The Gigantic 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:
- TAPIGAMI is a new annual favorite! Maker, Danny, displays his amazing sculptures and teaches everyone how to do it.
- Meet Makey. This special robot is ready for photo opps and also back-and-forth interaction with your child.
- 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 including home brew robotics and turning your kids' art into a VR world!
- Make a Plush Marshmallow with Sugar Plush. Sew an adorable plushie with upcycled materials.
- NeedleArts Zone will have ongoing FREE lessons in knitting, crochet, needlepoint, cross-stitch, spinning, and weaving to all ages. Wearable art and science will be all around, from the practical to the silly. My kids will love the TRACIMOC (comic art backwards!)
- So many drones! Fly one, race them, or just come and see what's new in the world of drones.
- You'll want to visit the Young Makers program so kids can be inspired by others closer to their own age… like this Super LEGO Origami Machine that turns kids' old homework into origami paper.
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.
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.
Here are some highlights of the Bay Area Maker Faire of my family from years' past.
[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 2018 Maker Faire to report to you. All opinions are ours.