Buffalo’s Mini Maker Faire, a fun family-friendly event

Take It Apart at Buffalo's Museum of Science
“Take It Apart” allowed kids to take apart old electronics with a screwdriver at Saturday’s Mini Maker Faire at Buffalo’s Museum of Science.

Yesterday, I attended Buffalo’s Mini Maker Faire at the Buffalo Museum of Science. I sort of knew the idea behind it – bringing together people with different skills and interests to show how they make stuff by hand (as opposed to mass produced) – but other than that, I was not sure what to expect.

This turned out to be a great event for families, as there were plenty of fun and simple hands-on activities for kids to do; from learning (and playing with) wooden cars powered by simple electric motors to “Take It Apart” which gave kids a screw driver and some old electronics and let them take it apart (under supervision). One parent remarked what a simple idea and one that you could do at home with that old VCR. The kids there certainly seemed engrossed in the activity.

toothpick model replica of the USS Nimitz
A model replica of the USS Nimitz made entirely out of toothpicks on display at Saturday’s Maker Faire in Buffalo.

Attendees could also learn to solder and make a flashing button using a simple kit and guidance from members of Buffalo Lab.  They also had snap circuit kits that allowed children to create and learn about electronics by configuring the kits in different ways in order to ring a doorbell or shoot a plastic toy propeller up in the air.

Also on hand, demonstrations of  glass “shaping” working with a torch and glass, experimenting with sound with “Beeker Blender the Circuit Bender” who configured old toys and electronics to make new sounds and noises and “Toothpick World,” a man who built replicas of famous buildings and even an aircraft carrier with working lights made entirely out of tooth picks.

Kid's coding with Girl Develop It
Children learning to code HTML with Elena Moiseeva, founder of the Buffalo Chapter of Girl Develop It at Saturday’s Buffalo Mini Maker Faire.

On the third floor, attendees could make their own terrariums to take home using recycled materials and Sara Johnson of Sylvatica Shop, displayed terrariums made out fishbowls, a working glass lamp and other up-cycled and reused glassware. She holds workshops and can create pre-made terrariums, custom orders and living arrangements and terrarium centerpieces for weddings and special events. Visit her Facebook shop’s page at https://www.facebook.com/sylvaticashop.

 

Girl Develop It Buffalo was also on hand teaching kids some simple HTML coding and showing their results on a projector screen.

Terrarium  in large glass jar
One of Sara Johnson’s Terrarium on display at Saturday’s Buffalo Mini Maker Faire.

Hopefully this will be a yearly event. The parking lot was packed when I arrived and it was pretty crowded, but not unpleasantly so, especially since I went later on in the day. You can read more about the event at http://makerfairebuffalo.com/.