Many Silicon Valley kids are already tuned into technology and tinkering, but that is expected to explode next month as robots, fire, and lasers come to San Francisco to galvanize excitement about science, technology, engineering, arts, and science through play. And they don’t mean sandbox-level playing, but serious, high tech play that’s fun and idea-provoking for all ages, including adults. You may not have heard of the STEAM Carnival yet, as this is only the second major event for this massive undertaking, but trust us, this will be all over your Facebook feed in early November and your kids are not going to want to miss out.
The comparisons to the Maker Faire are inevitable, but this is a bit different. The STEAM Carnival embraces creativity and innovation, while aiming for inspiration in the same way as the Maker Faire, but the focus is on presenting the same engineering and science concepts to kids in an explosive way by bringing in music, fashion, and games – things to which almost all kids relate – to hook them in. The founders of Two Bit Circus, the people behind the STEAM Carnival and a pretty cool, innovative company in itself, are passionate about making creativity a key component of STEM, especially as a way to get kids engaged in science and engineering, but introducing concepts through hands-on play instead of stuffy academic talks. Two Bit Circus wants science and engineering to be the new rock and roll, and the carnival appears to do just that.
This is only the second STEAM Carnival, in what appears to become an annual, traveling event. The inaugural carnival was in SoCal at the Port of Los Angeles, attracting over 13,000 participants. The techy Bay Area should pull in at least the same numbers, if not more, but don’t let the crowd number scare you off because it is stretched out over three days, Nov. 6-8. The carnival is true to name, with a circus-like atmosphere including acrobats, fire breathers, stage shows, and high tech games. There will be many opportunities for hands-on play, in addition to build zones, lab demos and much more.
STEAM Carnival is partnering with the annual Bay Area Science Festival for some of the educational programing at the event. The Bay Area Science Festival’s annual Discovery Day will be held Nov. 7 at AT&T Park, right next door to the STEAM Carnival, allowing participants to experience both events. The STEAM Carnival will be located at Pier 48, next to AT&T Park.
Tickets to the STEAM Carnival can be purchased in advance at an early bird rate of $20/kid and $25/adults. Kids under age 3 are free. Ticket prices will go up by $5 at the door. Admission to the Discovery Day at AT&T Park is free.
For more behind the inspiration for the STEAM Carnival, the TEDx Talk given last year by the Two Bit Circus founders is not only a great primer, but will get you fired up for the event and for learning about STEAM.