Tinker Tuesdays 2015: A Recap

Illuminated Mask image

Tinker Tuesday: Illuminated Masks & Minecraft Bookmarks

As I clean up the mess left behind in the wake of our summer learning program, I’m of course remembering the highlights. This was the third year I offered a summer maker/tinker series for kids and teens ages 8-18 and it continues to be popular and successful. Many of the young makers come to every program which this year ranged from an Illuminated Masks & Bookmarks program to DIY: Bike Maintenance and Soldering 101. I specifically look for both what interests our community and what gaps exist in the offerings for kids and teens around town.

The series is designed to offer kids access to the materials and know-how to explore high and low tech projects, inspire their creativity, strengthen their critical thinking skills and of course expose them to new ideas. We don’t have the physical space for a permanent makerspace, so we set up shop each week and give kids and teens time to play and explore. We do this with the help of several community mentors who share their expertise and enthusiasm to complement what I bring to the program. Some programs are led by me and some by other mentors.

In year’s past, we’ve had anywhere from 10-45 participants in our small space where we host our maker programs (community meeting room). This year I planned some programs that require more expensive materials, but with the same small budget, so I needed to know that I would have enough supplies for everyone who attended. I decided to require registration this year so I could foresee the number of makers I would need to plan for. To keep the process consistent, I had participants register for all programs, even those that were cheaper supply-wise. It worked well, although not perfectly as many librarians can imagine. I did reminder calls the day before to help manage any wait lists and allowed kids who showed up to join if there was space.

Programs either had space for 12 or 20 depending on the activity and the layout of the room needed for each program. For example, coding had a maximum of 12 because we had teams of two working on 6 laptops or 10 iPads spread out on meeting room tables. Bike Maintenance could accommodate more participants because we removed the furniture for part of the program and went outside for the rest.

Here are the cost breakdowns if you’re interested. In addition to materials and any professional fees required for each program, I’ve included the costs of snacks that we offer at all of these longer programs to keep those creative minds strong (and feed any kids who regularly go hungry during the summer).

Note on funding: Our Friends group continues to fund this series plus our entire summer learning program with the help of strong community support. With additional resources we would eagerly run more maker programs after school or during school closures throughout the year.

Program Kids/Teens Attendance Cost Notes
Illuminated Masks/Bookmarks 12 $274 (enough materials for an additional small program during the Winter)
Superhero Collage 10 $209  (guest mentor)
Soldering 10 $205 (guest mentor, enough materials for an additional small program during the Winter)
LEGO Club (met 2 times) $36 $0 (we already have the LEGOs thatnks to the ALSC/LEGO grant and snacks were pulled from the large stash I have on hand)
Coding 8 $9 (PB & J supplies for programming demo)
Coding for Girls 6 $0
DIY Bike Maintenance 12 $150  (guest mentor)
Marine Mammal Rescue & Rehab 20 $303 (guest mentor, funded by an inter-library cooperation grant from our state library)
ROVs 18 $0 (guest mentors, program equipment and staff provided by a local partner organization)
Drawing Comics 28 $805  (guest mentor)
General Snacks $50 (paid for snacks for all programs)
Total Costs: $2,005

If you have questions about the individual programs, please let me know.

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