6 Makerspace Activities To Engage Alpha Kids Stuck At Home
How makerspace allows your Alpha Kid to celebrate the process of design and making
Boredom is the most pressing concern among Alpha kids these days, according to a study by British market research firm Beano Brain. It's not an entirely bad thing, though with new normal rules still in full effect and kids stuck indoors in the Philippines, parents are looking for ways to address children's boredom in a variety of ways.
If you find your kid tuning out an invite to another round of board games or are unenthused by a "go" signal for extended online gaming, maybe it's time to give them a fresh option—makerspace!
Tinkering, inventing, and building
Schools around the world, including the Philippines, are launching makerspaces to complement their curriculum.
These are activity spaces devoted to encouraging kids to turn their ideas into actual objects by tinkering, inventing, and building using available materials and tools. Its central belief: "If you can imagine it, you can make it".
But beyond simply serving as an outlet for creativity, makerspace provides a playground where kids get to observe and apply valuable concepts in science, technology, engineering, arts and math in solving real-world problems.
It utilizes a natural learning instinct, learning by doing. This experience will help boost their quick thinking skills in real-life situations.
The beauty of makerspace is that it allows a child to celebrate the process of design and making, which includes overcoming challenges. It encourages a kid to believe they can solve any problem, trust themselves as competent problem solvers who don’t need to be told what to do next.
This a very welcome change for children who are used to getting explicit directions every minute of every day in school!
But where does a parent start? Bring makerspace fun into your home with your own box of tools and materials--a selection that includes both everyday and unexpected materials to help children’s imaginations run wild. Computers and mobile gadgets? They're optional. Here's a list of challenges to kickstart the experience at home.
Challenge 1: The Paper Plate Maze
The goal of this project is to construct a working, durable maze that fits a marble, contained inside a paper plate. Supply the kids with a variety of materials: straws, popsicle sticks, fuzzy wires or cardboard. Have them design a maze, test out different materials and maze schematics and see which works better.
Sounds easy? You'll be surprised at how tricky it is to find a maze that works!
Challenge 2: The Pyramid Catapult
This catapult build is rather easy to make but will it be durable? Using materials readily available at home (or if not, from your nearest supermarket/hardware/palengke), create a sturdy mini catapult without using any glue!
When you're done, test to see how far you can throw your choice of safe projectile (i.e. small erasers, fabric balls, etc.) on your indoor firing range.
Challenge 3: Paper Roller Coaster
Remember the days we could go on thrilling roller coaster rides? It may take a while before we can have kids tagging along with us on amusement park outings so let's relive the fun memories indoors and have the kids design one at home. All you need is paper and tape!
Once you get the hang of making one, explore using different materials or combining designs for a miniature monster coaster ride.
Challenge 4: Jazzed Up Paper Art
If you have a child who enjoys arts and craft projects, this one's right up your alley. If they love to draw, paint, cut shapes out of paper, or fold origami, instead of drawing a bright sun or lights in a house, add real lights to their artwork!
This project will introduce your kid to the world of electronics through "paper circuits." Just make sure you have batteries, copper tape and tiny LED lights handy.
With the holidays looming around the corner, you can make a family project out of it by making custom decor for your tree.
Challenge 5: Make Your Own Video Game
We mentioned that computers were optional but if you want to make a video game, you gotta use one since it is essential for coding. Then have your child sign-up for Scratch, a free programming language and website with an online community of "scratchers".
Feel free to make a new game or better yet, take a look at already existing game projects and make improvements on it. Some rudimentary knowledge of coding is required but there are tutorials available on how to get started. Even tech-savvy parents will enjoy this project.
Challenge 6: DIY Mobile Phone Speakers
Your child has a mobile phone and loves to listen to music? This one will be a delight to make. Though originally designed for a certain music player, mobile phones will work just fine. This beginner project will familiarize the child with acoustics and how it works using plastic cups and paper towel rolls.
Follow it up with an activity that will explore other materials found at home that will improve their listening experience.
• Beano Brain, Boredom is on the rise, March 27, 2020
• Edutech Asia 2019, Educators guide for designing a Makerspace, 14 June 2019
• Raising Lifelong Learners, Make a Paper Plate Maze Stem Challenge, 2021
• Instructables Living, Pyramid Catapult, 2021
• Science Buddies, Build a Paper Roller Coaster, 2021
• Science Buddies, Make a Paper Circuit, 2021
• Scratch, Simple Game Ideas, 2021
• Pink Stripey Socks, DIY IPod Speakers from cardboard roll and cups, February 25, 2014
About The Writer
Minnette is an experienced writer in entertainment, celebrity publicity, and social media.
As a freelance writer, her work has been published in Smart Parenting, FHM, Cosmopolitan Philippines, and Preview Magazine; her extensive coverage often centers around showbiz, parenting, and food; and their interesting convergence in between.
A graduate of Ateneo de Manila University and mother to one kid and two cats, Minnette can often be found in the kitchen playing with food.
The views and opinions expressed by the writer are his/her own, and does not state or reflect those of Wyeth Nutrition and its principals.