Children as Makers


How do you encourage kids to be curious, to build things and take things apart, and to become the designers and engineers of the future? Be supportive! MAKE has a great short video about children as makers by engineering professor and maker mom AnneMarie Thomas. Her ~7 minute video is well-worth watching.

Thomas says even she struggles to rein in her protective instinct and let her kids explore and experiment. Is it OK to let a kid use a real needle and thread even if he or she gets poked a few times? Is it OK to let a kid dismantle an old microwave or TV set? Through her interviews with adult makers, Thomas found that most explored with tools and techniques that they now consider too dangerous for their own kids.

Check out DIY maker projects suitable for a variety of ages at

Winifred Kehl

Winifred Kehl

Winifred Kehl is a science communicator and museum exhibit designer in Seattle, WA. She is particularly interested in public engagement with science, accessibility and inclusion, and creative educational projects. You can find her online at


Simon /

I wouldn’t let my children dismantle an old microwave! They could sustain serious injuries or even die due to electric shocks. The power unit of an old microwave can potentially store an electric current even if it has been unplugged for some time. Just my initial reaction. Take care!

Winifred Kehl /

I agree – many electronics can be dangerous to dismantle! I thought about including a couple links about safe handling of old electronics but I didn’t want to give the impression that I’m some sort of authority on the subject. In addition to the risk of shock, many electronics, like old TVs and refrigerators, contain hazardous materials.