If you can dream it, you can make it! The Maker Movement is gaining steam, with imaginative-types around the world creating their own electronics, robots, metalwork, woodwork, traditional arts and crafts, and more. Using found or repurposed materials, creativity, and a little elbow grease, artists just like the ones in your family are digging in and making amazing things, all on their own.
This month’s DIY Summer Camp is inspired by Makers! A series of blog posts will each feature step-by-step instructions for totally unique and kid-fun maker arts & crafts activities you and your child can create together. Not only are these art, construction, and music projects a wonderful opportunity for some serious quality time, but they’ll also inspire creativity and imagination, instill confidence, enhance problem solving skills, introduce basic math, science, and engineering, and develop motor skills. In other words, they’ll keep those brains busy over the summer!
Many participants in the Maker Movement share what they’ve made and how they’ve made it so others can give it a go. Please be sure to share YOUR wonderful creations by posting photos on our Facebook page. We also encourage you to build upon these projects and make them your own – change the materials, try a different construction, add something new – and share again!
(And for our kid Makers who are reading this, make sure to ask a parent to help you with these projects!)
Poetry In Motion
The father of the modern mobile, Alexander Calder, is best remembered for his amazing kinetic sculptures, featuring perfectly balanced or suspended objects that moved by motor or wind power. Follow the step-by-step instructions below, using objects you have at home, to make your own Calder mobile and get some hands-on practice with the concept of balance.
- 20 Gauge florist stem wire (wire hangers will work too, but are harder to bend)
- Construction paper
- Foam sheets (found at craft stores or in the arts & craft section at your big box store). Construction paper will work as well.
- Glue stick or hot glue gun
- Wire cutters
- 10- 15 Paper clips (you may need more depending on your design)
- Optional – downloaded printouts of our Racoon Rumpus and Sea Squad designs
- Using your pliers, bend a loop in the center of the stem wire.
- Stack two sheets of foam or construction paper on top of each other and cut a shape for the end of the wire. You can also use Raccoon Rumpus and Sea Squad cut outs.
- Place one shape on a table, cover with glue, press one end of the wire into the glue, and press the other shape on top.
- Repeat steps 2 and 3 for the other end of the wire. The shape can be different, but if you want your mobile to balance, use a shape that’s similar in size to what’s on the other end.
- Hook three paper clips together, then hook the chain to the top of the wire loop in the center of your mobile. Now hook 3 paper clips together. Then hook the chain to the top of the loop. This allows you to hang your mobile.Next, hook three more paper clips together and hook this chain from the bottom of the wire loop in the center of your mobile. You’ll hang the next piece of your mobile from this chain.
- Use a wire cutter to cut another segment of wire in half, making a loop in each cut piece, and gluing additional shapes or characters to each side of each end.
- Using another piece of wire, make a loop in the middle and bend the ends into loops.
- Hang the two shorter pieces you just made (with foam or paper designs on the ends) from the two looped ends.
- Now, attach this structure to the paper clip chain hanging from bottom of the first wire piece.
Congratulations!You’ve made a Calder mobile. Now hang it in a breezy spot and watch it whirl! Experiment by hanging different sized shapes from the ends and adjusting the balance point away from the center. And don’t forget to share photos on our Facebook page. Here are some of ours!
Brain Boosting Benefits:
- Encourages imagination and creativity
- Demonstrates cause and effect
- Enhances fine motor skills
- Introduces simple engineering concepts including balance