kite design. The kids had a great time coloring, building, and flying their kites. If you are in the Austin area next March, be sure to check out this country’s longest running Kite Festival.
TexLUG: The Texas LEGO User Group presented a large train and town layout, complete with a miniature Apple and LEGO store, harbor with ships, and and a space port. At least one TexLUG member has posted pictures to Flickr. More should be linked from the TexLUG blog later.
Howtoons: Totally awesome, and totally instructional, the Howtoons teach kids about science, magic, and games. I didn’t get to see Nick Dragotta in person, but I did see the results of the Infamous Marshmallow Shooter all over the fair grounds. If you haven’t checked out the howtoons, it is worth a look. My kids enjoy reading them, just be ready with materials and answers, they will want plenty of both. If you can’t find them at the bookstore, Amazon has one for under $8.
Cryogenic Ice Cream: I’ll assume that most of us have seen or read about using liquid nitrogen to make ice cream. Very few of us have access to the liquid nitrogen with which to make our own. Hungry Scientist was nice enough to provide not only the LN2, and basic ingredients for ice cream, they brought along over 100 different flavors to choose from. Be sure to check out Alex’s time-lapse of the event on his blog. If you can get access to LN2 and decide to make this at home, please wear proper gloves and goggles.
According to the Maker Faire site there were 32 kid friendly events and attractions, but everything at Maker Faire was safe and interesting for kids. If you aren’t near a Maker Faire, be sure to keep an eye out for the mini events they will be having throughout the next year. Your kids will thank you.