Wanted: Inventors!

Calling all inventors! Carleton University and Maker Junior

Maker Junior is thrilled to be partnering with researchers from the School of Information Technology at Carleton University. We will be hosting a fun, free, Inventors Workshop for 7-9 year olds to explore bendable materials and electronics. Young 7-9 yrs makers must have participated in past Maker Junior Workshops in order to attend the first phase of these workshops. During this workshop we’ll be playing games and exploring the properties of different materials alongside electronics. All participants will have a chance to build their own inventions and share with everyone what they have created.

At a later date, after the Inventors Workshop, we’ll be hosting sessions with our littlest inventors, 2-5 years of age, to see how they engage and interact with refined prototypes. During this session, participants will be able to play and interact with various prototypes to see what is the most fun! For this second phase siblings of past participants are welcome as well as friends.

Participants will be compensated with refreshments, materials and bus tickets with their parent to and from the location. This research has been cleared by Carleton University Research Ethics Board-B (16-083).

Workshop Dates:

The workshop dates are:
Phase One:
April 17th, 2016
1-3 pm
Room 1B, Nepean Centrepointe Library
May 7th, 2016
1-3 pm
Qualicum-Graham Park Community Centre

Phase Two:
May 28th, 2016
Group A 10:30- 11
Group B 11-11:30
Location to be announced

For more information, or if you are interested in participating in this free workshop please contact Alison at alison@makerjunior.com or 613-710-9427.


Dr Audrey Girouard
Supervisor, School of Information Technology, Carleton University

Alison Evans Adnani
Business Partner, Maker Junior

Layda Gongora
Lead Researcher, Carleton University


March 23, 2016


Hallo EEweb.de!

Hallo! Remember when we were listed as EEWeb's Engineering Site of the Day? Today I learned that there is a German site, EEWeb.de aka Elektronik Forum EEWeb. Ausgezeichnet! There are articles, forums and news articles. Today I also learned that Einführung is introduction in German, and if you have been looking for an introduction to the Raspberry PI in German, you can find one here: Raspberry Pi Einführung. Wie cool ist das?

Meet Ottawa Maker, Andrew Pelling

Andrew Pelling's opening talk at TED Live 2016. Using unprocessed natural cellulose, i.e. plants, as scaffolding for muscle growth is definitely out of the box thinking. Here in Ottawa, we've been lucky enough to watch as this thinking takes shape.

Ottawa maker, Andrew Pelling

View full article →
February 23, 2016


Educators › News ›

Let's learn together

We've created an Ottawa #makered Facebook group for educators in Ottawa, Ontario to communicate and learn from each other. Our first task is planning a meetup. You are always welcome to join us. Follow this link to sign up!

View full article →

Bubble Maker Challenge: What else can I do with a motor?

One of the first projects we start our makers off with is the Doodlebot. Also known as a scribble bot or an art bot, this is a fun project that uses the wobbly motion created from offsetting a motor to create fun doodles. But what else can you do with an Educators Pack of Doodlebots?


View full article →
February 03, 2016


ideas › Inspiration ›

It's All About The Space: What Works When You're Making With Kids

We can make any space work, but some spaces I like better than other. Over time I've definitely come up with a list of things that work. Read more for my favourite room features when working with kids.

My favourite space

View full article →
January 19, 2016


News › Resources ›

December 09, 2015


Kits › News ›

New! Our kits are now available at Creatron

Maker Junior banner image from Creatron Inc

This banner is so much fun!

Creatron has been our favorite go-to store for electronics for years. When we visit Toronto we always try to make a trip to the downtown location. The last time I was there I was excited to find all sizes of LEDs displayed in a rainbow of colors! It's so great to have a store that gets how we work. 

We were excited to meet with the Creatron folks at Maker Festival this year in Toronto and at Ottawa at Maker Faire! We thrilled to announce that Maker Junior kits are now available at Creatron.

October 21, 2015


Automata and Animatronics for Kids

This fall, we started our Inventors Workshop by getting things moving. Animatronics refers to lifelike robots. You would often see animatronics in movies or a theme park. Some of my favorite animatronic activities are the simplest. I love this wagging tail from Arvind Gupta. They are easy to make and I find the movement fascinating. A straight up and down tug makes great sweeping movements.  We've made lots of wagging tails that have turned into various animals.

A slithering snake and a cat with wagging tail

We've even turned them into moving pictures.


I've discovered a couple of tricks to help make this activity successful:

  • I don't use broom straws for the tails, I use cable ties. (Associate link.) The cool think about cable ties is the slight bend at the end. If you line two up the right way, they make a triangle perfect for a wagging tail.
  • Mounting the finished tail on a piece of foam core, or cardboard, helps create context and keep the tail wagging in two dimensions. 
  • Thin paper for weaving the tail helps! Your average print or copy paper works well, newsprint does too.
  • Thick paper, like cardstock, for the bodies of the animals helps!

We stopped with this project for the 6-8 yr olds. With the 9-12 yr olds, we kept going over the next couple of weeks building automata.

Automata are toys that move using mechanical energy. Cranks, gears, springs, pulleys. A really simple automata, like this project from the NY Hall of Science, uses smooth gears friction to spin an object around. 

We had a great time with this activity. I also brought the 3Doodler and the kids had a good time incorporating plastic doodles into their creations.

 Spinning 3Doodled BallerinaAn angry bunny

What I've learned from our automata project:

  • Some of the kids used boxes to make their automata, some of them used two litre pop bottles. The boxes were sturdy and easy to make holes and set things up. But it was really hard to troubleshoot. The bottles were harder to get setup, but because they were transparent, it was really easy to troubleshoot.
  • Leave time for troubleshooting. It's worth it to spend the time you need to get things moving.



October 15, 2015


Contest › Kits › Projects ›

Spooky October Sweepstakes

Win a Talking Stuffie kit in our Spooky October Sweepstakes! Leave a comment on our blog for a chance to win.

Our Talking Stuffie Kit

View full article →