About a year ago we had a really fun family day out at the Manchester Mini Maker Faire, and decided pretty much as we left that we should definitely go back this year. The date has been in our calendar for a number of months, but unfortunately at the last minute the geekdaddy discovered he had another commitment the same weekend and couldn’t go. I had to make the decision as to whether to try to drag both kids around on my own or to sit it out. Although I prefer the comfort of the 1:1 parent:child ratio when we’re out and about I decided to give it a go. Having been last year and therefore knowing the venue I was more confident that I’d be able to cope with the kids, and of course they are both a year older, wiser and more sensible than they were then. The Manchester Mini Maker Faire is held at the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI), which is a very family-friendly venue, with a nice restaurant to have lunch in and plenty of attractions of its own to look at if the kids get board with the Faire. As an added bonus some very good friends of ours decided to come along for the day which improved the parent:child ratio and made the whole thing more fun.
And I’m glad we went. We had a great time. The 2014 Manchester Mini Maker Faire again proved to be a great family day out, with opportunities all over the place for the kids to get their hands on stuff that had been made. From amazing meccano constructions to 3D printers to a whole town made out of paper to having a go at soldering to simple colouring and cutting. We arrived at about 10.30 in the morning and found there was plenty to do to occupy us for the entire day. The kids behaved well, it was lovely to meet up with my friends, and we left happy.
Here are some photos of what we got up to. First of all the kids learnt about generating electricity, with a model made from Meccano:
We saw a giant cyclist:
And, whilst we’re talking about giant things, the geekdaughter got to try her hand at a life-sized version of the popular kids’ game “Operation”:
It was a slightly freaky to watch my six year old performing what looked like medical extractions on a life-sized model, I can tell you, but she loved it!
Then we tested out the “Naughty or Nice machine” – it scans your hand and can tell how naughty (or nice) you are. Apparently I am 54% naughty but the geekdaughter is only 32%. That can’t be right, surely?!
We met a robot:
The kids got hands on with some fun stuff:
(that’s the geekson playing with the “Useless Machine” – more about that later).
We saw some cool stuff, like an old ZX Spectrum wired up to use an Android tablet as its display:
… and the rather fabulous, fully operational Clanger organ:
And the kids got to try making their own things too – building, colouring and cutting:
And my final photo is unfortunately out of focus, but I have included it because it captures the amount of fun my kids had at the Maker Faire:
So that was our day. Great fun, and I definitely intend to head back again next year. Hopefully the geekdaddy will be able to come along with us then too!
I’ll leave you with a short video of the “Useless Machine” that I mentioned earlier. I saw this at last year’s Faire as well, and I think it’s a lovely piece of engineering:
If you want your own Useless Machine you can buy the kit to make one from MSRaynsford.co.uk.