Wednesday, 22 July 2015

9 Top Tips for the best Maker Faire experience with Kids

Last year we went to our first ever Maker Faire.  We piled the kids in the car and off we went, soon arriving at a big hall, packed to the brim with gadgets and gizmos, activities to try and weird and wonderful things to explore.  Our youngest child was 3, and although he enjoyed some of it, I was glad we didn't have to squeeze a buggy into the space.  It was a long, but thoroughly enjoyable day out with the family.  We learnt a few tricks from our first experience at a Maker Faire.  Hopefully they can help you have a brilliant day out at a Maker Faire near you.



Our Top Tips for attending a Maker Faires


Hands-free

Make sure you carry a backpack and keep your hands free to get stuck in with activities.  Pack light and get the kids to help spread the load with their own bagpacks.  Remember to keep some space in the bagpack for things you buy or make at the faire.

Survey the land

Sometimes there is a timed entry to control the number of people in the venue at any one time.  Once you're in, quickly work your way around all the stalls to get an overview of what there is and what you would like to spend time on.

Sign up for workshops early

Sometimes there are workshops that you can sign up for in advance, sometimes you need to sign up on the day. Make sure you're prepared so you don't miss out.  We missed out on workshops at our first faire, so this year we are definitely going for the sign-up sheets first.

Water bottle

Bring your own water bottle, sometimes there are water fountains you can use to fill up.  A handy drink allows you to stay in with the action and not stand in long queues for refreshments.

Show me the money

Bring cash, most of the exhibitors are showing off the new gadgets, and you may want to spend your pennies to own the latest tech.  In our experience all the activities were payable in cash.


Split up

If you can, bring an adult for every child, that way each child can enjoy what they would like to engage in and adults can keep a watchful eye (and off course get involved too).  This worked really well for us at our first faire, my husband and I swapped children halfway through the day so we both got to experience different things.

Take a break

It's usually very busy and crowded and can get hot.   Plan ahead and pack a picnic (again to avoid the queues and create useful space after you've eaten for your purchases). Take a break from the busyness of the event and chat about everything you have seen and still would like to take part in.

Try something different

We are creatures of habit and so naturally will gravitate towards things we are familiar with.  A makers faire is a great opportunity to be creative and try something you have never done before.  Experiment, create, explore

Take pictures

See something you like, take a picture and try it at home or look the company up at home to find out more about their product and what they have on offer

Where to find Maker Faires

There is a main global website for Maker Faires around the world: http://makerfaire.com/
You'll be able to search for a Maker Faire near you. They are a celebration of makers and projects can range anything from knitting to high-tech robots. If you are a maker of something (you don't have to be earning money from it), you may be interested to show off your skills and wares at one of these faires. Most of these events are volunteer led, to inpsire making and creativity in a community, so if you do choose to go and can afford it, help them along, by making a donation.

We've booked our tickets for this year - go on, find a maker faire local to you and do something different with the kids.



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