Making History: Innovators’ Playground at the 2015 Maker Faire Atlanta

Imagination Playground BlocksLast year, The Children’s School made history. With Maker Faire Atlanta’s partnership and support, we became the first school in the history of such events around the world to offer a mini-Maker Faire exclusively for elementary-aged children. Called Innovators’ Playground, we offered opportunities ranging from making your own play-doh, tin can robots, 3D printing, mobile apps, scribble machines, to a service learning partnership with the Veterans Empowerment Organization and United Way, and more. Our idea was simple and straightforward: As a community dedicated to young children and in the belief that our students learn by doing, we brought families, schools, and businesses together.

Over 30,000 people experienced Maker Faire Atlanta and Innovators’ Playground last year. This year will be bigger. The Maker Faire Leadership Team is already expecting upwards of 45,000 people over two days, October 3-4! The Children’s School has been allotted three times the space; the Decatur High School gymnasium will be transformed into the Innovators’ Playground. Other schools such as Woodward, Howard, and Atlanta Girls School, and businesses like IKEA, Acuity, Zoo Atlanta, Jason’s Deli, Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA), have signed on as sponsors to bring our shared vision to even more families with young makers. To date, Innovators’ Playground has attracted over $35,000 in cash and in-kind sponsorships!

Making MusicTin Can Robots

Innovation has become an overused word in every facet of modern-day life. Every institution claims to develop innovators and further an innovative process and outcome. At The Children’s School, our focus has always remained on young children and making an impact on their life’s journey today. We know that play is at the foundation of childhood; all skills related to innovation are naturally, inherently present in children playing. We also know that innovation requires a creative and collaborative attitude and ethic. Most importantly, innovation demands curiosity and risk-taking. Children embody all of these attitudes and, in a playful way, launch into an activity or project with gusto!

A maker faire fosters these skills; they also bring families together. When the virtual world is dominating more and more of what little spare time we enjoy, such events ensure that families spend more time outside and in each other’s company. I still remember one parent’s comment last year. After spending a couple hours with his 8 year-old daughter at Innovators’ Playground, this father came up to me to congratulate us and said, “Nishant, this is amazing! It isn’t just fun for my daughter; it’s a lot of fun for me too!”

I agree with him. I hope you will join us again or for the first time at Innovators’ Playground this October 3 and 4 in downtown Decatur. I promise you a weekend of fun making and creating memories with your child.