To keep the spirit of entrepreneurship and the beauty of art flowing through St. Louis for years to come, it’s important to inspire even the youngest of minds. By giving them the space, the tools and the freedom to create, kids are energized to turn the ideas in their heads into something incredible they can hold in their hands.
This summer, thanks to a collaborative effort between The Magic House, Cortex Innovative Community and MADE STL, St. Louis’ favorite children’s museum will open a kid-focused makerspace in the heart of the city. At The Magic House @ MADE, older kids will have the opportunity to build on an idea they’re passionate about or discover the spark to create something new.
A tech-driven approach to hands-on learning
Beginning this March, The Magic House will start installing a 7,000-square-foot satellite location on the second floor of MADE, a dedicated workspace for area Makers, Artists, Designers, and Entrepreneurs.
Many of the exhibits kids will come across at The Magic House @ MADE expand on the adventures they’ve experienced at the museum’s headquarters. However, they’ll more closely mirror the work going on a floor below where innovators and entrepreneurs employ cutting-edge technology and collaboration to bring their ideas to market.
According to Beth Fitzgerald, Magic House president, the goal of The Magic House @ MADE is to develop a makerspace that allows for innovation at any age. “The Magic House and MADE would like to see a continuum of makers starting in kindergarten up through retirement age. MADE is going to start working with young people in high school, and we’ll focus on middle and elementary school students.”
The Magic House @ MADE will feature four separate areas which align with the mission of MADE. There will be a large makers’ workshop, an artist’s studio and a design space. Plus, an entrepreneurial exhibit will offer young inventors and artists from across St. Louis the chance to showcase their work to the public.
To give kids a true sense of the maker experience, The Magic House @ MADE will be stocked with high-tech tools geared toward young innovators. For instance, kids will get basic coding experience by using Tinkercad software to design CAD models, which can be transformed into tangible objects via a 3-D printer. Or, they can use a laser cutter to interface with technology and shape different materials into a creation of their own.
“We want to make sure this is a real hands-on experience for children where they’re working with real tools and real objects, making real things,” said Fitzgerald. “But we also want to make sure we’re giving kids the opportunity to delve into the technology they’re interested in. Even though we’re calling this a makerspace, it’s going to have plenty of traditional learning experiences integrated into it.”
In addition to drop-in exploration, The Magic House @ MADE will offer STEAM-related camps beginning in mid- to late-June and programming space for field trips, afterschool workshops, and birthday parties.
Admission to the space will be $5 per person, but The Magic House is working with area organizations and schools to ensure any child with financial constraints can access the facility at no cost to their families.
To stay on top of the latest developments at The Magic House @ MADE, be sure to visit The Magic House website.
Metro East mom Nicole Plegge is the lifestyle and pop culture blogger for STL Parent. Besides working as a freelance writer & public relations specialist, and raising two daughters and a husband, Nicole's greatest achievements are finding her misplaced car keys each day and managing to leave the house in a stain-free shirt. Her biggest regret is never being accepted to the Eastland School for Girls. Follow Nicole on Twitter @STLWriterinIL
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