Touted as a show-and-tell of dreams, Maker Faire Denver—opening at the National Western Complex on October 13, 2018—is a family-friendly showcase of invention, creativity, and resourcefulness. From engineers and scientists to crafters and artists, “makers” will showcase their hobbies, experiments, and projects.
“We’ve got some amazing kids featured and adults that are coming, so it’s a real breadth of the community,” says Dan Griner, executive director of Making Progress, the organization that produces Maker Faire Denver.
Here are 10 booths and activities your family won’t want to miss at this year’s event:
This local children’s charity works to support Denver-area kids in traumatic circumstances—helping them overcome homelessness, medical treatments, and poverty—by providing them with toys. To help raise money for their cause, Collectors Care will be selling limited edition prints of famous droids, made with real circuit boards, as well as superhero masks and capes for photo ops, candy treats, and a Halloween craft to complete.
Mission to Nocterra
This exhibit will feature a pitch black puzzle room, similar to an escape room, but with less pressure and no fear factor. This year’s panic room has an alien theme, and guests must use their senses to “see” without sight. Visitors will be led through five different interactions—archaeology, ecology, chronology, communications, and games—while exploring how aliens communicate, how they mark the passage of time, and more.
This startup out of CU Boulder is dedicated to increasing access to STEM education. Their EdBoard is a circuit building kit designed for elementary-age students to teach the fundamentals of electrical engineering. Their booth will have plenty of boards and components to tinker and play with, and younger kids will be able to learn how to build a basic circuit to light up an LED, while older kids can experiment with photoresistors or transistors.
Enjoy open-ended crafting with a variety of materials from ReCreative’s creative reuse store that sells donated arts and crafts supplies of all kinds like paint, fabric, yarn, wood, and cork.
Meet several full-size remote-controlled R2-D2 droids, one of which was used in the film Fanboys and another that is the only Lucasfilm approved R2 unit in Colorado. (It has even stood in for the real R2 droid at several official events.) The nerd-tastic booth will also have a photo op centered around a Tatooine-style droid parts pile (along with Jawas).
To support their STEM outreach, Corellian Droidworks will feature a standalone transparent astromech dome that people can control to learn how it operates. A power droid (Gonk) on display will demonstrate the power of machine learning, as it can detect objects in its view and vocalize what it sees.
Jim Shina, founder of Corellian Droidworks, who also created the lightsaber technology used by Disney in The Force Awakens hopes to have several lightsabers on display demonstrating the unique technology he honed over the last two decades.
Open Form Crochet
Get your craft on at this booth that teaches the basics of crochet and shows how you can use the shapes created in crochet to make just about anything, including dragon puppets. Anne Heerdt, who is manning the booth, will have different types of yarn ready to touch and various crochet samples, such as ribbed stitch, circles, squares, and even 3D. Heerdt says the newest addition this year is a display of items crocheted with plastic bags. Kids can learn how to make plastic bags into crochet materials.
This year, RAFT Colorado will offer a design-centric make-and-take booth geared toward kids, parents, and educators. The activities will challenge attendees to design and build a variety of items (like tweezers, a projectile launcher, and a noise maker) using basic, everyday materials. Visitors to the booth will receive a pocket-size “Maker Mini” pack, which includes everything they need for the project. A versatile activity, kids can complete a challenge in a few minutes or spend the whole day designing creative solutions. The activity is designed with school-age kids in mind, but younger kids can participate with parental support.
Science Made Fun
Get your slime on with Science Made Fun’s booth, where kids will take a hands-on approach to science experiments, learn more about chemical reactions, and take their slime creation home.
Explore a unique educational tool that enables children as young as age three to get a positive, hands-on first experience with computer programming, math, and robotics. Children and teachers build obstacle courses and program the robots to navigate through them.
Founded by award-winning artists and educators Tyler and Monica Aiello, Eurekus designs STEAM and maker experiences for NASA, schools, museums, libraries, colleges, and nonprofits. Their booth at Maker Faire will feature an interactive display with both tinker-time and hands-on takeaway projects like LED lightsabers and astronaut puppets. They will also have a dedicated “Tinker Table” featuring projects created by student and adult makers in their programs.
Need to Know: Maker Faire Denver, October 13-14, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. National Western Complex, 4655 Humboldt St., Denver. Tickets available daily, $15 for age 13 and up, $10 for seniors, $10 for students, $8 for children ages five to 12, free for kids age four and under.