Hosting a Maker Day

Programs

Over spring break this year my library focused on maker and STEAM based activities – we called it Make Your Break! The highlight of the event was a drop-in all ages Maker Mania day where we let library users test, tinker, and try some tech tools and maker stuff. Our event was very successful, bringing in a crowd on a Wednesday afternoon.

What we did:

  • Set up stations for various hands-on activities. I provided a menu of what tech tools were available for tinkering.
  • Allowed for all ages, so families could come together.
  • Made it a drop-in event over two hours so families could come when it was convenient for them.
  • Had back up staff available in case of crowds or technology trouble shooting needs.

Successes: 

  • The menu and the stations worked really well. We had tools that would appeal to a wide variety of ages: Bee-Bots and the Osmo for the younger set – Sphero and Lego WeDo for older kids. Kids were able to check out what they were interested in and we had enough stuff for there never to be long lines (except for Sphero).
  • Having the event be for all ages worked wonderfully. That way families could attend the event with all their kids. I’ve found that parents and caregivers are very curious about anything STEAM related. This lets the parents try the tools with their kids and do a little tinkering themselves.

Challenges:

  • The Spero! Our library Sphero is having trouble holding it’s charge. Luckily we had a back up, which worked great, for an hour. But our program was two hours! Those who came at the end really didn’t get to try out the Sphero and well, that is just a bummer.
  • Staffing this type of even can be difficult. Luckily we had staff who was ready and willing to lend a hand. But if you are solo on your own, two hours of eight hands on activities might be a little overwhelming.

Overall this was a great event, and I’m really glad it went well. We also made sure to promote the Make Your Break activities to the schools and through our other outlets. This was key! Patrons who attended appreciated the opportunity to tinker and many asked if the materials would be circulating soon. Circulating STEAM and maker kits is the next step at my library and I can’t wait to get started on the project!

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3 thoughts on “Hosting a Maker Day

  1. For the Makey Makey I just had some play dough out they could use. I have done single Makey Makey programs in the past where I used fruit, vegetables, fun foam, foil, etc. I then just pulled up the Makey Makey site and let the kids test it out. Since it was stations, we didn’t need an elaborate set up for any of the technologies. If kid’s were not into a certain activity they just could move on to the next one.

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