September 16, 2014


News › Workshops ›

What is an Inventors Workshop?

I've blogged about the Inventors Workshop that we offer through the Glebe Neighbourhood Activities Group  before .  But what I haven't shown you are the results! This fall we have two sessions of the Inventors Workshop. Mondays after school for the 6-8 year olds and Thursdays after school for the 9-12 year olds. We have a longer session so we have a chance to cover more aspects of the inventive process. The workshop starts next week and there's still spots available so register now!
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September 12, 2014


Events › News › Workshops ›

Fall 2014 Workshops and Events

Fall 2014

Imagine Eddy, September 20, 10 AM - 5PM

Join us for Imagine EDDY at the Espace bidouilleurs et << Makers >>. We'll have tables set up with some of projects and kits, and we'll be building Doodlebots too!

GNAG Inventors Workshop, September 22 - Dec 15

We're running two afterschool Inventor's Workshops this fall through the Glebe Neighbourhood Activities Group. Mondays for 6-8 yrs old, and Wednesdays for 9-12yrs old. In this fun class we learn how to keep and inventor's log book to write down our ideas as work towards creating our own inventions. Registration starts September 5.

New! ABC Ottawa Take-off, October 25

This fall we have a 5 week Maker Workshop through the Association for Bright Children's Take-off program on Saturday mornings. We'll be working a series of five projects exploring conductivity and simple circuits. Registration night is October 2, 7:30pm, at the Ron Kolbus Lakeside Centre.

September 03, 2014


Events › Ideas › News ›

What we did for summer vacation


It was back to school here yesterday. The boys were nervous and excited to head back to class. We've had a great summer. It has been a whirlwind of activity as we've vacationed, visited and "workshop-ed" our way around the province. I mentioned the Eureka! summer reading program in a few previous posts here and here, but today I got to sit down and take a look at what we did.

This was on the sidewalk leading up to the Lucknow library. Thanks for the welcome!

We were thrilled to be able to take our summer workshops to an astonishing 22 libraries. We worked with 280 + kids to help them successfully create their projects and teach them something new.

Sign for our workshop in Port Elgin.

Some of the areas we visited were very rural. In Chesley, I was surprised to be parking across from a horse-drawn carriage outside the library. So many of the libraries we visited were curious about the maker movement and trying hard to bring new technology to their area. As we walked down empty main streets to the local library branch, it was easy to see what a vital role the library plays in bringing new resources into small towns. These tools that are associated with the maker movement have such potential. And the library can be instrumental in providing access to them.

3D Printing

We were very excited when Young Maker lent us a 3D printer to take with us on our tour. Most of the people we talked to had heard of 3D printing but have not had an opportunity to see one in action. It was lots of fun to demo. Nanik, in particular, has been very curious about the technology and dove right into it. More on that soon.

We were happy to introduce 3D printing to the crowd that showed up.

Sumo Doodles

One of the highlights of the summer for me was the Doodlebot workshop at the Kemptville Library. We had a full class of kids of various ages. It was a nice, bright, open space with lots of room to work. And we had a little extra time and lots of helpers. One helper for every 3 kids. That made it possible to conduct a completely open workshop - my favorite kind - with very little instruction and giving only requirements. I did show them how to attach the wires to the motor, but that's about it. I don't usually do this with the wide range of ages and distribution we had that day. But because we had so many excellent helpers, we were able to provide guidance and watch for frustration. With incredible success! The room was large enough that we were able to have a couple of tables of sumo doodles off to the side for the kids who finished first. I think it's fair to say we all had a wonderful time.

Sumo doodle!

My favorite new book

Speaking of watching for frustration, I need to tell you about my favorite new book. I opened almost every workshop this summer reading "The Most Magnificent Thing", by Ashley Spires.

The Most Magnificent Thing Book Trailer from Kids Can Press on Vimeo.


Reading the book at the start of a workshop gave the kids a chance to collect and focus. I love this book because it talks directly about the frustration you can feel when making. ( I can't confirm, but this book may have actually been written about me.) Even better, it gives a plan for dealing with it. I love the language. I totally get it when the little girl's hands "feel too BIG to work, and her brain is too full of all the not-right things." And the kids get it, too. I like this book because it gives me a chance to talk to the kids before they begin making about frustration. About recognizing frustration and about plans for dealing with it - like taking a deep breath, walking around the room, seeing what other kids are doing. It is also a chance to emphasize iteration and collaboration. How making is not about being first, but working together and sharing what we know. This book is a great way to open a workshop and start a conversation about making

Ottawa Mini Maker Faire

And of course, I can't talk about the summer without mentioning the Ottawa Mini Maker Faire. It was great to participate in our hometown event. We're already looking forward to next year. I've covered everything before, but hey, did I mention, we were on TV? Definitely a highlight for us!



