Last weekend we packed up the girls and took them to the Chattanooga Mini Maker Faire – dubbed Chattanooga’s biggest Show and Tell. The Mini Maker Faire is part of the national Maker Movement that celebrates ingenuity, invention, creativity and community. Engineers, crafters, artists and everyone from scientists to hobbyists come together to put their projects on display and engage the community in a day of making.
To say Bonnie had fun is an understatement. She got to see everything from a portable hydroponic farm, battle bots, and crazy cool cardboard creations, to jewelry crafters, 3d printers, and fire jugglers.
Her favorite part was making her own cardboard statue in the spirit of the amazing Wayne-o-Rama sculpture on display.
We also screen printed the Maker Robot on some canvas bags to take home. SO FUN! I love the spirit of this event. Art, science, and creativity seamlessly blend in the Maker Movement. When I was a kid, you were either a math and science person, or an art and English person – left brain or right brain, so to speak. The Maker Faire really showcases the intersection of these disciplines in a fun way, and Bonnie was definitely feeling inspired when we left. So, how do we nurture this spark until next year’s faire? Well, my answer is always books. So today I wanted to share with you some books that capture the spirit of the Maker Movement.
Andrea Beaty has a fantastic trio of books for little makers in the making: Rosie Revere Engineer, Iggy Peck Architect, and Ada Twist Scientist. Beaty’s characters are curious and passionate, creative and determined. My favorite of the three is Rosie Revere Engineer, who must overcome failure and self doubt before she realizes the meaning of true success.
The Little People Big Dreams books by Maria Isabel Sánchez Vegara are kid-size picture book biographies about women who were scientists, designers, activists, musicians and writers – and all happen to be amazing, real-life female role models. The illustrations from this series are beautiful and creative to boot. I think she is a little bit younger than the ideal age group for this series, but Bonnie still really enjoyed the Marie Curie biography we borrowed from the library. She gapes with wide eyed disbelief when we talk about how girls weren’t allowed to enroll in some universities back in Marie Curie’s time.
She may be too young to understand what radium and polonium are, but she is not too young to understand the message that girls can be anything they put their mind and heart into, or that intelligence and education are gifts and privileges we can use to help people in need and make the world better.
I had to include at least one Mouse pick in this post! Rocket Science for babies? yes! These amazing board books aim to make scientific concepts accessible for even the littlest readers with simple illustrations and words. And who says grown ups shouldn’t learn a thing or two when they read aloud? I confess I don’t think I completely understand black holes even after reading General Relativity, but when the book proclaims “Now You Know General Relativity!” on the last page, I think, well, maybe a little better than I did before. The point stands – is it ever too early to start encouraging scientific thought?