A few days ago a friend of mine asked me for a holiday gift recommendation for her niece and nephew. Typically, I might recommend a book, though my toy store background comes in handy when asked this question too! For this particular friend though I immediately thought of a Makey Makey. What is a Makey Makey you ask? This video is the best explanation!
An invention kit for everyone! We were lucky enough to receive a few of these with our Google Maker Camp supplies at my library this summer and both the kids and the staff fell in love with them. They are easy to use and because they are all about inventing and making even if you’re struggling to make your particular project to work – its all part of the inventing process! They have serious kid appeal. I mean, how silly is it to make a keyboard out of bananas? They also bring in a lot of scientific concepts, most notably circuits. You can also explore music, engineering, photography, gaming, and more. The possibilities are endless!
We used them a few different ways in the library with lots of success. We made play-doh video game controllers, DIY musical instruments, banana keyboards (of course) and the kids got the biggest kick out of the human play/pause button. The set up directions are easy to follow and give you the basics to get started.
I would definitely recommend this for any maker programs in the library or for a great gift for a maker of any age in your life. They aren’t cheap (they run about $50), but with the kit you’re able to make any number of things! I think that these could be a great use of program supply funds or grant funding for librarians. We had 3 Makey Makeys at my library and at most programs we were able to have the kids work in small groups of about 4 kids to a Makey Makey. Ideally, I think working in pairs would be nice if you have the funds to buy several kits. We emphasized taking turns and dividing up the roles of the group when working on a project which helped. The kits do require a computer to use. Luckily, we had a set of laptops available for check out and training, but that’s something to consider if you’re interested in trying these out in your library.
Has anyone else used Makey Makeys or any other type of technology in their Maker programs that they are excited about? I can’t wait to see what new making stuff comes out in 2016!