Visit the Bay Area Maker Faire with Kids

POSTED: May 10, 2012

Steel bird

Last year was our first Maker Faire with the girls and after the busiest 6 hours of my life, they were sold on the idea – let’s go back next year! Not only did we see a beeping R2D2 who they “conversed” with, but they had a blast getting crafty with duct tape, making their own soaps (with toys inside), exploring a musical Burning Man-bound truck, admiring a giant steel bird, listening to a steam-powered player piano, watching an electronic pirate threaten to send them to Davis Jones’ locker, dancing on light tiles and playing hide and seek in a forest of inflated glowing trees. And that’s not even half of what we did. This year, we’re literally camping outside to get in first.

If you’ve never been to the Maker Faire, think of it as an interesting mix of San Mateo County Fair, Burning Man (many people showcase their Burning Man inventions at the Maker Faire) and mad inventor convention. You will see things you’ve never seen before and you’ll leave with your head buzzing with projects. The kids – ah the kids – will be in heaven. There are so many activities they can do! Of course the electronics and high tech stuff are geared towards the geekiest of us all but mostly, the inventions and activities are accessible by a preschool kid.

Here is a short video of what we did last year: Frog Mom at the Bay Area Maker Faire 2011

This year I’ve been browsing at the selection of booths I’ll visit and here’s a small selection of what I want to see, except I’ll get distracted along the way and see other stuff. But take this as a wish (all the descriptions are from the Bay Area Maker Faire website):

  • Acme Muffineering: these guys make muffin-mobiles they call Kinetic Pastry Science Mobile Muffins. If you want to learn the recipe to make your own batch of 18:1 scale cupcake cars, invite m,e for the muffinmobile warming. They’re a hoot to watch! Plus, electric-powered and built from scratch, they can reach 18mph+!
  • Canidu: Learn electronics by playing with plush parts. Build a mini-robot, design your own circuits, and put on an LED light show using the pieces in our Yes: Circuits set. No prior knowledge required. Ages 6-99+
  • Penelope Popsicle Press: Join Pen Pop Press in creating zines! Take your zine home and add it to your library. Or photocopy it to share! Participation in demonstrations is limited, so please sign up early! We start every hour on the hour. All ages welcome. Materials fee – $3
  • Maker Kids Market: Maker Kids Market features things made by kids. Kids can make great things! From hair accessories to survival bracelets, they love to make and sell their handmade creations
  • Tinker your way out of this! 3.0: Stretch your brain with puzzles created by Tinkering School and Brightworks School founder Gever Tulley! Parents can step back as kids of all ages are challenged to build and solve problems using commonly available materials and a little ingenuity.
  • Face Forward: a 12 foot tall robotic human face, in which each of the major facial movements is controlled by a joystick. Members of the public may operate the levers and play their part in the orchestration of an ongoing “river” of facial expressions
  • Scratch ‘N’ Sniff Television: Scratch and Sniff brings the scratch-and-sniff sticker into the digital age. Scratch the screen, and it briefly smells of whatever image you just scratched. Scary!
  • The Crucible: in this village, learn about the industrial arts and how you can create art with the proper tools, materials and FIRE! The Village includes blacksmithing, foundry work, welding, glass blowing, Raku ceramics, jewelry making and more!
  • DIY Origami Photo Albums: Come see what you can create with just scissors, paper and glue! In just ten minutes, you will have a beautiful origami-style photo album. Pull up a chair and make something fun.
  • MacGyverClass! 2012: MacGyverClass! encourages kids to indulge their natural creative abilities to address random challenges with surprise materials. My girls loved this last year – we’re doing it again!
  • Make a Book: When creating rough layouts for these graphics-packed books, this team uses simple tools: scissors, removable tape, and a proportion wheel to lay out photos and text in preparation for transferring ideas to Mac computers. Learn how to do it too!
  • Yurtastic: Blondies Design Yurtastic yurts are portable camping and living structures. They easily fit inside or on top of a car and can be set up in about a hour. Yurtastic Yurts have survived high winds up 50 mph with gusts reaching 60 mph without any problems. The covers are waterproof.
  • Arduino : Arduino is an open-source electronics prototyping platform based on flexible, easy-to-use hardware and software. It’s intended for artists, designers, hobbyists and anyone interested in creating interactive objects or environments
  • DIY HumBugs: Make your own HumBugs, small-scale vibrating robotic bugs! We will show you how to do it yourself with parts you can find at home or at any drug store! [See this SUN 2:00-6:00 only] I watched the VDO, it’s totally amazing and I know my girls will love that.
  • Extreme Marshmallow Cannon Joe Hudy’s Extreme Marshmallow Cannon uses PVC to hold air pressure, a sprinkler valve to release air and a bike pump. Marshmallows go in one end of the cannon. Pump the cannon using a bike pump to 30psi and fire. The marshmallow will travel approximately 176 feet. Seriously?
Fun! Honestly, I can’t wait and I wish there were more than one Maker Faire per year.
Want to go?
  • Website: http://makerfaire.com/bayarea/2012/
  • Where: San Mateo County Fair Grounds, 1346 Saratoga Drive, San Mateo
  • Tickets: buy them here or…
  • Win: 4 tickets (2 adult, 2 children) from Frog Mom here
  • Tips for kids: bring some snacks, the food area is not always where you’ll be. Bring clothes and shoes that can get wet – there might be an awesome water swing set. Bring sun hats – it’s sunny. Bring refillable water bottles – the drinking fountains are few and far between.

View Gallery

5 Responses to “Visit the Bay Area Maker Faire with Kids”

  1. May 11, 2012 at 2:21 pm, Jen Lum said:

    Thanks for the tips! I haven’t made the time to check out this year’s roster to plan what I want to experience. So excited that Face Forward is going to be there. And then there’s transportation! We’re going to try Caltrain this year to avoid the increasingly horrible parking situation.

    Reply

  2. May 11, 2012 at 2:42 pm, Iris said:

    I bought Emilia a ‘smarty-poo’ onesie in the crafts building before she was born and I’m excited to see what they have this year!

    Reply

  3. May 11, 2012 at 7:29 pm, Frog Mom said:

    Thanks Jen and Iris. Don’t forget an email address so I can reach you if you win. Good luck!

    Reply

  4. May 12, 2012 at 12:32 pm, Jennifer said:

    We’ve been planning to take our boys for years, but it looks like this is the year we will finally make it!

    Reply

  5. May 12, 2012 at 7:13 pm, Suzanne said:

    I want to go and spend time there . Time at the Makers
    Faire always goes too fast. This year I will take time and experience it as I would a good wine
    Sue

    Reply

Comment