The Maker Faire Detroit was a fantastic event. You may remember we went to the Mini Maker Faire last summer, but this year's event was much bigger. Don't for a minute think this was just an event for adults. My little ones (almost six and four) loved it! They held on from 9:30 am until 4:30 pm and behaved quite well. I'd love to credit my above average parenting skills, but it really has more to do with the Maker Faire holding their attention. OK, and snacks. I did bring a well packed stroller; nothing brings out the grumpies in our family like low blood sugar.
The day began perfectly because both kids got their own tickets - that they could hold. Having something to hold makes the 45 minute wait until the gate opens much more bearable. (And before all my friends think it was me that had us there 45 minutes early, you're wrong. This one was all my husband!)
There was stuff for kids everywhere! At the Kid Robot's Wrecklab they had tools and electronics for kids to take apart.
There were robots everywhere.
After making this little fella scoop up wiffle balls, shoot them at a target and then return to his parking spot, each child earned a driver's license to wear for the rest of the day. Then, all day long people commented on how the kids had them - which, of course, they loved.
The Lifesize Mousetrap game was also popular. Especially when the safe hit the mini van and we could feel it through the ground 40 feet away.
My daughter loved the arduino powered target shooting game, while my son preferred the arduino skeeball game.
We spent a lot of time at table where the kids could build vehicles from reused materials. The car that traveled the farthest won a prize. Sadly, we weren't contenders...
Then, who could resist making their own non-Newtonian fluid to take home. Here's the recipe if you want to try. It's cheap, easy and oh so slimy. Just keep it off the carpet - trust me.
used them to decorate paper mache dogs.
There were old puzzle pieces brought back to life with a coat of spray paint, some hot glue and a pin back,
beads to string,
and uber-cool Coke and Mentos fountains. (It's old video, but it gives you the idea.) Luckily we arrived early, had a decent place to stand, and most importantly - avoided the "splash zone." My son was quite sad when we weren't willing to wait in line for one of the 105 half-full bottles of flat, slightly minty Coke Zero they were giving away after the show, but he got over it quickly.
By far, for my two children anyway, the hit of the day came next. They both claimed to have other favorites, but in terms of how long a display or activity held their attention, this was "it." It wasn't the snacks, the tickets, the giant flame shooting bicycle, meeting good friends or staying with relatives, it all came down to the fish. Yeah, you heard me, the fish.
All 250 of them.
My photo just doesn't do it justice. Pop on over to their web page and watch some of their video clips. You'll see why the kids loved it so much. My daughter just wanted to pet the "little cute ones," but if you know my son, then you can imagine him dancing and spinning around the car singing along to Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen as sung by 250 hacked rubber fish. (He knows the lyrics thanks to this.) It was a sight to behold.
The entire 2010 Maker Faire Detroit was a sight to behold - and we didn't get to see everything! All I have to say is there had better be another one here next year, Make Magazine. Because if there isn't, you're going to have some very unhappy kiddos. Myself included...