Windsor Public Library took a note from Linda Braun’s Technology Workshop in Barre last summer, and planned an informal hacker/maker space for kids. Sarah Tufts wanted “a place where a kid could feel free to break something apart and not worry about getting in trouble.” She put the word out and collected fans, toasters, a paper shredder, a lamp, a hot plate, an alarm clock, and old zip drives. The library decided not to accept cell phones, computers, with concerns about what the batteries might contain.
We used basic tools (screw drivers – all sizes, wrenches, pliers, wire cutters, flashlights, and ONE hammer). The hammer didn’t really get used until the very end, and probably shouldn’t have been used at all.
I thought about safety glasses, but only had 2 so didn’t bother. They might have come in handy when one kid took a hammer to the glass door of the toaster oven while trying to pry off the handle. The shattering sound surprised everyone; thank goodness for safety glass:)
There were 2 rules:
1. No plugging anything in EVER before, during, or after the program. Recommended: cut electrical cords cut off before the program.
2. All screws, nuts, bolts, etc. get put on a long strip of tape as soon as they are removed from the appliance. This was in case kids wanted to try to reassemble the piece, but mostly so that all those tiny pieces didn’t get lost – so easily camouflaged in our rug.
The Library had David Macaulay’s “The Way Things Work” on hand and also googled images when the book didn’t answer questions.
Total success and an expanded audience including dads.