Have you heard of a makerspace? A makerspace is a dedicated space equipped with tools and materials, with the aim of promoting hands-on learning. In recent years, more makerspaces have popped up in schools and community spaces to spread a culture of making, innovation, and even entrepreneurship.
Makerspaces can take many forms and sizes, with some focusing on programming and robotic technology, while others include more artsy facilities like sewing machines, leather crafting tools, woodworking tools, and more. But regardless of what goes inside a makerspace, their aim is the same: to encourage collaboration, innovation, problem solving, and the spirit of turning ideas into reality.
If you are lucky, you or your child will have access to a makerspace near you at a community facility, or in your child’s school. Yet, makerspaces don’t have to be elaborate setups in community spaces. Why not set a mini one at home? You can bring some of that experience closer to you by creating a makerspace right at home.
Here are some tips for setting up a makerspace, according to your child’s age and learning level.
Makerspaces for kindergartners
There’s no such thing as being too young to create! Tap into your child’s inner creativity by providing them plenty of open-ended materials to play with.
At this age, you’ll want to keep everything very safe and accessible to them. So stick to basic materials like building blocks and plasticine, and art tools like paper, crayons, scrap newspapers, cardboards, and so on. Children at this age can handle a child’s scissors with adult supervision, but otherwise, it is best to hold off on other sharp or small objects like sewing needles or penknives.
For your own sanity, remember to set up a work area that is covered so you won’t have to worry about them making too big of a mess!
Makerspaces for primary schoolers
Once your child enters primary school or the later years of IB PYP, you can give their makerspace an upgrade. The key is to provide them with more variety, while keeping it suitable for their learning level.
Some suggested tools you may want to include are electrical circuits (e.g. wires and batteries), sewing machine, mechanical building tools (e.g. screwdrivers, screws) and so on.
Don’t worry about having expensive or high-tech tools, as you just want your child to have a taste of the different types of tools and mediums to widen their horizons and explore their interests.
Makerspaces for high schoolers
Students entering high school, or the IB MYP programme, would have begun to gain more confidence. This is the time to get them more up close and personal with cutting-edge tools and industry standards, especially if they have a particular area of interest.
Of course, not all families can afford top-of-the-line equipment, but you can still make do with secondhand gear or entry-level versions of the real things. This allows teens to feel more empowered by what they can make, and gives them an edge if they wish to pursue a related field in the future.
All things considered, creating a makerspace for your child at home isn’t too difficult. While it may not have all the fanciest equipment, it allows your child to explore and create independently, according to their own interests and time.
If you need any more inspiration, you could even go online or visit your child’s school to see what others are doing to create their makerspaces! Some international schools in Singapore also have brilliant makerspaces that you can take a leaf out of.
So, why wait? Build a makerspace for your child together and get creating!