Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Maker-Spaces for Kids, Attempt #1

During our school's spring break, it was the perfect time to try out this trendy new "Maker Space" thing I've heard so much about. Back when we had to have programming list completed for Spring, I wasn't sure what I'd do; but whatever it was, it would have to be a Maker Space. Afterward, searching for things to do, I encountered many arguments supporting the idea that "Maker Space" is just a fancy-wrapping name for things Youth Services librarians have been doing for years, in a way that's appealing to adults. I wholeheartedly agree with them.

It's kind of funny how everything gets repackaged every so often. Most recently, I read a tweeted-out article about Flipped Classrooms that claims, "Self-Directed Learning is the New Learning." Yes, it's so new that it's been around since the dawn of Man. I would go way farther into how this the article actually kept me up one night so that I had to write extensively about it at 2 AM, but here we're talking about Maker-Spaces.

So anyway. Spring Break "Maker Spaces":

First of all, no kids know what a "Maker Space" is. And the idea that adults conjure when they hear those two words together is totally different than kids (Oh, and I'm sure you know that most kids aren't into reading the program summary, either). So, on the day of, I made a sign to put on the doors of the Boat that said:

LEGOs + Crafts
1-3 pm in the Boat

...and, regardless of the totally non-intriguing-sounding title, over 40 kids attended each day.

Maker-Space 1: LEGOS
1. Make a LEGO vehicle
2. What's your favorite thing to do in Spring? Make it out of LEGOs
(these are two challenges I got from LEGO Quest Kids, which has 52 challenges you don't need to think about )
3. LEGO minifigure masks found on Abby Johnson's ALSC blog LEGO post. (instead of string for the masks, I just had them glue the masks on popsicle sticks, because screw that noise)
4. Make your own minifigure from the same blogpost.

Maker-Space 2: Do-it-Yourself Day
(taken from this program)
1. Free-play LEGOs.
2. Make a puppet
3. Make a disguise

(There weren't any directions, because I'm a horrible crafter. But little stand up signs like the one to the right did the trick to get kids thinking)

So that's about it. Around 40 kids each day with something extra to do during Spring Break. Easy-as-pie and totally fun!

Next time I might think about having station with a specific computer program/game on laptops, like Scratch or Professor Garfield.

But for now, there was just too much glue.


  1. Too much glue? What about glitter? ALL THE GLITTER in the boat carpeting!!


  3. I used to have teh glitter fear, until I sat down one day and thought "does it really matter if I can't get it all cleaned up?" it's not sticky, too small to choke (or really eat at all) and adds a little sparkle to the day. Considering all the other things I have had to clean off the carpet, glitter is good! My new motto is "glitter is not poop!"

  4. THANK you for posting those articles re: makerspaces and also voicing your opinion that "makerspace" is just a fancy way of saying "crafts and stuff" because I have lost so much sleep and productivity worrying about how I am the least cool librarian ever for not "getting" makerspaces.

  5. Hi, Emily! I do think "crafts and stuff" or even "meet and author!" doesn't resonate for most adults so I definitely understand why adult services librarians would need to re-brand their programming. Also, as I've said before, I think that as librarians we need to be excited about the programming we're doing, and this programming revitalization is the jolt some need. THAT SAID, it is not at all new and if you're wondering if what you're doing could be called a makerspace if that meant anything to your audience, it probably could. You innovative hamster, you!