As people start to think about getting involved with the Make Health Fest, we are hearing a lot of three questions in particular.
1) What is a maker fest or maker faire?
2) If I want to have a booth, I’m supposed to have a Make & Take? What does that mean?
3) I’m a geek / tinker / hacker from way back, and I’d like to be involved, but I’m not sure if what I do connects with health enough to qualify. What do you mean, “relates to health”?
Part of the confusion with the phrase “Make and Take” might be that the phrase means one thing to folk in the maker community and something else to the world at large. After all, this is summer, and there are potlucks and backyard picnics galore! I picked up a magazine called “Make & Take” that was all about recipes for cooking for potlucks and picnics. You make the food, and then you take it to the party! Or the other “Make & Take” is planning for road trips with the kids — make games or guides or handouts to take for entertaining the kids in the family car while you drive somewhere on vacation, or for teachers or homeschooling. This is a little different.
What makes a maker event so very different from the usual science fair or health fair or vendor exhibit is the actual MAKING. Booths and demos and speakers all are not just saying, “I can do something cool,” or “I have information to share with you,” but rather, “Can I show you how to do this cool thing? Come here and try it yourself!” I always wish I had a month at each Maker Faire instead of an afternoon! I want to learn how to do everything!
The idea of “Make and Take” is to, (1), have something at the booth that people do with their own hands, beyond showing them how, and (2) have something they can take away with them. Ideally, the part they take away is something they actually made, but to be honest, that’s an ideal that is rarely achieved. Usually, people in the booths do a demo and give away a sample; or they give a handout on how to do what they showed you. Often, they’ll let you practice making something at the event, but you may or may not be able to take it with you. Here are some examples of “Make and Take” activities from other fairs and fests, and then I’ll share some examples of health-themed make and take ideas. Feel free to adopt one for our fest if you want, but even better, come up with your own idea!
Level one is to have something people can take away. That’s pretty easy, and most everyone can come up with examples: pins, buttons, stickers, labels, bookmarks, patterns, resource lists, stories, web links, open source code repositories, free apps to download later, free samples, how to and DIY guide sheets, … Remember! At the “take” level of “make & take” you really need to combine it with a live demo at the very least.
MAKE OR DO
Most of the examples I have are of “Make” or “Do” types of activities. That is the real focus in maker events. These are examples from maker events that were not focused on health, so think of them more as inspiration rather than direct models for what you might do.
Learning models and toys, games to play that teach concepts or build skills, art and design both to create new things and also relieve stress.
Skills building, stress relief, practical applications, comfort, building or designing your own tools.
Starting with LEGOs might seem frivolous, but it isn’t. Recently a high school student built a Braille printer out of LEGOs! Let kids start with various materials that appeal to them, and who knows what they’ll come up with! Let them test out using new tech and imaging uses for it. For the laser light show, the kids interacted with the system to make the show do what they wanted. Real hands on experience builds both skills and interest.
Sometimes it just isn’t practical to let folk take what they made with them, or the set up is complicated, messy, requires fancy equipment (like the weaving loom above), you don’t have very many (like the electronic musical instruments in the middle picture), or is costly (supplying every kid who walks in with all the LEGOs they want? Yeah, sure).
Skills building. Say that three times. Training kits, tutorials, hands-on, basic skills.
MAKE AND TAKE
The “Make and Takes” where you actually get to make something and take it with you? That is totally the coolest, if you can manage it. Maybe you make part of it ahead of time (decorating cookies, anyone?). Or connect something people make (paper airplane) with something they do (turbo charged take-off!) and then let folk take the paper airplane with them. Or print off a paper model pattern and walk them through making one. Or do a demo of sustainable gardening, and let them have a taste of a salad with the same type of plants, or give them seeds to take home. You get the idea.
HEALTH MAKE & TAKES
Those were all examples of “Make and Takes” from Maker Faires usually more generally focused on science and technology. We were brainstorming ideas for “Make and Takes” more along the idea of health, and realized many of the same ideas work. Sustainable gardening connects with a lot of public health issues — diet, nutrition, food deserts, green living, etc. We took our ideas and clustered them into ideas that are clearly and explicitly medical in nature as well as things made with easy-to-find ingredients from around normal homes and schools. Then someone had the great idea of a Fix-It Booth for folk who want to tweak or repair their own medical devices at home (crutches, hearing aids, jar grippers, etc.). We don’t know which of these will happen, if any, because we’re still gathering volunteers, speakers, presenters, and so forth. But if you want inspiration for ideas for a booth, here are some that might give you ideas.
* Bee-safe wasp catcher
* DIY lip gloss
* DIY lotion
* Duct Tape for Health
* First Aid Kit Supplies
* Fruit fly catcher
* Home Cleansers & the Microbiome
* Kitchen herb garden
* Mechanical Paper Hand
* MEDIKit (Medical Education Design and Invention Kit)
* Melon Brain
* Miura Battery Fold
* Neck Pillow
* Origami DNA
* Origami Microcrope
* Radish Rose
* Seed bombs
* Superglue Uses for Health
* Vegetable flowers
* Wine bottle garden
* Wrist brace/splint
Want more ideas? Here are some of the sources that inspired us.
Cari Young: Library Makerspace ideas on Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/cari_young/library-makerspaces/
Franklin Institute: Science DIY: http://www.pinterest.com/TheFranklin/science-diy/
Little Devices: 7 DIY Medical Technologies You Can Build At Home: http://littledevices.org/research/7-diy-medical-technologies-you-can-build-at-home/
Naked Scientists: Kitchen Science: http://www.thenakedscientists.com/HTML/content/kitchenscience/
Pakistan Science Club: http://www.paksc.org/pk/diy-projects