Interested in starting a Young Makers Club?
We’ve highlighted some of the key elements of a Young Makers club below, and we invite you to explore our Young Makers’ Training, Resources, and Support for more comprehensive information.
Recruit Young Makers and Mentors
Young Makers clubs are built on creative and meaningful collaborations between young makers and mentors. Young makers can be found anywhere – in nearby neighborhoods, among family friends, in after-school programs or school classrooms, in scout troops, church groups, and more. Mentors can be found in many of the same places and may be parents, guardians, teachers and educators, professionals from any field, or high school students. All mentors are eager to support the development of youth-chosen projects and foster cultures of collaboration, creativity, and experimentation.
Find a space or spaces
If you have access to a backyard, a garage, a shop, a community / neighborhood space, or even an empty classroom, you’re ready to start sourcing tools and materials! Connect with your community to share equipment, donate or recycle materials, and purchase supplies. Check out our Youth Makerspace Playbook for more ideas.
Pick a project
Project ideas come from bug lists, tweaks of existing projects, and off-shoots from your favorite sport or hobby. See what’s out there! To get your idea generator going, it helps to look at as many examples as possible of what other people have done. You can replicate the project exactly or add your own twist along the way. Here are a few places to look:
- Maker Ed’s online Resource Library: The Resource Library includes more than a hundred resources and ideas. Head over to the Projects and Learning Approaches category for inspiration.
- Past Young Makers projects: Check out the 2013, 2014, and 2015 galleries of Young Makers projects presented at Maker Faire Bay Area.
- Instructables: Contains an exhaustive set of step-by-step instructions for a million different projects of all difficulty levels. You could spend half a lifetime browsing this site. You can also contribute your project to the site to help others.
- makezine.com: The Makezine blog has a number of posts each day describing thought-provoking projects.
- Howtoons: A wonderful collection of highly visual materials. Particularly helpful is the Guide to Visual Communication.
The key to a Young Makers club is a sense of community, trust, and collaboration. Meet regularly; share ideas, inspiration, and struggles. Convene with other local clubs at events and gatherings for plussing sessions. These are great opportunities to share progress, processes, and successes. Young Makers may gain not only technical skills but also soft skills like perseverance and curiosity.
It’s encouraged for Young Makers, as well as mentors, club managers, and all participants, to document all your work. Make notes, take photos and videos, and post them to share! These can all be compiled into a portfolio or website. Have your participants help to populate the webpage, create logos and designs, choose a name and identity, and write blog posts.
A much more thorough and complete guide to getting a club up and running is available in the Maker Club Playbook.