Have you heard of Maker Scout? It's a national nonprofit on a mission to get kids making through STEAM-based projects. They're still in beta mode, but the boys and I (and a few local friends) have already been making away.
Maker Scout is set up so that kids can create an online profile and earn badges after completing a series of activities focused on a new theme released each month. This past month was Paper Kraft and they had activities on everything from print and bookmaking, to stomp rockets, paper making, and even paper sculpting. We still haven't completed all the activities to earn our first badge, but the boys have enjoyed every minute of it so far, and always look forward to our next project.
What I really like about Maker Scout--even as a craft pro myself--is that not only does it have an educational focus for each badge, but it also has all the background info, instructions, material lists, and step-by-step photos all ready for you in one place. So I don't have to reinvent the wheel (although they may have us doing that) or dig for project ideas myself.
And along with working on projects independently, Maker Scout encourages skill sharing through troops--much like a traditional scouts organization. I hosted a very chaotic meeting of families at my house the other week and we learned how to make a series of different airplanes, gliders, and a homemade stomp rocket.
If you're looking for some kind of organization for your kids to join (or a hands-on summer program), but just haven't found one that fits your style, I highly recommend you look into becoming a Maker Scout. There is a small monthly fee to join, but I believe they have (or will have) scholarships available. Plus, you get to earn real badges--no uniform required.
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Labels: kid-friendly crafts