This last weekend we excitedly attended the mini Maker Faire in Orlando and thoroughly enjoyed it. My kids were entranced by the R2D2 builder's club display, robotics demonstrations, Lego creations, traditional book binding demonstrations and some wild hacked musical instruments.
The highlight for them was the learn to solder workshop. My 6 year old is really interested in electronics and robotics and has soldered a bit at home, but this little lesson helped build his confidence and skills. The facilitator was really great in empowering and encouraging him.
Outside we looked through an electric (and solar) car display, watched a mini racer demonstration and met a 16 year old student who was building a huge model of this sculptor/engineer's work.
Mini Maker Faires are popping up all over the country. If you have not attend one - GO! The projects, displays, demonstrations and products highlighted are all wonderful, but the best part is being surrounded by a community of passionate do-ers, builders, and makers.
Mainstream education should be studying multi-generational community events like this when planning STEM education. The open, playful, celebratory environment is fertile ground for inspiring
new creators and inventors.