Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Des Moines Mini Maker Faire

We spent Labor Day at the Science Center, checking out the Mini Maker Faire! The outdoor area was free, where people could get food from the food trucks and let their kids splash around. To go inside to check out the fair, we had to pay admission to the Science Center. For two kids and two adults, it was $40 (ouch!).

The first thing we found was a LEGO car building area near the high school robotics teams.We let Oliver play for a while but then reminded him he could play LEGOs at home any time.

Most of the booths would be interesting to adults, as they were showing 3D printers and other gadgets, but it wasn't especially interesting to the kids. Until we found R2D2, that is.

Oliver got to design a project out of wood. This was a regular thing offered by the science center. Oliver loved the chance to use the tools, but the wait was really long (at least 30 minutes).

While Oliver waited to use the "wood shop," Jo and I checked out other displays at the fair. There were adults blowing up balloons and twisting them together, trying to create a stable structure (at least, I'm pretty sure that's what they were trying to do). They had some discarded balloon pieces off the corner, and I noticed a little kid was playing. No one seemed to mind, so I took Jo over. Before I knew what happened, dozens of kids had found the balloons and the station turned into a party place for the kids. They had a blast! I'm certain this was not supposed to be the activity at the station, but it was fun.

We found a drone demo sign and thought of Grandpa Paul.

Jo's an environmental superhero!

While the fair was kind of neat, there just wasn't much for little kids, so we ended up ditching the downstairs fair to go explore the more kid-friendly areas upstairs. Andrew and Oliver found us up there, and the kids had a really, really good time. They got to play with balls, design LEGO cars to race, design a contraption to drop an egg without breaking it, design a LEGO city, and, of course, play with the ball wall.

While the maker fair was a cool idea, it's definitely more for teenagers and adults. I'd take the kids again when they're older, but, for now, we'll probably just stick to going on their special $5 days.

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