Thursday, April 25, 2013

Getting the Kids Making


A reoccurring theme that people will find in my blog is the importance of working with kids and inspiring them to get into making. Well today I want to tell you about two companies that are making great leaps forward in helping kids get into making and become more independent people.

The first, PiggyBackr, is a crowd funding site much like Kickstarter, except it focuses on kids. It is a completely kid-friendly open crowd funding site where kids, as long as they are over 13 or have parent’s supervision, can put up any kind of project they have and get funding for it. I have already talked about the great possibilities of crowd funding sites in the Maker Movement, but let’s re-cap. Crowd funding allows people from all over the world to put their ideas out to the world and the world to decide whether they think it is a good idea or not by investing. This gives anybody the potential to create a groundbreaking new company.

 The one problem I have found with PiggyBackr is that it is mainly directed at school athletic teams and individual advancement, like scholarships.  I believe that those are still excellent uses of the crowd funding platform, but I believe that the true potential lies with kid makers. Now whenever kids have an idea to build a go-cart, or a tree-house, or any other project that the incredibly creative minds of kids can come up with, and they can’t do it because of money problems, they can go onto PiggyBackr, and raise the money themselves, teaching them a lot about technology and economics. Most importantly though, it shows them that in this day and age, we are at the perfect perch to gain whatever we need to make even our most spectacularly impossible ideas reality. We need to create an environment where kids will keep that ingenious and creative way of thinking into adulthood, so that we will have technological advances far surpassing the ones that we have already made.

The second company is run in Boston by a MIT graduate, Henry Hough, called Einstein’s Workshop. This initially was a FIRST LEGO League team run by Hough, but quickly grew and transformed into a full time Makerspace for people of all ages. The Makerspace runs camps that vary from 3D-Printing jewelry, to FIRST Robotics Teams, to how to use redstone in Minecraft. These classes are open to a wide range of ages and have multiple spin offs for lower and higher complexity for different age and skill sets. The goal is to have an environment where kids of all ages are working and learning together, and being inspired by each other to keep working forward and learning more.

Kids are the future. They are the future bloggers, presidents, inventors, writers, artists, poets, workshop creators, everything. Whatever we do in life, we need to make sure we leave a great legacy for our kids to follow in, and give them the tools and the mind set to change the world. We need to leave the earth as a stage, set for whatever their great imaginations can come up with. Nothing is impossible; it just hasn’t been done yet. They will have great problems to face, but so do we. Each time we make a step towards equality, unity and peace, we are creating a better platform for our kids to build a new world. This new world is the stepping stone for the next generation, and on goes the human races ascent into new ideas that we cannot even comprehend.  Yes, kids are the future, but our kids are nothing without all of us supporting them every step of the way.