Made By Me – exploring creativity and the growing maker movement

Jenny Parker

By: Jenny Parker | Date: 30/07/2014

When did you last get that amazing and incredible feeling of actually making something? Not downloading, buying or installing but actually CREATING something that you can ‘show and tell’ to friends and family. Something imagined and brought to physical life by YOU. It could be anything – a fantastic story, a 3D sculpture, a working model, a theatrical prop, a go cart, a pinhole camera. Anything.

It’s quite likely that it was ages ago because, like us, you’ve probably been excited by amazing technological things like apps, games and videos. Which is all very good and fun, but somehow it seems that all the ‘making’ and ‘imagining’ has been done by other people. And where’s the fun in that?

So this summer at Eureka! our theme is Made By Me, where children and adults alike will be able to discover their imagination and creativity by taking part in a range of activities which will allow them to explore different mediums and techniques, and to hopefully inspire the next generation of makers.

In developing the Made by Me programme we’ve been inspired by the Maker Movement, which started in the US and has been gathering momentum over recent years. So much so in fact that President Obama hosted the first ever Maker Faire on the lawns of the White House in June, which featured over 100 Makers from more than 25 states.

The Maker Movement began with the publication of Make Magazine in 2005. Initially aimed at adult DIY-ers interested in electronics, metalworking, robotics, woodworking and computers, it soon became apparent that parents were doing the projects with their children and that anyone and everyone can become a maker. Founder and CEO of Maker Media, Dale Dougherty, says    “This idea of making something is very fundamental to human beings, and children really get that.”

Whether inventing a recipe, building a club house, or sewing a rag doll, children love to make things. Not only do they get to learn for themselves what works (and what doesn’t), but they get to enjoy and show off a tangible product at the end of it. This type of hands-on learning encourages children to actually try things out – tinker, take apart, fix, and make.

Our Made By Me programme this summer will bring together two important and exciting elements for celebrating the creative child – The Power of Storytelling and The Maker Movement. In essence, making stories and making stuff! We’ll be hosting guest storytellers, artists and makers throughout the six weeks as well developing an in-house programme of storytelling and maker activities built around three different themes: The Land of Make Believe, Our Wonderful World and Fact or Fiction.

We’ll be joining the Maker Movement too by hosting the very first official Halifax Mini Maker Faire on Saturday 30 August 2014, when we’ll bring together tech enthusiasts, crafters, hobbyists, tinkerers, engineers, scientists and artists of all ages for a family friendly showcase of invention, creativity and resourcefulness. There are an increasing number of Maker Faires happening all around the globe, including Maker Faire UK which takes place at the Centre for Life in Newcastle. Although a Mini Maker Faire is on a much smaller scale the aim of the event is still the same – to provide a place for people to show what they are making and share what they are learning.

Makers believe that if you can imagine it, you can make it. So this summer, why not make it the summer YOU make something?

For more information about the Maker Movement and other Maker Faires in the UK and abroad, visit the Maker Faire website.

This blog originally appeared as a column in the Halifax Courier.

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Eureka! The National Children’s Museum
Discovery Road, Halifax HX1 2NE. Map