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Monday, September 28, 2015

the wonder society :: a makers + thinkers collective for kids and parents

After watching and falling in love with Caine's Arcade and making lots of cardboard games,  I decided to start a local chapter of the Imagination Foundation

We have already started and I thought I would share what we do in our meetings in this space. Hopefully, it will inspire or encourage other parent groups to start similar clubs. 

As we homeschool, I am not affiliated with a school. My group is filled with homeschool and school kids. We meet bimonthly at a local artist's (and kindred spirit's) gallery. In the future, we might meet at parks or even the library. 

Meetings are held late Sunday afternoons from 3-5, with a potluck afterwards. 

For each meeting, we have a show and tell table, a quick fire design or improv challenge, and then spend the majority of the time working on the lesson or theme of the day. 
Our first quick challenge broke the group into teams. Each team was given 30 index cards and a roll of tape. They were charged with building a structure as high as possible. It was fascinating to see the different building styles and techniques. We shared and talked about each group's structure.

Then we moved on to a take apart and rebuild party. I had filled up my van with old electronics donated by friends and neighbors. Participants also brought expired can openers, vacuum cleaners and baby monitors. Each family brought screwdrivers and whatever other tools they thought would be helpful. We avoided monitors and parent involvement kept an eye on any potential dangers. In fact, some of the parents had as much fun taking apart and the kids did.
We spent all our remaining time taking apart. Kids were allowed to take home whatever pieces they wanted to rebuild at home. Some kids might hot glue components into creatures or if they are knowledgeable, use the pieces to build little robots or other apparatuses. 

And then we snacked, played piano, wrestled and ran and chatted. 

It was a great time of exploring and hanging out with friends. My goal is that each meeting is easy to plan and open ended, allowing for the kids to learn new design and building skills as they explore. This meeting certainly met my expectations. 

Upcoming meetings will have us working with cardboard, Ozobots, creating better world inventions and doing community art. Follow along on the blog and let me know if you have your own makers group!

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