Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Highlights of Institute of Imagination's Mini Maker Faire

The kids and I ventured into London on Sunday to take part in the Institute of Imagination's Mini Maker Faire. We had a fabulous time of making, exploring and learning new skills. We met some awesome makers who shared their passions with us and inspired my kids.

The kids could explore different technologies from 3D printing, to robotics, constructing lasercut wooden toys and even painting their own pet rock. The highlight of my day, was when my 7 year old, excitedly took off a VR headset, and exclaimed "That was awesome mummy, I could see my dreams!"

We loved the experience and would recommend families to attend Maker events in their local areas. Before you go, read our guide on how to survive a maker faire with kids and whatever you do, go with an open mind to explore, play and have fun.

Best Bits of the Mini Maker Faire in London

Retro Computing

My Dad, who joined us for the day, was so excited to find the IBM XP-Model Portable Computer - his first "mobile device" which he lugged around to clients. My kids couldn't understand how it was "portable". The retro computers were provided by The National Museum of Computing and if you'd like a stroll down tech memory lane, plan a visit this summer.

Build a Computer

From retro to modern, my 7 year old loved building his own computer using the Kano Computing Kit. Built using a Raspberry Pi 3, the Kano Computer Kit helps kids understand how a computer is put together. Once they've built it, they can play games, learn to programme and do much more. I was really impressed with the step-by-step guide which my son was able to follow independently.

Flying Machines

Drones are brilliant and kids love them, so when my 5 year old noticed a workshop "How to Fly a Drone" by Drone Ops, he was very excited. Apparently the big drone on display was used to film the latest Bond Film - that was pretty cool.

Arts & Craft

Maker Faires aren't just about tech and computing, there is plenty of opportunity to release the creative beast with arts and crafts too.

We really enjoyed painting our own pet rocks with Rock Art. The maker's book Rock Art is well worth it, as it's packed with brilliant ideas for getting creative with rocks and pebbles - we bought one for Grandma.

Simple 3D printed connectors and straws kept my 5 year old occupied. This activity, provided by Maker Cart, is one of many we tried including drawing a maze for Ozobot and making music with littleBits.

DigiHaus offered a brilliant activity to let kids think about others. My 7 year old made a lasercut wooden triceratops which will be donated to poorly children in hospitals, to paint and keep.

Electronics Making

A firm favourite at Maker events is the Makey Makey and we loved making music with the Music Wall and musical drawings made by maker Paul Clifford.

My 5 year old was a dab hand at maneuvering golden coin stacks from one side to the other using MeArm. Perhaps a future surgeon or digger operator in the making.

Thank You iOi Mini Maker Faire

Maker Faires are brilliant and exhausting at the same time. We got lots of ideas for projects to try at home and inspired to take a trip to The National Museum of Computing this summer.

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