Get ready for the greatest show (and tell) on earth as Maker Faire Bay Area returns to the San Mateo Event Center. Maker Faire describes itself as “part science fair, part county fair, and part something entirely new!”, and it’s a family-friendly expo of invention and creativity featuring everything from technology, science, and engineering to food, art, and education. It’s a celebration of all things “Maker” that will inspire you and your family to become Makers yourselves. Maker Faire Bay Area takes place Friday through Sunday, May 20, 21, and 22, from 1 to 5 pm on Friday, 10 am to 7 pm on Saturday, and 10 am to 6 pm on Sunday.
It goes without saying that STEAM (Science, Technology, Education, Art, and Math) education is a hot topic with families today. Getting kids to become "makers" working with hands-on projects is not only fun, but an important part of learning how our world today works and getting prepared for future careers. Working on STEAM activities often involves lots of expensive equipment like computers, laser cutters, soldering stations, power tools, and 3D printers, and of course a space in which to work—and that's where local maker spaces like the CEC Maker Space and Media Studio at South Novato Library come into play.
One of the cool presents under the Christmas tree this year was Makeblock's Starter Robot Kit. This kit contains everything you need to assemble your own robot tank and three wheeled car. The robot has rubber tracks for all-terrain mobility, an ultrasonic sensor for object avoidance, and an infrared remote control so you can drive it around the house, backyard, or classroom. It's all built around an arduino board, which allows you to program the robot, too.
A startup based out of Shenzhen, China, Makeblock produces a variety of other robotics kits in addition to the Starter Robot, using its open-source robiotics platform. As the name implies, you can get various add-on components to extend your robot into a unique technological creation.
If your kids are looking for something fun and rewarding to do over Winter Break, why not make that screen time fun and educational by completing an Hour of Code? Hour of Code officially took place during Computer Science Education Week earlier this month, but if you missed it or just want to have more fun learning some code there are some great online resources out there for you to explore.
Are your kids ready to make their own stop-motion movies? One of the best ways to get started is with the fun and easy-to-use HUE Animation Studio, and we're giving one away to one lucky Marin Mommies reader!
HUE Animation Studio includes a USB 720p HD camera with built-in microphone, animation software for Windows and Mac, and the 60-page HUE Book of Animation, which contains instructions, tips, and inspiration for creating your own stop-motion movies. You can read our review of HUE Animation Studio here.
We've been experimenting with making stop-motion movies for a while now, using various tools like our DSLR and iPads, but we recently got a review copy of the new HUE Animation Studio and it's changed our filmmaking world!
HUE Animation Studio is a complete kit that includes almost everything you and your kids need to create your own stop-motion movies, including a 720p USB camera, software for Windows or Mac, and a guidebook. You have to provide the imagination! Great sources for animation fun that you probably have on hand include LEGO minifigs, Playmobil figures, and other toys and action figures, modeling clay, and even drawings.