Bay Area Maker Faire is this weekend in San Mateo!
Each year, our family makes the trek to San Mateo to check out all the incredible inventions, art projects, and unbridled creativity that is the Maker Faire. If you haven’t been, it’s worth a trip. The Maker Faire brings together “people who make things” – this includes everything from scientists experimenting in the kitchen to welders building fire-breathing octopus vehicles to a middle schooler who built a Rubik’s-cube solving robot out of Legos. Buy tickets now >
Maker Faire is a particularly family-friendly affair because almost everything is hands-on, perfect for a curious (or impulsive) child. There is something for everyone at Maker Faire, and if you love the quirky Bay Area — and can stand some crowds — it is well worth your time.
In no particular order, here are a few of the things I’m looking forward to seeing this year at Maker Faire:
- Life Sized Mousetrap. A trip to the Maker Faire wouldn’t be complete without seeing this in action… and the kids will go full melt-down if we miss it. It’s like the cheap plastic board game you played as a kid, but this thing is huge and made of lots of metal! Bonus: there’s a giant safe that squashes the mouse at the end! Each year brings some new alteration to the contraption, can’t wait to see what it is!
- Tapigami – Our son went wild for this art form of tape plus origami and we had sticky creatures everywhere after the visit. Check it out and get addicted. Not interested in a tape garden? How about the yarn bomb garden?
- Balloon hacks goes beyond simple balloon twisting to create something magnificent. I bet we leave the fair with a big bag of balloons this year. Look for airigami, too.
- Talks: There are always a ton of really incredible lectures and demonstrations. Some of the talks are really aimed at grownups where people talk about their work, their maker philosophy, success in classrooms, and more. The more kid-friendly talks are usually amazing demonstrations of cool inventions.
- Crazy bike things There are always an amazing collection of strange and wonderful bike inventions like a carousel and rodeo plus backwards-riding tricycles and ebikes and eboards. What?
- Kids under 5? Here's a special list just for you! Wave a big “hi” to our friends from Giant Cardboard Robots.
- Light up art like electrowear clothing will be all around, from the practical to the silly.
- Paper roller coasters have all the wow-factor of a traditional marble run but none of the equipment. Another station lets you build a bigger Rube Goldberg machine.
- You'll want to visit the Young Makers program so kids can be inspired by others closer to their own age… like 10-year old Omar's fully programmable smart watch for kids.
- We always love the giant soap bubbles! They are usually near the main entrance/exit so we can hit them twice.
There’s so much more to see, I can’t wait to discover the unexpected surprises! Buy tickets now >
Wondering what to expect? Alec reported his adventures at a recent Maker Faire accompanied by a five year-old. Wendy also shared her stories and pictures of her pilgrimage with the whole family. If you're on the fence, please read about their experiences. This year, we'll go with five- and ten-year old kids and probably bring the walkie talkies.
Here are some photos of my family from years' past.
Pro Tip: Be early, early, early. The place starts getting crowded around noon – the magic hours from 10am to noon give you the most opportunity to do stuff. Avoid long entry lines by buying your ticket online and getting to an fairground entry by 9:45 am. All the parking lots are off-site, and involve a 15 minute walk, so plan accordingly! We try to leave Berkeley by 8:30 so we aren’t in a rush once we arrive.
[Photo credits: Maker Faire logo is from MakerFaire.com; all others are from the Flett family; all rights reserved]
Disclosure: We received media passes to the 2017 Maker Faire to report to you. All opinions are ours.