I learned about makerspaces on the GoCampPro membership forum. YMCA Camp Kitaki was putting one together and it sounded like a great idea. So I did some research on makerspaces.
WHAT IS A MAKERSPACE?
MAKERSPACE – Also referred to as a hackspace (or hackerspace) or DIY space. It’s a place where people gather together to create, invent, learn and share. Often times these spaces have 3D printers, computers with creation software, electronic components and tools, and art and craft supplies. Some have woodworking tools, sewing machines and random supplies for creating a variety of projects. Makerspaces come in all different sizes and set-ups. They are becoming very popular with libraries.
CAMP MAKERSPACE – Camp Kitaki defines it as a physical location where people gather to share resources and knowledge, work on projects, network, and build. Simply put, a makerspace is an area with the tools and supplies needed to create.
MY IDEAL SUMMER CAMP MAKERSPACE
With the typical arts and crafts program at camp you have an arts and crafts leader who runs campers through a specific craft. Imagine having a makerspace full of arts and craft supplies, examples of crafts, and binders full of step-by-step instructions and ideas. Imagine a place where campers can be as creative as they want.
Here is a list of supplies I would like to see in a camp makerspace:
[table]acorns, acrylic paint, air dry clay, aluminum foil
aprons or large shirts, baggie twist ties, beads, bells
blocks, board game pieces, bottle caps, brown paper bags
bubble wrap, burlap, buttons, cardboard
catalogs/junk mail, clear contact paper, clear plastic storage tubs, clothes pins
coffee filters, colored chalk, colored pencils, cookie cutters
corks, cotton balls, craft foam, crayons
crepe paper, Dixie cups, dried beans, duct tape
egg cartons, elastic, embroidery floss, empty boxes
fabric glue, fabric scraps, feathers, felt
fishing line, foam brushes, freezer paper, glitter
glue stick, googley eyes, hole punches with different shapes, index cards
ink pads, jars, leather working supplies, Legos
liquid starch, magazines, magnet strips, marbles
markers, mason jars, milk cartons, Mod Podge
muslin, newspaper, “nuts, bolts and nails”, oil pastels
old belts, old sheets, packing peanuts, paintbrushes
painter’s tape, paper clips, paper (all kinds), Paper towel and toilet paper tubes
paper towels, paper-cutters, pasta, pencil sharpeners
pine cones, pipe cleaners, plastic bottles, plastic lacing
plastic lids, polymer clay, Popsicle/craft sticks, printing ink
puff balls, pvc pipe, q-tips, ribbon (all colors and styles)
roll of butcher paper, rubber stamps, ruler, sandpaper
scissors, seeds and seed pods, sequins, sewing supplies
small clay pots, small rocks, socks, stapler and staples
stencils, stickers, sticks, straws
string, styrofoam trays, tempera paint, tin cans
tissue paper, toothpicks, watercolors, wax paper
white glue, wire, wire clippers, wood glue
wood scraps, wool felt, wrapping paper, yarn
If I had the funds I would definitely get a few 3d printers as well. Is there anything I missed that you would like to see in your arts and crafts makerspace at camp? If so, let everyone know in the ‘Leave a Reply’ section at the bottom of the page.
Of course, purchasing all these supplies can break a camp’s budget. I suggest following Camp Kitaki’s lead and asking parents, alumni, and other friends of camp for donations of these supplies.
ORGANIZING YOUR SPACE
With all those supplies you’ll need a system of organization. Here is a great example of an organized craft space. These photos are from HGTV.com.
What I like most about this space is the use of jars, magazine holders, drawers, island tables, shelving and the cubby hole paper trays.
The first thing I’d do is put together some binders of craft tutorials. You can do it by theme (Pirates, Fairies, Animals, Around the World), by main craft supply (Mason Jar, Wood, Paper, Felt), by experience level (Beginner, Intermediate, Difficult), and/or by skill (Weaving, Sewing, Beading, Scrapbooking).
A great place to find ideas and tutorials is Pinterest.
Next you’ll want to decorate the space with examples of craft projects, wall art made by staff or campers, etc. Make sure there are plenty of spaces to create. You could divide the room into different areas (painting area, Lego and blocks area, sewing area, leather working area, etc.) or you could have one long table where everyone works together. Each space will be different depending on the layout. Just allow the arts and crafts leader to make it theirs.
Running a makerspace is different from running a camp craft shack. Instead of leading a group through a project, the arts and crafts leader will need to let the campers choose their own project (even if that is just playing with Legos). This is their time to explore the space and supplies and create whatever they want. However, I would have a couple of suggested crafts that staff can show campers how to make. I would also have some craft kits prepared in Ziploc bags for projects that may be popular. That way, if a camper wants to do a particular project they aren’t spending their time trying to find all the supplies needed.
I would also set some guidelines (as well as posting them for everyone to see):
- Explore the makerspace and what it has to offer, but only take the supplies you will use.
- Create one project at a time. Only if you finish the first project can you move on to another.
- If you need help with your project raise your hand.
- If you need inspiration, take a look at the binders and the examples that are all around the room.
- There will be 10 minute, 5 minute and 2 minute warnings. At the 2 minute warning please clean up your area and return unused supplies to the proper place.
So there you have it, my ideal camp makerspace. Have I missed anything? If so, let me know in the ‘Leave a Reply’ section below.