August 26, 2014


Events › Ideas › News ›

Ottawa Mini Maker Faire 2014

The Ottawa Mini Maker Faire was held August 16-17 at the Canadian Science and Technology Museum. This was the fourth annual faire and it gets bigger every year. Last year we were in a room inside the museum and a tent in the parking lot. This year we were completely inside the museum. There was the big room, like last year, and a new "Make it Space" back behind the locomotives. We were in the "Make it Space", geared to hands-on, interactive presentations. It was a busy couple of days! I'm going to stop trying to explain it all - here's a  TV clip that did a great job, with our own Hari leading the way!
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April 15, 2014


News › Workshops ›

Spring 2014 Workshops

Our Spring Workshops are set up and ready to go!  Workshops will be held at the Glen Cairn Community Centre in Kanata and new this session we will have workshops in Hintonburg at The Studio Cafe.


Maker Junior Spring Series 2014 - Kanata
Sign up for the series to attend all three Maker Junior workshops scheduled for this Spring and save $15.00.  Register online at Eventbrite.

April 22:  Break and Make
Learn how something works by taking it apart.  Use the parts to build your own 2D/3D creation. Register online at Eventbrite.


May 13: Talking Stuffie
Use a voice recorder circuit to make a talking stuffie that records the sound of your own voice. Register online at Eventbrite.


June 17: Learn to Solder (Parent & Child)
Parent and Child work together to make flashing badges that really light up!  Tools will be provided. Register online at Eventbrite.


Maker Junior Spring Series 2014 - Hintonburg
Sign up for the series to attend both Maker Junior workshops scheduled for this Spring and save $10.00.  Register online at Eventbrite.

May 10:  Motors and Movement
Work with DC motors to learn how vibration creates motion. Create doodling robots and origami buzz bots.  Register online at Eventbrite.

May 24:  Break and Make
Learn how something works by taking it apart.  Use the parts to build your own 2D/3D creation. Register online at Eventbrite.

March 06, 2014


Events › Ideas › News ›

Buffalo Mini Maker Faire

Last weekend the boys and I were happy to participate in the inaugural Buffalo Mini Maker Faire. We met the organizer in NYC at the 2013 World Maker Faire and he had mentioned it then. Buffalo is not too far from Ottawa and we've got family there, so it was a great opportunity to connect with a new community of makers.

And there were lots of makers there!  The Buffalo Museum of Science has four floors of exhibit space and there were makers on every floor.  We were in the Sparks! Workshop on the third floor with the Elmwood Franklin School Maker Club  and the super cool Aidan 3 and his 3D printer demo. Just down the hall the Buffalo Lab was holding a soldering workshop with these great "I Can Solder" badges.   Destination Imagination had all sorts of stuff going on - it was the first time I'd heard about this great program and was happy to hear it was global!


The boys and I were demonstrating the doodling robots and making electro-cards with the kids that came by. I didn't get too much time away from the booth.  But I did manage to pick up a Buffalo sweatshirt from Mad Jack Productions (t-shirts and 3D printing - how cool is that?), see where all the packets of salt scrub were being made at Azariah's Innocence , marvel at the cardboard pirate ship and almost shook hands with Chewbacca . I was happy to see everyone busy and wearing their safety glasses at Take It Apart .  And I was very excited to see the exhibits at the Young Makers section in the lobby on the first floor. Keep making!


There certainly appears to be a thriving community of makers in Buffalo. Judging from the jam-packed parking lots and hallways there is a lot interest, too!  I was sorry to have to miss the after-party being held at The Foundry.  It looks like a great place.  A lot of the makers at the faire work out of there.  Community is so important to making.

Also thanks to the Western New York Book Arts Center.  They gave each maker a print as a thank you for participating.  They also gave prints at the World Maker Faire.  These pieces are really beautiful.  Thank you!   Wish I was in town for the Edible Book Festival on March 30th, 2014 - it looks like a unique event.

Toy and Game Expo: Young Inventor Challenge 2013

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.

You can see more photos and watch a video recap of Canada's first Toy and Game Expo!





September 25, 2013


Events › News ›

Maker Junior at Maker Faire 2013 - New York

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.)




August 30, 2013


News ›

Fall 2013 Schedule

Maker Junior's Fall 2013 Schedule has been posted and workshops are now available for registration on Eventbrite.