The Eugene Public Library hosts events for young kids on Sunday afternoons. A few months back, Eugene Maker Space was invited to host one of these events at EPL. We accepted the offer and on February 3, 2013, six members from EMS went to the library to run the event.
The age group for these events is typically ages 3-7, plus parents of course. We thought that building and launching paper rockets would be a great event for this age group. It's also relatively inexpensive for us to host since we already have two available rocket launchers and the rockets themselves are made from just computer paper and masking tape.
We also brought a few other toys for the attendees to check out and play with. I (Rick) was working the makerbot 3D printer, printing whistles and other objects. It's great to see that both adults and kids as young as a few years old are both interested in seeing how the printer works. James hooked up his hexapod and let the kids control it via laptop. They had a lot of fun making it walk around, dance, etc. Bob brought his Blinkenlights project, which seemed to be an attention getter for sure. Who doesn't love blinking LEDs?
While all of that was going on, Mark and Taper helped teach people how to build the paper rockets. Once the rockets were constructed, the kids could take them over to Bob and Cord who would get the rocket launcher setup. A few strokes of the bicycle pump was enough to send the rocket flying across the room towards the garbage can at the other end. There were a few mishaps of exploding rockets, but a few people managed to hit the targets. All in all, people seemed to have a great time.
It sounds like we will be invited back towards the end of the year when EPL does another round of these Sunday events. We'll have to think up another fun group activity to keep everyone engaged and having a great time. If you didn't make it out this time, definitely consider volunteering next time! It was a lot of fun for the kids, parents, and the volunteers.