Makerspaces:

How can I create a space for children to make stories?

Have you ever considered creating a makerspace in your classroom, library, museum or home? If so, we would like to inspire you with a few construction maker space examples and simple tips to help you get started. These spaces will provide children with an opportunity to explore and tinker with materials. And when given time for children to explore, stories begin to emerge! To begin planning your StoryMaker space, we recommend following the “Golden Circle” Model created by Simon Sinek. This is a simple, but powerful model for how leaders inspire action.

First, begin with the “why?” Why do you want to create this space? Yes, we want children to make stories, but why should this space matter to your children? Do you want to inspire them in imagining more detailed settings, creative characters or even actions in their stories?

Our “why”: We wanted to give children opportunities to imagine making characters so they could begin to play, make and share their stories.

 

Next, focus on the “How?” This next step in your planning focuses on the process. Plan general materials you will need to gather to help you accomplish your why and purpose. Here are a few tips to make your space successful.

  • Provide attachments. Children need tools to help them make. Attachments such as tape, brass fasteners, and twine are some easy to use examples to help them make the pieces they imagine connecting together.

 

  • Provide loose parts. If your goal is to help children imagine characters, begin collecting objects in a variety of lengths and textures that could help inspire parts of a body. Anything can be a loose part and the best part is that they are usually free!

 

  • Provide a welcoming and neutral space. We want what the children make to be the focus and color in the area. Therefore, provide natural colored tablecloths or even placements to help the maker space feel special and important.

Placemats and pieces of cork not only provide a neutral and welcoming space for children to play and make, but they also help them create in a specific area. This might be helpful if you have many children visiting the space or if a child prefers their own space to focus and make their stories.

 

Finally, plan the “what?” What specific space will you transform and what specific materials will you provide? We chose to create a construction space in this public library. If it was a classroom space, we would provide this example as a way to expand or transform your building area to match a theme or inspire new building. We needed loose parts so children could make gears on robots, arms for people, heads for animals or to support them in playing and making whatever character they imagined. Attachments were essential so the loose parts they used could stay together and eliminate some frustration from the maker. See the specific materials we chose below in the captions. The possibilities are endless! Finally, we chose Not A Box by Antoinette Portis to place in the maker space to inspire children in making different characters to help them imagine stories to share.

Attachments – An inexpensive party tray holds beginning attachment tools. Twine clothespins, tape and brass fasteners allow children to attach pieces together and explore how they work.

Loose parts – We collected corks, tops from orange juice containers and applesauce pouches, paper towel and toilet paper tubes.

 

We have found that just as successful business leaders plan from the inside out, you too will find success and your children will become StoryMakers and thrive in these inspiring spaces.

Emi explores the tape and attaches clothespins together to begin making the character she imagines in her mind. “A girl wearing a dress.”

Happy StoryMaking!