KID Museum turned six this week, and like most six year olds I know, we remain full of joy and enthusiasm for what each day brings. Keeping that spark of curiosity and wonder alive has been central to KID’s mission from the start, and it has never been more important than it is now.
I am incredibly proud of the moments of joy we’ve made happen over the past six years: from the grandmother who connected her piñata-making tradition with her grandson’s maker project, to the kid who mastered the power saw she was initially afraid of, and the girl who discovered in designing her own trash-collecting invention, “I can do anything if I just try.”
As we face this next phase of the pandemic, we know we must step up to do more to cultivate these moments of joy, in a winter that will be particularly challenging for teachers and students grappling with covid-related learning loss and virtual fatigue.
Our goal is to activate kids, families, and educators as “makers” — equipped with the agency, resilience, and creativity they need to meet any challenges they may face. Makers are innovators. Makers are problem-solvers. Makers don’t give up. Makers have fun. These are skills and attributes that would benefit every one of us, but we have a particular responsibility to support kids from underserved communities, who stand to benefit the most from our programs.
We at KID Museum leaned into our own maker skills this past spring as we responded to the global pandemic, adapting and innovating to create a suite of virtual programs that provide kids across the economic spectrum with high-impact maker learning. We’re so proud that we have been able to expand our reach over the past several months — bringing these experiences to four times the number of youth expected this summer, with the vast majority from under-resourced communities.
Now is the time to build on these offerings and ensure that kids and educators remain engaged and joyful in learning during a particularly challenging time. We’ve been working hard to meet this need, and we’ve iterated our highly-successful spring and summer programming into a new series of virtual programs and offerings for fall and winter:
- Make it! Live: Beginning next week, we will be offering a wide range of hands-on, virtual workshops for kids of different ages on topics like “Creative Movie-Making” and “Storybook Engineers.”
- Family Experiences: Kicking off last weekend with the Go Green Design Challenge, our free, monthly family experiences give family members the opportunity to create and innovate together.
- Virtual Field Trips: Live, facilitated, and interactive experiences for first through eighth grades, our virtual field trips are designed to get students thinking and making.
- Invent the Future Challenge: For the fourth year running, our multi-session Invent the Future Challenge program asks middle school students to invent a solution to an environmental problem.
We’ll also be celebrating the power of making at this year’s Fête for the Future, where we’re beyond excited to honor three special guests: José Andrés, Yo-Yo Ma and astronaut Pam Melroy. These extraordinary individuals combine creativity, skill, and passion with empathy, and exemplify what it really means to be a maker. (And yes, we will get to enjoy a private musical performance from Yo-Yo Ma!)
Now, more than ever, we need to prepare our kids to be makers: to innovate, adapt, collaborate, persevere, and have empathy for others. In this fast-evolving world, we need to set up the next generation for success. At a time when it’s too easy to feel down, let’s give joy a seat at the table.