Here’s my shopping list this week:

  • Rubber bands
  • Springs
  • Nuts & bolts
  • Golf tees
  • Masking tape
  • Wood glue

Why am I shopping for such an odd combination of items? I’m purchasing supplies for a maker space. In my role as Early Childhood Coordinator at Northwestern University’s Center for Talent Development, I’ve been working with my colleagues in the summer Leapfrog program to launch a new maker space for young children, ages 6 to 10.

As you may know, a maker space is an open-ended workshop equipped with a variety of materials and tools, where “makers” create projects and inventions of their own design.

So far this summer the two big lessons I’ve learned about maker spaces:

  1. The child is in charge. Each maker decides what he or she wants to make. The adults can make suggestions but only if a child asks for input.
  2. Everybody gets “do-overs.” Makers benefit each time they re-build or re-imagine their creations. We learn more from our mistakes than our successes.

Here are some great maker space resources:

Making with Young Children: An Introduction

Starting a School Maker Space




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