What's a Maker Space?
What's a makerspace? So glad you asked! When I first discovered the astronomically talented curator of Tinkerlab, Ms. Rachelle Doorley and her posts about makerspaces, I was instantly inspired, excited and bursting with ideas! It was bittersweet, as my daughter was a tiny 5 months old or so, and I thought it best to save the glue sticks and safety scissors for a more appropriate age. But we did get into lots of crafts and projects geared towards her developmental achievements at the time, thanks to Ms. Doorley's plethora of ideas for babies and toddlers.
I remember reading a post about how she would find some materials, like toilet paper tubes, empty blueberry containers, pipe cleaners and buttons, and put it out on the table with some scissors and glue. She would then wait for her little one(s) to awake in the morning and discover the space, and she would sit back and watch as they tinkered and explored. I immediately thought, "I want to do that!!!"
Now that my pumpkin is a bit older (it goes too fast!) and has had tons of practice with basic school supplies, I am so excited to present her with a makerspace! Makerspaces.com says that "a makerspace is a collaborative work space inside a school, library or separate public/private facility for making, learning, exploring and sharing that uses high tech to no tech tools". That's a bit rigid, so I'd say it's a space to make things. You can put anything and everything in it. It requires no instructions, there are no rules! The goals are cultivation of imagination, experimental construction and purely unrestricted fun (within reason of course, let's be safe!)
What do you put in a makerspace?
Excellent question. As long as it's not sharp or pointy or pokey and can cause harm, really anything goes. The idea is to provide different shapes, sizes, and textures. I chose some colored foam sheets, bubble wrap, black twine, different ribbons, pipe cleaners, some corrugated cardboard and some random silk flowers and bows. I have an old tin cookie box that I labeled "found stuff", and anytime I come across something that may elicit a curious response, I save it.
I also found a little gift bag, toilet paper role (very important), weird box I saved for some reason and an empty cupcake liner container. I liked that some were squares, some were circles, one was clear, a few were hollow...you get the idea. Add some glue and scissors and voila! And if you're a compulsive saver of odd things like myself, this is basically free.
I made a game time decision to put out a craft mat, just in case things turned towards painting. Which they usually do....
When she saw what was on the table, she asked "Mama what's that for?" and I replied "anything you want sweetpea" and I slowly made my way into the kitchen. I wanted to give her total freedom, and no direction. She started with the scissors, cutting the foam into tiny pieces. She tinkered for a bit, then it came. The question that always comes. "Mama, can we paint?" I was really trying to avoid turning this into paint time, but that's what she loves to do. So she painted the weird box and a few other things. She told me that she wanted to paint the things before she put them together. She was making a birthday gift for her daddy, she had a plan and she stuck to it for a bit!
Overall, I would say it was a success! I was tempted to step in a give directives, ask questions and plant idea seeds, but I didn't! It's her makerspace, not mine. This was the first of many makerspaces to come, and I can't wait to see how they evolve as both of us grow.
What will you put in your makerspace?
Diapers and Dogfood Blog
I'm Jen, mama to the most incredibly adorable pumpkin in the world. Please allow me to share my experiences about life, and running to the store for diapers & dog food. All. The. Time.