Three Ways to Experience the Maker Movement with Kids

The maker movement is an extension of the do-it-yourself movement. Encompassing tinkering, inventing, exploring and creating, the maker movement’s focus is on developing creative and innovative processes using raw materials and technology. Maker activities range from spinning wool into yarn, handcrafts, welding and fabricating, 3D printing and computer coding to constructing things from reclaimed materials. Local libraries are beginning to offer maker resources to cardholders, and maker faires, spaces and classes are popping up around the area.

Maker spaces and events are great places for families to exert their creative and expressive muscles together. Three easy ways to involve your family in the maker movement include using a library’s resources, going to a maker space or class, or attending a maker faire.

maker spaces in lake county

Library Maker Spaces in Lake County

Local libraries are rising to the challenge of providing maker spaces and emerging technology for public use. But in many cases, families must be cardholders of that local library in order to utilize it. The following libraries offer maker resources:

Antioch Public Library District
757 N. Main Street, Antioch | (847) 395-0874
A 3D Printer is available for public use here.  Anyone can submit a project online to be printed, provided it meets the library’s published guidelines. The cost to print a project is the current market value of the filament used for the project. The library will contact you when your project is ready to be picked up.

Barrington Area Library
505 N. Northwest Highway, Barrington | (847) 382-1300
MakerLab is open to library cardholders, and includes computers and software, a digital cutting machine, a laser cutter, MakerKits, and a 3D printer.

Cook Memorial Public Library – Cook Park
413 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Libertyville | (847) 362-2330
3D printing classes are offered, which is a requirement for any Cook Memorial Public Library cardholder that wishes to use the library’s 3D printer.

Ela Area Public Library
275 Mohawk Trail, Lake Zurich | (847) 438-3433
Forge is open primarily to library cardholders and District 95 students, and offers use of a 3D printer, sewing machine, vinyl cutter and iMac computers. Kits are also offered for use with Cubelets, a Makey Makey, SparkFun Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Little Bits, Rainbow and Mini Looms, and tools for knitting, crocheting, jewelry making, sewing, and fiber and paper crafting.

Maker Movement, 3D printing

Fremont Public Library
1170 N. Midlothian Road, Mundelein | (847) 566-8702
3D printing is available to library cardholders.

Highland Park Public Library
494 Laurel Avenue, Highland Park | (847) 432-0216
3D printing is available for library cardholders. HPPLmakerkits are also available for check-out by library cardholders for use inside the Digital Media Lab, including a Raspberry Pi, Arduino Inventors Kit, Makey Makey and a PicoBoard.

Harold Washington Library Center, Chicago Public Library
400 S. State St, Chicago | (312) 747-4300
Two creative spaces here are worth the trip. The third floor MakerLab has Open Lab on Wednesdays from 1:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m., and on Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. The MakerLab is equipped with digital design software, 3D printers, laser cutters and electronic cutters. Be sure to also take a tour of YOUMedia, where high school students with Chicago Public Library Cards experience art, digital media, making and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) projects.

Harold Washington Library, Chicago

Maker Spaces and Programs

C & A Robot Factory
344 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Libertyville | (847) 996-0123
Youth and adult classes are offered in 3D design and printing.

District 75 Foundation Innovation Station
470 N. Lake Street, Mundelein
Launched in 2016, the mission of the Innovation Station is to provide hands-on STEAM (science, technology, engineering art and math) learning opportunities for District 75 children and the community. Watch Innovation Station’s Facebook Page for upcoming class announcements.

Mundelein Makers
This group for local residents interested in the maker movement and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) in the Mundelein, Lake County area, has a Facebook presence and hosts occasional events.

2510 Green Bay Road, Evanston | (847) 868-8565
Although not technically defined as a maker space, Hackstudio is a membership-based, opportunity lab where kids work together, learn to set goals and find their creative passions, help others through the process, and develop life skills.

