Full STEAM Ahead! New Maker Workshops Arrive for Summer

Just in time for summer, the STEAM Team at Boston Children’s Museum is introducing a new series of Family Workshops! Designed to support visitors as they explore new and current technologies, these programs help chart a pathway to creativity and innovation.

The most important thing to know is that STEAM (short for science, technology, engineering, art, and math) is a ton of fun for both children and grownups! These workshops are hour-long, hands- and minds-on challenges designed to introduce those aged 7 and older to a diverse set of skills and new ways of thinking.

Past offerings include:

  • Learn to Solder”: visitors made necklaces, key chains, rings, and trinkets based on the designs they imagined.
  • Engineering Challenge: families designed model penguin enclosures to keep feathered friends cool at the zoo.

And we ran a screen printing workshop, resulting in a story that has really stuck with our STEAM team staff:

This past May, one of our screen printing workshops hosted three generations of a single family. Together with their adult children and granddaughter, a local couple had stopped by the Museum that weekend to celebrate their 51st wedding anniversary! Each family member got to screen-print his or her own design; along with some T-shirts and fabric designs, Grandma crafted a very special tote bag, which we’ve pictured here.

Heart Tote Bag

And that’s what we mean by “and older”. Grownups, too, deserve the chance to design and create! STEAM workshops don’t just build new ideas—they create lasting memories as kids and parents work to make something great. And the best part is they do it together.

Because when it comes right down to it…exploring our world is a skill we never outgrow.

 

 

 

 

 

Introducing the CreatedBy: Festival!

CreatedBy logo

Boston Children’s Museum is thrilled to unveil a new twist on an old(ish) event! Mark your calendars October 25 & 26, 2019, for the CreatedBy: Festival—our new and improved annual celebration of hands-on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) learning and discovery.

For the past three years, Boston Children’s Museum has produced and hosted the Boston Mini Maker Faire. This event engaged creative spirits and innovators from Boston and beyond, including engineers, artists, technologists, musicians, and anyone with a passion project they were excited to share. Going into our fourth year, we were determined to keep all of the aspects of our past events that visitors told us they loved, including featuring young innovators and lots of hands-on projects. We also wanted to be sure we had engaging activities for our youngest visitors, and opportunities to share the fun of the event with educators and students. Ultimately, we decided the best way to accomplish these goals was to develop a new event, the CreatedBy: Festival, entirely produced by Boston Children’s Museum with assistance from some of our amazing event partners from years past, including Artisan’s Asylum, NE First Robotics, and Olin College of Engineering, as well as an exciting new partner in Massachusetts STEM Week.

What is Massachusetts STEM Week, you ask? It’s a celebration of STEM across the state and a chance for all children to experience the exciting “ah-ha” discovery moments of engaging in STEM. On Friday, October 25, school groups and educators, as well as Museum members and visitors will engage in hands-on STEAM workshops and fun learning activities led by Museum staff and education- and technology-focused organizations meant to engage, share, and inspire. On Friday evening, our partners, makers, and sponsors will help us fill the Museum with fun, surprising, and kooky creations, and more opportunities to engage in hands-on STEAM. Saturday, October 26, will be another full day of opportunities for families and innovators to experience CreatedBy: Festival.

Over the next few months we will be communicating more information and details about the event. We can’t wait for you to join us for the CreatedBy: Festival which will be a truly memorable experience CreatedBy: Boston Children’s Museum, CreatedBy: Kids, and CreatedBy: You, Boston Children’s Museum’s visitors!

Meet the STEAM team

On October 6th & 7th 2018, Boston Children’s Museum will be hosting the Boston Mini Maker Faire for the third consecutive year. But did you know that the museum has been providing hands-on learning experiences for children for over a century? Today, Boston Children’s Museum has an exciting team of exhibit and program developers that all work towards providing robust experiences in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (S.T.E.A.M)! In anticipation of one of the team’s favorite projects, the Boston Mini Maker Faire in October 2018, every member of the STEAM Team was asked the following question: What do you make, and why?

Melissa Higgins: Senior Director, STEAM


I wish I could differentiate myself from the HGTV-watching, Pinterest-inspired masses, but, I make DIY house projects! Trust me, you haven’t lived until you’ve taken five trips to the hardware store in one weekend. This is how we learn. I think pretty much anyone who lives in Boston will agree with me when I say that the general lack of storage in our city dwellings forces a lot of DIY creativity. There’s something really satisfying about imagining a project, figuring out how to bring it to life, and actually using it every day in your home. Plus, it’s a great test of the long-term stability of your marriage.

Alissa Daniels: Educator – Science Program Manager


I make earrings and other stuff from recycled plastic. “Homemade Shrinky Dinks” was one of my regular Kitchen Science projects here at BCM, and I would tell kids “If you punch holes in it, you can make earrings or key chains or other stuff.” And then one day I thought “Well…I can do that too.” It was amusing and fun, but then I discovered other people liked my things enough to pay for them. So now I do it for amusement, fun and a tiny tiny bit of profit.

