Makerspaces and the Young Inventor
Free hands-on fun may be available at your local library.
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When schools close for the summer, many parents will still want options for their kids to learn, create, and explore. While libraries are always excellent for seeking out educational content, they can also be areas for hands-on learning makerspaces.
Sometimes referred to as Hackerspaces and even Fab labs, the first example of a makerspace is often considered MIT’s Fab lab. Created in 2001, the Fab lab provided access to technology and resources students couldn’t quickly obtain. Since then, the maker movement has dramatically expanded. President Obama held a Maker Fair in 2014 before designing a National Week of Making.
What is the Function of a Makerspace?
Makerspaces are much more prominent now, but if you’re still unaware of how they function, a makerspace is a designated area featuring lessons, tools, and instructors. Usually found inside a library, school, or similar communal facility, makerspaces teach attendees how to use new technology or understand new concepts.
Many makerspaces have highlighted technologies that were once unavailable to the typical consumer, like 3D Printing and other fabrication methods. However, makerspaces can also be low-tech or no-tech, with tools for art, sewing, design, Legos, and more, depending on the type of makerspace.
Many public libraries have begun implementing maker programs in their facilities. If you’re interested in seeking some of these out for you or your child, call your library to ask about their Makerspace facilities.
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Junior Maker Space and Other Maker Programs
The Junior Make Space program is just one example of a makerspace opportunity. Through a partnership with Lego, libraries can access convenient toolkits for starting up and maintaining an engaging makerspace in their community.
Other maker programs will focus on different skills or technology while still accomplishing the goal of providing educational and social opportunities for participants. You should visit your local library online or in person to see if they have any programs already set up.
If you want to do some more research on what to expect from a makerspace, visit the official guide provided by Makerspaces.com.
Also, while you may be looking to find an already existing makerspace to visit, consider contributing to the startup of one in your area. Demco provides excellent insight into what you should think when creating a makerspace. Working with your local library, you can determine what the community is interested in and what resources are available.