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  • Writer's pictureAmy L. Sullivan

My Thoughts on Young Makers

When relatives ask what to buy our youngest for her birthday, my answer is often the same: tape. Scotch tape, masking tape, duct tape, two-sided tape.

A giant box of tape would make our girl giddy. Why tape?

Our girl may only be seven-years-old, but she is a maker. Makers imagine, build, and tinker. Makers create. Examples of our daughter’s making include a floating living area developed for a miniature, plastic duck, batches of “perfume” made from household spices, a variety of elaborate indoor and outdoor fairy traps, and disassembling functioning toys for much needed “parts.”


  Zero staging involved in this photo. This is the workspace of my maker.

Not so long ago, the world viewed makers as nothing more than mess makers, I know this to be true because when I say “the world” I should just say mothers. Fine, I should just say me. I didn’t understand my daughter’s making.

Do you really need that much glitter to shoot out of your fairy trap? Should an entire bottle of chocolate syrup be kept in an arts and crafts box? Do you need all of the floss in the house for your pulley?

But these days, I am trying to see making in a new way. Yes, there is an empty milk carton filled with brightly colored yarn under my girl’s bed, but our daughter isn’t consuming, she’s making, and apparently, making is a thing, and it’s not just a thing, it’s a good thing.

In fact, making is a movement. It’s called the Maker Movement. There are magazine articles, books, and there’s even a national Maker Faire where people come and share their creations. See, makers are the inventors of our day. Do you remember these girls we talked about a few months ago? They are makers.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about what it means to have a tiny inventor in our house, and I’ve been wondering if I encourage my girl’s ingenuity or if maybe, just maybe, I squish it a wee bit.

Therefore, here are three statements I am committing to avoid when it comes to my girl’s making:

  1. Stop making a mess. However, I cannot refrain from saying this if the making involves a large amount of glitter. It’s not possible.

  2. That isn’t going to work. No, my daughter’s outdoor fairy trap did not catch a fairy, but do you know what it caught? A cricket. Really, that little trap caught a cricket. *It should be noted the fairy trap may have been built over a dead cricket.

  3. Stop wasting all of the _____________ (insert word). In my world, the missing word is floss. If I had two words they would be floss and ground cinnamon.

See, it’s not that I mind all of my girl’s creating, but when we invite guests over to our home and all of our spoons are missing, as in not a single spoon to be found, as in we cannot locate eating utensils, I tend to get down on this whole business of making.


But the truth is, I would much rather battle it out about missing spoons, misplaced floss, and messy rooms than try to pry my kid away from the nearest screen. Remind me of that the next time you come over, will you? Oh, and could you bring a few extra spoons?

What about you? Have you heard about the Maker Movement? Do you have a young maker in your home?

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Want more ideas and resources on makers? Take a peek at my new board, Encouraging Young Makers.


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