Kids are natural little makers with endless stores of creativity. With a little imagination and opportunism on your end, you can build an outlet for weekend crafts and science experiments with a homemade makerspace without breaking the bank.
Find your furniture
The first step to creating a great makerspace is finding two or three pieces of furniture that give your kids a place to work and store their supplies. Whatever you choose, opt for pieces that can withstand stains and dings. There’s no need to buy something new. Look for retired but sturdy pieces, like kitchen tables, desks, cabinets, shelves or even the old bin shelving unit from their toddler days, to repurpose for their workstation.
The beauty of creating a makerspace is that many supplies are free or low cost. Keep your eyes open and start stockpiling.
First, look in your own recycling bin: Set aside things like empty tissue boxes and paper towel rolls, gallon jugs (washed and dried), plastic food containers with lids, jars with lids, paper grocery bags, magazines, newspapers and shipping boxes.
Repurpose the old: And the next time something is headed to the garbage, look at it with the eyes of a maker. Does it have any parts you can repurpose? If it’s a game with missing pieces, pull out the dice and marbles. As always, make sure it’s safe, without sharp or jagged edges that could cause cuts and injuries.
The dollar store is your friend: Stock up on the cheap with many great dollar store finds, such as pool noodles, toothpicks, plastic cups, straws, twine, sponges, floral foam, paper clips, buttons, coffee filters, wood clothespins, paper plates, paper bowls, cotton swabs, craft sticks, rubber bands, adhesive letters, balloons, construction paper, marbles, masking tape, glass stones, foam sheets and glitter. These are just a few ideas, but take some time to wander through the store and see if inspiration hits.
How do you corral all those supplies without turning the maker-station into a disaster zone? When you get organized, keep these two golden rules in mind:
Keep like things together.
Keep the most frequently used items within easy reach.
We recommend open-topped bins that fit on a shelf. This makes pickup fast and easy. Large-sized items can get their own big bin — repurposed diaper boxes make a fabulous DIY solution, courtesy of the blog Positively Splendid. For tiny pieces, dollar store compartment bins will do in a pinch. (You can apply this philosophy to drawers, too!)
Once your station is built, let them get busy and have fun! When kids get inspired and fly into “the zone,” it’s definitely a magical moment in the life of a parent. When they have all they need, nothing will hold them back!