Young Makers

The Young Makers program brings together a community of young people with mentors to make a project and exhibit it at a showcase event – The Ozarks Mini Maker Faire.

These participants, ages 8-18 and of varying backgrounds, interests, and skill levels, work together in small clubs throughout the season to design and make a youth-chosen, open-ended project, culminating in an opportunity to share and exhibit at our showcase event.

Find a Project Vision

Young Makers, you may start developing your projects in a variety of ways. You may already have a clear idea of what you want to make; or you will spend months trying out one idea before tossing it and trying another. Both are okay!

To get started, consider some of the options below:

Brainstorm. Dr. Linus Pauling famously said, “The best way to have good ideas is to have LOTS of ideas”. That is, brainstorm often and then go crazy with wild ideas.

  • Create a list of as many ideas as you can.
  • Create an ongoing “bug list”, a list of things that “bug” or bother you or some problem you want to fix. These can be big, complex problems or simple ones.
  • Ask friends for their bugs, their ideas, and their half-baked projects.
  • Try out some brainstorming activities.

Start focusing on the ideas that appear promising. Eventually you’ll trim the list down to the good ones. Don’t be surprised if only a fraction of your initial ideas turn out to be good. That’s normal!

See what’s out there. To get your idea generator going, it helps to look at as many examples as possible of what other people have done. You can replicate the project exactly, or add your own twist along the way.

Here are a few places to look for ideas: The Maker Education Initiative- Every Child A Maker.;  This is a competition administered by The University of South Florida for Florida students entering the Young Innovator Competition, but there are helpful ideas and suggestion that you might find as a great resource. •Make: Projects: A user-contributor DIY project-sharing site seeded with a collection of projects from MAKE magazine • The Makezine blog has a number of posts each day describing thought-provoking projects. •Instructables: Contains an exhaustive set of step-by-step instructions for a million different projects of all difficulty levels. You could spend half a lifetime browsing this site. You can also contribute your project to the site to help others. •Howtoons: A wonderful collection of highly visual materials. Particularly helpful is the Guide to Visual Communication.  Links to LOTS of Contests and Competitions

REMEMBER–This is not a science fair activity or a competition, but a sharing of ideas and creativity

The Young Makers’ program suggests:

Figure out what you want to learn. Another strategy is to pick a set of skills that you’d like to acquire (such as knitting, soldering, or welding), or a material or medium that you’d like to experiment with (such as wood, metal, or ceramics). You can then search for projects related to those skills and materials. You may also know people who have the knowledge you’re after — don’t hesitate to ask. People are generally very happy to share what they know and are happy to help. If you find a maker who has skills related to your project, they may be available to advise you – sometimes they include their contact information on their project page.

Play with something new. Another great way to stimulate ideas is to play with a new material, toy, kit, device, anything! Materials of any kind can jolt your imagination. Experiment with things you’ve never tried: mylar, electro-luminescent wire, clay, yarn, wire, etc. Spend a long time with the material, exploring it in as many different ways as you can imagine, or look around to see what others have done with this material.

Playing with something old, repurposing something old, taking things apart, hacking them to look and function differently, and working with recycled materials is a great way to rethink something that might seem so common. You can find objects around your house, at local thrift shops or junk stores, at garage sales, and from neighbors and friends.

Do what you love. You can also focus on things you like, such as music, video games, or holidays. Halloween and Christmas provide great opportunities for makers. For Halloween, you can make yard props or interesting costumes. For any holiday, you can make wonderful decorations for your home.

Interested ~ Intrigued ~ or just Curious?

Just click on the “Maker Button” and input informational data requested-make sure we know you are a “Young Maker” in your application.  You will be contacted as to acceptance no later than July 15th.  The Young Maker Projects will be showcased along with some amazing companies and will set up Friday, September 9, 2016 from 2-5 pm.  Your projects will be on display during The Ozarks Mini Maker Faire on Saturday, August 29, 2015 between 10am-6pm. You will stand near your project or demonstrate your skills from 10:00-11:00 and 2:00-4:00. During the rest of the Faire, your project visual will be on display.  Additional information will be given if your project is selected to be showcased.



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