Maker Faire: Kansas City

A feast for the mind!  Learning in the raw!  These were thoughts that came to me as my family and I walked through booth upon booth at this year’s Maker Faire in Kansas City!

Ever hear of the “Maker Movement”?  It’s all about kids/adults learning to innovate, create, problem solve “in the new world of crafters, hackers, and tinkerers.”  It’s a revolution of creating, building and birthing new ideas!  You can read more about it in The Maker Movement Manifesto by Mark Hatch.

What is a “Maker Faire”?  Maker Faire: Kansas City celebrates things people create themselves — from new technology, 3D printers and electronic gizmos to home-made soaps, clothes, and sculptures.  It brings together Makers, Crafters, Inventors, Hackers, Scientists and Artists for a faire full of fun and inspiration.

As a teacher and a parent, I’m always on the hunt for avenues to help teach my children “that learning and sharing is exciting and fun!”  And not only fun – but when you find a solution to a problem and you find ways to meet that solution on a large scale – it can benefit your community and be profitable for you at the same time!  Then you can find more “problems” to solve and do it all over again blessing many in the process!

What did we see today?  So many fun things!  And I loved what they said over and over: “You know the disclaimer – ‘Don’t try this at home?’ Well we say, ‘DO try this at home!  In fact, try it lots of different ways at home!”  Words to ignite and kid!IMG_0569


What can you do with 100+ bottles of warm Coke and 500+ Mentos?  This!  and if you want to learn more about these guys – go here!

What happens when you shoot a super sonic ping pong ball cannon (800 MPH)? Who knows!  But this guy built a launcher to test it and learn what happens!IMG_0513

We made leather bracelets – complete with embossing our own names and designs.

We saw 3D printers and kids designing their own creations!

IMG_0531We saw a company completely obsessed with all things robot!  A husband-wife team started this robo-cool company literally making robots, t-shitrs, original art prints of robots and even stationary!  Check out their great quality IMG_0535products here!

We made duct tape journals complete with pockets and special locking devices.

Of course a maker’s Faire isn’t complete without home-made soap!  Bought me some yummy lemon-verbina soap!  Find some for you!

And then we met the Diva of DIY!  You IMG_0561know all that recycling you just throw out?  Well they suggest turning that into matIMG_0562erials for kids to make into their own inventions!  Or take a tire, hotglue some rope and turn it into a shabby chic ottoman!  Super creative – super cheap!  Love DIYers!

And who doesn’t love a race of home-made race cars around a home-made track of tires?!  Just plain fun and super educational…if you’re the maker behind the fun!IMG_0565

Which brings me back to my point of why were doing this with our kids.  We want to illustrate – with REAL life examples – how fun learning can be when you’re a maker!  A do-er!  When you apply this learning into real life – watch out!  That’s when the learning is raw, it’s fun, and it’s addictive!  Is there any other way to learn?

To check out a Maker Faire near you, head over here!


Cherishing the Fatherhood of Childhood

With it being Father’s Day, this blog is dedicated to my husband and my sons…

Because we limit the amount of TV in this here household, I love the “mental space for creative spontaneity” it provides.  Just yesterday, my 5 yr old son pulled out the mim-stroller (kid sized) and filled it full with his two dolls, brothers Michael and Joey.  Yes, my son has dolls.  🙂  In fact, I think all boys should have dolls.  I credit my husband with this beautiful expression I see in my son.  Before you judge and think I married a mansy-pansy of a husband, let me give you some background.

My husband is about the most manly man I know.  He loves to play golf, cut his own grass on his zero-turn mower (well, ok, he doesn’t LOVE mowing our grass but under the current economic demands of our finances – he bucks up and just does it), he fixes things himself, hunts and harvests a IMG_0127portion of our own food with his awesome compound bow, defends our property from raccoons with his 22 and works out religiously so he’s ready for anything – like the tough-mudder this October.

Likewise, my son loves the outdoors, hunting with his Dad, and searching for bugs and reptiles of any kind!

So back to the dolls…as my son buckled his “boys” in the stroller and began pushing them around the house, there was a dear sense of pride as he took on this fatherly roll.  He then asked if I could take his picture and send it to Dad at the office which I immediately did.

As the morning wore on, he began to ask me for bibs, baby bottles, and blankets.  He’s seen me tend to his baby brother (4 yrs younger) and all of a sudden I saw him emulating this same “motherly, fatherly” behavior.  Observing from afar, I purposefully nurtured this activity.  I asked him if he’d like to read them a book before their nap time.

“Sure,” came his confident response in a lower, more manly voice.  “Mom,” he said, “Get my book, about ‘The Run Away Horse’.”  This is his home-made book that was his very own creation.  (Another blog post…)  He immediately read it with Michael and Joey in his lap.  Then he proceeded to tuck them in.  As this this scene unfolded before me, I realized he was doing everything he had seen me do with his littlest brother (the most recent baby in the family).  He even went as far as writing down on a piece of paper the feeding schedule for Michael and Joey and kept his eye on the clock so he knew when to wake them to feed them.  His expression of father love was so inspiring to me.


IMG_0130This activity went on for about 2 hours.  He just nurtured them, loved them, fed them, read to them, kissed them, tucked them in – and asking the rest of the family to “be quiet” so his boys could sleep.  This was an opportunity to cherish my son’s expression of fatherhood.  I’ve not seen a little boy do this before so intently – so, I was a little taken a back that he was so into this…shame on me.  Just as we encourage and nurture little girls with everything they need to be little Mommies – why don’t we do more cherishing of fatherhood – REAL Fatherhood in our little boys?!


My plea in this blog today is that we look for opportunities to nourish the fatherhood in our little boys as much as we naturally cherish it in our little girls.  We NEED strong, loving, gentle Dads who know how to protect and love their families – not just in brute strength but with that natural balanceIMG_0137 of love with the backbone of principle.  Today while we celebrated Fatherhood for our Dad, we also celebrated it for my son as he’s been a father to “Michael and Joey.”  I wish you could have seen the smile and pride my son expressed as we called him a “father” too.  I feel privileged to have a husband who shares his wonderful expression of fatherhood with me and our children daily and even more grateful to have a son (hopefully two) who know that a real father can express his strength and his gentle love…all at the same time!