Our first Young Inventor Challenge was held at the Toy and Game Expo on November 2, 2013. The Young Inventor Challenge provides an opportunity for youth ages 6 to 18 to showcase their own original toy and game inventions to industry professionals, members of the media and the general public. Each entrant was asked to create a poster display and bring their prototype to the event. We had space at the expo where the entrants could set up their entries and share their inventions.
This year we had had three game entries and one toy entry. Only three entrants were able to participate during the day itself.
One of our game entries was a card game. Denver, age 9, invented a card game for two or more players called Simple 7. Each player uses their own deck of cards and deals seven cards in a set pattern and starts subtracting. This game was fast, fun, and educational too! It gave the players a good chance to practice some basic math skills.
Danica, age 8, entered a board game for two players called Alien Attack. Each player chooses which planet they are from and then rolls a die to advance to the other player's home row. On the way, you collect rare minerals and watch out for asteroid hits and alien attacks. This is an enjoyable game. Danica put a lot of effort into her prototype. I liked the bright colours of the board and the glittery rocks that were the rare minerals.
Thiernault, age 8, entered the third game into the challenge, Carnivorous Jungle Ants. Unfortunately, Thiernault couldn't attend the challenge but was able to send his prototype and poster board in for display. Thiernault's dad is a game designer and we were all impressed with the quality of the prototype. There were pieces re-used from other games and some good printed materials. It gave all of the inventor's good ideas for next year!
And finally, our one toy entrant was my son, Nanik, age 11. Nanik dreamed of life-sized building bricks and thought it would be safest if they were made of something soft. So he invented Felt Forts which are giant soft blocks that are held together with magnets. Nanik sewed the bricks himself and experimented with different types of magnets. He's still looking for the perfect solution but brought three of his prototype bricks in for display.
At the end of the day all of the entrants who attended received some great prizes donated by Filosofia. They were excited and inspired after spending the day at the Toy and Game Expo. All of them pledged to come back with new inventions next year.
( More on Maker Faire at Maker Junior at Maker Faire 2013 - New York )
The Maker Junior booth was in the Young Maker's tent. Around us were lots of schools demonstrating what their students were doing. The United Nations International School is a private school in New York that has a maker space called the CoLaboratory. They were showing some cardboard quiz games that I really liked.
In the booth behind us, the Marymount School was displaying some student projects that included clothing made from recycled materials. Take a close look at this project to see what the flag is made from.
Farther back in the tent was the Brooklyn Robot Foundry. They have afterschool classes, summer sessions and birthday parties for kids to build robots. This robot, that was built at one of their summer sessions, gives free hugs!
My son and I also had a chance to talk with Mike Carroll, who's created a character and written a book about Dewey Mac, a 12-yr old detective who creates gadgets. Mike was giving away Dewey Mac's Lie Detector kits. You can be sure we're going to try this out.
Another booth we really liked was TakeItApart from Rochester, NY. Have you ever seen the prism from inside a camera before? I've got an old film camera that we'll be taking apart at our Break and Make class on October 22.
We are also looking forward to playing around with some Duct Tape Bling. I found some tie-dyed patterned duct tape so we're ready to go.
This is only a small part of what there was available to see and make at the Faire. You could make LED Pinnies at the Make booth or a marshmallow gun out of PVC piping. There was a fantastic Iron Man costume, Spin Bots, Little Bits workshops, sewing, woodworking, welding, and coffee pouring robots. We even saw a golf club that was turned into an electric guitar. It was inspiring to walk around and see the creativity and imagination at work. It's worth taking the time to find out if there is a Maker Faire happening near you!
Where to begin? After all the fun of the Ottawa Maker Market and Mini Maker Faire, my husband encouraged me to apply for the New York Maker Faire. I thought it would be a great opportunity to share what I've been working on and see what new ideas I could bring back. It was all of that and more. Much more! I am pleased to announce that Maker Junior won the Educator's Choice ribbon at the Maker Faire.
My son and I had a fantastic time. We couldn't believe the size and scope of the Faire. We were happy to have a booth set up near the edge of the Young Maker's tent so we could have an entire table for the doodle bots.
The lit up conductive thread and conductive paint projects were popular, as always. The LED headbands were definitely a hit. This little guy was happy to model all three at once.
Most importantly, it was encouraging for me to talk with parents and educators who were excited about the potential of this style of education. Whether it's in the classroom, at home, or within the community, these kinds of simple projects can empower kids to become technology "creators".
On Sunday, I had the pleasure of talking with David Gauntlett, Professor of Media and Communication, and Co-Director of the Communications and Media Research Institute at the University of Westminster. He has a wonderful project "Making Things With Makers About Making". This is the video he made at the Faire. (Maker Junior comes at the 3 minute mark.)