Cora Carey: STEAM & Maker Program Manager


I make everything from spinnakers to recycled wool hats to bikes that make bubbles – sometimes out of necessity, sometimes as a creative outlet, but always because it’s fun and challenging to make stuff. I make things for my kids, my house, my neighborhood, my job, and occasionally on commission.

Ivy Bardaglio: STEAM & Maker Coordinator

I like to make a mess. I love working on big, in-your-face projects– like a human-powered stamp roller! I also make small everyday things, from tie dye to candles to calligraphy. I enjoy the independence and self-reliance that making gives me.

Faith Johnson: Educator – Art Program Manager

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Both as a practicing artist and educator, I find joy in facilitating and creating experiences that spark imagination, curiosity, exploration, collaboration, connection, reflection, creative voice, and transformation. I love to feel empowered and in turn, empower people of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities to imagine, activate, and participate thoughtfully in the creativity of the world inside and around us.

Rosa Frank: STEAM Specialist

At Boston Children’s Museum, I make the same things our visitors make: paper bridges, coffee-filter snowflakes, zoetropes, leaf rubbings, scribble bots, paintings, drawings, sculptures and more. I make these things to learn about what works and what doesn’t. I explore the potential of the materials, and I find ways to help kids work through the challenges. At home, I make greeting cards, found poetry, and gift-wrap from recycled materials. These are things to give away, to show appreciation and gratitude for the people in my life.

Neil Tembulkar: Maker Faire Project Manager

What do I make? I make my life more difficult. Why? I try and make/do/fix/create everything with a misguided overconfidence. At times I am successful. Other times I turn to online tutorials and success is a coin flip. Often times I fail. No matter what the task is, the attempt is the rush, and the result is a lesson. When I’m not engaged in such Maker-hubris, I like to write, play percussion instruments, and most of all: make people laugh!

Teacher Appreciation Week – Who Inspired Us to Make?

originally posted on Boston Mini Maker Faire, May 8, 2018

While we all know teachers deserve year-round appreciation, this week is Teacher Appreciation Week and our team took the opportunity to think about our educators, and which of them inspired us to Make:

“…The teacher who introduced me to Making also happens to have been my grandmother! Gram was a nursery school teacher and reading specialist focused on dyslexia. She was also a knitter and a painter. Thanks to her natural inclination for teaching, both inside and outside the classroom, I learned how to knit and paint, too. My early experiences Making turned into a full-blown love for all kinds of art, and projects of almost any type. Everything from making wreaths out of shells to building a shelving unit is fair game. I still knit today and think of Gram whenever I finish a project…”

“…John Farias was my Biology teacher in 9th grade, and then my Vertebrate Zoology (elective) teacher my senior year.  I loved Mr Farias.  He was so excited about Biology, from the way cells work to larger structures.  I remember once during the zoology class, we were dissecting something pretty big, and I found something in the brain I couldn’t identify.  I brought it to Mr Farias and he was fascinated.  “I don’t know what that is!!!  We’ll have to find out.”  This was well before the days of the Internet and instant gratification; Mr Farias’s enthusiasm for not knowing something and seeing it as an opportunity to learn something new really stuck with me.  I went on to major in zoology, and later became an informal science educator…”

“…In college, I took a class called “Psychology of Sustainability”. My teacher challenged the class to go 10 days without producing any waste. During that time period, I really had to get creative with reusing, recycling, and creating novel solutions to my needs. That experiment caused me to find new ways to make things with my hands and my brain. When I joined the Boston Mini Maker Faire team, I stumbled across this quote that really captured my experience in that class: “[The Maker Movement] has the potential to turn more and more people into makers instead of just consumers, and I know from history that when you give makers the right tools and inspiration, they have the potential to change the world.” (Time Magazine)…”

“…The most rewarding class I had in high school was Humanities: the intersection of art, music, and English literature. For the class’s year-long culminating project, my friends and I were at a loss for what to do: we considered ourselves left-brained non creatives. Daniel Niven, an engaging and relate-able educator, then sat with us for hours of brainstorming to help us realize that we could make music that has intriguing mathematical themes and components. Not only did he inspire us to compose a nine-minute live-performed song about mathematical properties (‘Definition 23’ by Euclidean Dramamine), but he spent meaningful time helping us gain creative confidence and an appreciation of our “right-brain” potential. This was a crucial first step to then pursuing many Maker projects that followed in high school and college…”

“…I’ve been lucky to have numerous great teachers who encouraged Making. It’s hard to choose one or two to mention, but this week, I’m thinking of a couple of my sixth-grade teachers from Mount Nittany Middle School. My math teacher, Nate Cattell, had us design and build a bookcase, a toy box and a house out of cut and folded oak tag paper. The designs had to meet precise specifications, and the paper had to be all one piece. Boy, were those projects challenging (but they were rewarding, too). My art teacher, Julia Nelson, got me past an artist’s block by suggesting I turn my Junk Project – a sculpture made from recycled materials – into an installation, using the space on one of her shelves. A huge thank you to Mr. Cattell, Mrs. Nelson, and all my teachers!…”

Who inspired you to Make?