Totally Free, Totally Innovative Maker Camp is Underway

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Maker Camp is underway! Maker Camp is the Try This at Home camp brought by the Maker Media people, which encourages kids to do something new, to try new experiments during this free, six week, do it anywhere camp. This is the answer to those running Camp Moms this summer, trying to keep kids entertained at home, or those with kids who love to tinker and would benefit from a community supporting that.

Maker Camp is broken down into six weeks, with a different theme each week. Novice makers in the target age range of 8-12, can join in at any time, working on projects that will culminate in something bigger by the end of each week. The current week’s theme is fantasy, and the remainder of the weekly program looks like this:

  • July 13 – Funkytown – possibly ending with a summer concert
  • July 20 Farmstead, where campers will hack the hoedown
  • July 27 – Fun and Games, including a cardboard carnival.
  • Aug. 3 – Flight, design toward an airshow
  • Aug. 10 – Far Out Future with a far out fashion show.

The crazy incredible thing about Maker Camp is that this all happens in your house. There are some physical camps, as people are encouraged to start local Maker Camp meetups with many happening at libraries and museums, but all of it can be done online at home. Participants are encouraged to interact via social media, too, to share progress, ask connections, and connect with other makers their age. Some Bay Area locations with physical Maker Camps accepting campers include: Belmont, Berkeley, Campbell, Concord, Fremont, Los Gatos, Morgan Hill, San Francisco (including the Children’s Creativity Museum), San Ramon, and Sunnyvale.

The Maker Camp program is broken into a pattern of explore, make, share. First, campers can watch videos with activity prompts and an introduction to materials and methods. They’ve made the videos shorter this year because they know kids want less talking and more making. Second, campers work on the step-by-step projects and that have an broad expectation for what the end product should look like. The more open ended lends itself to further tinkering after the week is over. Third is sharing. This is where social media comes in to help highlight a weekly showcase of work. The Maker Camp Community postings are fun and inspirational, even for those not playing along.  Also, there is a weekly, virtual field trip to innovative places, such as part trips to Pixar, NASA, and more.

Maker Camp has only been around since 2012, but it’s become an international movement, with a growing number of kids around the world participating each summer. If you haven’t sign up yet, here’s a taste of what to expect:

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