Maker Faire Milwaukee

Tinkering Lab at the Chicago Children’s Museum
700 E. Grand Ave., Chicago | (312) 527-1000
The Tinkering Lab is a maker space for families and children to work together to create. Full of real tools and construction materials, visitors to the Chicago Children’s Museum can make projects here. Younger children can also experience the Early Learning Nook where there are plenty of safe items for children to touch, interact with and explore.

Bit Space Chicago
2541 W. Lawrence Ave, Chicago | (773) 654-1691
This 5,000 square foot facility for children serves as a design and build studio and hosts programs and workshops on subjects such as architecture, technology and tools. Birthday parties, workshops, programs and camps are also offered. Melissa wrote about her experience at Bit Space for Chicago Parent.

Be A Maker Space at the Betty Brinn Children’s Museum
929 E. Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53202 | (414) 390-5437
Be A Maker Space is place for kids to use tools, construct a project and get hands-on with technology.

Maker Faires and Events

Barnes & Noble Mini Maker Faire
Saturday, November 5 and Sunday, November 6, 2016, 12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Hourly demonstrations and workshops. Check the event schedule of the store nearest you.

  • Deerfield, Deerfield Square, 728 North Waukegan Road, Deerfield | (847) 914-9293
  • Deer Park, Deer Park Town Center, 20600 North Rand Road Deer Park | (847) 438-7444
  • Vernon Hills, Hawthorn Mall, 720 Hawthorne Center, Vernon Hills | (847) 247-1157

Chicago Toy & Game Fair
Saturday,  November 19, 2016, 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Sunday, November 20, 2016, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Exhibit Hall A & B, Navy Pier, 600 East Grand Avenue, Chicago
In addition to showcasing new toys and games to the industry, this event has two child- and youth-oriented contests. Contest entries are on display during the Chicago Toy & Game Fair for public viewing. Inspire your family to create and learn from this year’s special competitions:

  • Young Inventor Challenge, Saturday, November 19, 2016
    An opportunity for kids ages 6 to 18 to enter their own original toy and game inventions to industry professionals as part of the Chicago Toy and Game Fair.
  • Young Tech ChallengeSunday, November 20, 2016
    An opportunity for 8-22 year olds to show off their playful technology as part of the Chicago Toy and Game Fair.Maker Faire Milwaukee

Pleasant Prairie Mini Maker Faire
Saturday, November 26, 2016, 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Pleasant Prairie RecPlex Fieldhouse, 9900 Terwall Terrace, Pleasant Prairie, WI
2016 is the inaugural year for this community-based, learning event, which will include interactive exhibits and hands-on, experiential learning opportunities.

Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire
May 2017 – exact date to be announced.
Carl Schurz High School, 3601 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60641 | (773) 534-3420

Palatine Mini Maker Faire
Saturday, May 20, 2017
Quest Academy, 500 N. Benton St., Palatine | (847) 202-8035

Maker Faire Milwaukee
September 2017 – exact date to be announced.
Wisconsin State Fair Park, Wisconsin Expo Center Hall A, 640 S. 84th St, West Allis, WI 53214 * | (414) 266-7000
* If using GPS to arrive, please use this address: 8200 W. Greenfield Ave, West Allis, WI 53214.
This two-day faire encompasses family-friendly events and interactive displays for curious, creative and inventive people of all ages. Exhibitors include inventors, crafters, hobbyists and educators who wish to share their passions with the community. See maker movement innovators firsthand with their products, manufacturing equipment and innovative designs.

Maker Faire Milwaukee

Has your family attended a maker event recently? Tell us which one in the comments section below.


About Jennifer Johnson 52 Articles
Jennifer is mom to a teenage boy and a tween girl, and spends her time changing radio stations in her minivan while driving to band concerts, learning new texting lingo and keeping track of the latest trends in electronics and hairstyles. Jennifer spends any free time she can find trying to stay organized, testing out new recipes that everyone might eat, reading, crafting or trying to beat her own best score in SpellTower. She also serves as a managing editor at Little Lake County.

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