My biggest discovery about makerspaces for kids during my journey from Pittsburgh to Indianapolis is…there aren’t really any. At least none that I could find. I was going to stop in Cleveland, but a search of their children’s events and website didn’t turn up any maker activities for kids. Lots of adult and some teen, but none for ages 12 and under. Ditto with Columbus. Now they may have some great things going on, but Cleveland didn’t respond to my email request, and quite frankly I waited too long to talk to Columbus directly.
I did, however, bite the bullet and try Cincinnati. Spoke to Nathan, technology educator for the area consortium, and had a great discussion. But no makerspace or inquiry-based programming for kids of which he is aware. At least during the school year. He did suggest I investigate Cincinnati’s summer programming. Will do!
But the lack of current programming is disappointing. And if I am in the wrong, and someone at any of these cities can let me know it, I apologize. I will definitely post a retraction. But if I am correct – WHY? Is it that new? Is hands-on learning really so incredibly rare in libraries? Are we all waiting for the summer? My plan is to hit the ground running this summer and use these experiences to help design an afterschool program in the fall.
I am visiting the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis tomorrow morning. The Family Place workshop scheduled to be held there is not related to the makerspace movement or inquiry-based learning, but I will definitely be exploring the museum after the presentation. It is reputedly the largest children’s museum in the country and I am sure that it will have a lot of interactive exhibits. But a search of their website does not seem to include a MAKESHOP-type space similar to Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. I will let you know tomorrow!