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January 12th 2013

Friday Open Shop

Every Friday after school until 8pm we open the shop up to kids who want to drop by – adults too, as long as they’re supervised by a kid. It’s pay what you can, plus any expensive materials you use. This week, our open shop night turned in to an open shop day with the one day teachers strike in Toronto. We’re always happy to pick up where the schools leave off!

The day started with a visit by science fiction author, activist, journalist and blogger Cory Doctorow! He brought his daughter Poesy, his nephew and his mother along to check out the shop and make some things!

Poesy made a trophy out of materials she and Cory found around the shop. I think the trophy is for being awesome :) . Her cousin disassembled a toy robot and put human arms on it.

One of our main philosophies at Maker Kids is that it is the kids’ shop. They come up with their own ideas, and we’re there to help them figure out how to build them themselves. As a result, there is always a lot of different things going on!

My daughter Zhen figured out how to make candy flowers, and kept us well fed with sugar.

Next to arrive, Alex brought with him a huge box of speakers. He loves taking things apart, so he brought the parts in to see what he could make. He ended up making a speaker box out of wood and wiring it up to our stereo!

 Audrey arrived with her brother Wilder and a plan – she didn’t want to slip on the ice any more! So after designing some strap-on ice cleats on the whiteboard, she got right to work. Next, she moved to the wood shop. She mastered the jigsaw to cut out some plywood soles and drilled holes in it for the ice-cleat screws. She’s coming back next week to finish it off.

First time visitor Arbor produced a huge list of crazy ideas and narrowed down to making a light-up head. She learned to solder and wired up LEDs, batteries, resistors and switches like a champ!

We also had a maker kid creating a video game with the Alice software. I peered over his shoulder and it looked interesting!

Wilder designed a birdhouse with Sketchup to 3D print. Can’t wait to see that finished next week!

Very nice work everyone, see you again soon!

Remember that there are still a couple of spots left for our two after school classes. Tuesday is Program Your Own Video Games class, and Thursday is Alien Life Forms Arduino Workshop. We had the first classes this week, and the kids had lots of fun. In the Video Game class, the kids programmed Paul to build a sandwich. After Peanut Butter and Jelly went in all the wrong places, sandwiches were finally made. In the Alien lifeforms class, the kids had fun making up their own alien names and races, and wiring up the first parts in their electronics packages. Follow those links to sign up online.

  • Badge Cloud

  • Badges What?

    On learning different skills maker kids are awarded badges. Below is a list of badges and their meanings.

    Bits into atoms! Turn that object in your computer into an object in real life! chemistry Chemistry
    crafts Crafts electronics Electronics
    fire Set some things on fire! food Awarded upon successful preparation (and, possibly, consumption) of an edible item.
    machines Machines microcontrollers Very controlling for a little thing
    motorsandengines Motors and Engines music Music
    photoandvideo Paparazzi-in-training powertools Give that kid a chainsaw!
    recycling Recycling robotics "It's alive, it's alive!"
    sewing Sewing space
    vehicles Wroom-wroom wood Pinocchio?