June 23 – 26, 2016
California Homeschool Network
ONLY 61 DAYS UNTIL EXPO!
HAVE YOU REGISTERED YET?
by Bequi Howarth
My 5 years of organizing Mini Maker Faires and lots of time being around people who are makers has been inspiring and has nurtured a love of tinkering within me. Last summer I took an online class through the Exploratorium in San Francisco called Tinkering 101, the projects were fun and engaging and I am really excited to share some of them with the tweens. A few of the projects and activities will be easily accessible to younger kids like the Squishy Circuits, Scribblebots and marble wall. Although the marble wall has a twist that the tweens will appreciate, one of the ramps, when used with metal marbles, will complete an electric circuit that will turn on a light at the top of the wall. Other activities will be geared more towards kids who have patience, better critical thinking skills and more developed fine motor skills. Learn to Solder, Sewn Circuits and Absurdist Automata are examples of such activities. Younger kids are welcome to these activities but, they need to have an adult along with them to help as there will not be any extra volunteers in the Tinker House for one-on-one attention.
The goals of the Tinker House are to introduce tweens to tinkering, playing with ideas, thinking outside the box, merging technology and art, and learning about electricity while at the same time discovering how to use it in novel ways. The tween years are perfect for this kind of exploration. They have the patience and fine motor skills of older kids but, they still have the playfulness and simple curiosity of the young.
I also want parents to see that much fun and learning can be had with simple, inexpensive materials. One of my favorites is the Circuit Modules. To create this set I purchased some battery holders, small lights and wires with alligator clips on the ends. Then I found cheap toys at the dollar store and thrift stores and hacked into them and used the alligator clips to connect the motors and moving parts to batteries. Kids (and adults like me!) can learn about electricity and circuits and at the same time engage in the really fun activity of taking apart of toys. We can go even simpler than that and take an AA battery and a piece of copper wire and create a little motor and, voila, you have a kinetic art piece.
There are many great people providing many great activities for adults, kids and teens at the CHN Family Expo, I’m happy to be the one providing something for that small but important segment, the tweens.
Be sure to visit Bequi and our wonderful Tweens at EXPO!