Finding Makerspaces and Activities
Here are some ideas on where to find a makerspace in your community. Visit an organization’s website to learn more and get specific details about programs, costs, and hours of operation.
- Freestanding Makerspaces: I have compiled a list in the next section that includes a blend of non-profit and for-profit makerspaces that welcome kids. And it’s not only about building: one Boston-area makerspace has ham radio and space science courses, while another offers board game design.
- Libraries: See if your library or surrounding libraries have makerspaces. These facilities are free for patrons to use, and many have open lab hours when you can come in and use the equipment! Here are a few examples in Massachusetts: Springfield City Library, Newton Free Library, Goodnow Library, and Peabody Institute Library.
- Museums: Children’s and science museums are also great places to find hands-on STEAM activities. Consider the Boston Children’s Museum, Children’s Museum Easton, Discovery Museum in Acton, and many of the science museums in Massachusetts.
- Maker Camp: Maker Camp on Make Community is a free, 6-week online program providing resources (project ideas & step-by-step instructions, inspiration, materials, and community) to summer camp leaders and young makers interested in DIY, making, creating, crafting, hacking, tinkering, and learning. Visit the FAQ page to learn how to find a maker camp near you or get information about hosting a camp yourself. Families and neighborhood groups are welcome to start their own camp!
Makerspaces for Kids in Massachusetts
The list below includes freestanding makerspaces that welcome kids and/or have student-specific programs and activities.
|Artisan’s Asylum||Allston-Brighton||Artisan’s Asylum is a 52,000 square foot community wonderland. Their mission as an inclusive, not-for-profit community workshop is to advance the learning, practice and culture of do-it yourself (“DIY”) fabrication.||Artisan’s Asylum is ready for the next generation of creative thinkers to join their teen programs. Offering virtual and hands-on experiences guided by engineers and fabrication experts, teens will learn and apply electronic, engineering, 3D modeling, art, and/or construction skills.|
|Guild Hall – Educational Makerspace||Woburn||Guild Hall is an educational focused makerspace focused on helping teens discover their passion for making in anything from VR, game dev, robotics, custom furniture, illustration, design, and more! They have a full shop equipped with the latest professional tools, guided by knowledgeable, passionate teachers and mentors to help students grow in any area they choose.||At Guild Hall young learners explore coding, robotics, art, and more using professional tools in an educational focused makerspace environment. Children and teens learn to solve problems, express themselves, and create their vision using the latest technologies from VR to 3D Printing, Robotics to 3D Design, and much more.|
|HATCH||Watertown||HATCH is an entirely free public makerspace run by the Watertown Free Public Library. The workshop provides space, tools, equipment and materials and offers open hours (no appointment needed) and classes for older children and adults (pre-registration required).||Activities include robotics, crafts, 3D modeling, Arduino, sewing and more.|
|Make-It Springfield||Springfield||Make-It Springfield provides space, tools, and vision, especially for low- and moderate-income individuals and families, to explore and work on creative projects. Make-It Springfield provides a multicultural home that invites creativity, invention, and artistic experimentation through dialogue, collaboration, and the sharing of skills and ideas.||They offer workshops, support for creatives, and special programs for all ages.|
|New England Sci-Tech||Natick||New England Sci-Tech is a non-profit STEM+ education center and makerspace dedicated to project-based, hands-on learning for youth and families across the New England community.||Offerings include space science, rocketry, ham radio, electronics, robotics, photography, astronomy, coding, computers, 3D design, woodworking, leather craft, and more. Programming includes Scouts, homeschool, public telescope nights, birthday parties, and Youth Inventors Workshop.|
|Parts and Crafts||Somerville||Parts and Crafts is a 501(c)3 educational nonprofit that focuses on child-directed, hands-on STEM/STEAM learning through making, doing, and taking things apart! Students also play games, write stories, and run around outside.||The organization runs summer & vacation camps, a homeschool resource center and afterschool program for kids aged 7-13.|
|Technocopia||Worcester||Technocopia is a non-profit makerspace offering common workspace, rental bays, and a variety of tools for artisans to create and work with.||Family memberships and some tools are accessible to teens (13+) provided they are accompanied by someone over 18. These include glass flameworking, 3D printing, vinyl cutter, and textiles shops.|
|The Clubhouse||Roxbury||The Clubhouse supports youth in developing their passions through projects, workshops, and STEAM activities, while providing a safe space for the exploration of a wide variety of creative technologies.||The drop-in format allows members the flexibility to pursue their own work in a way that matches their schedules. Students can get access to the latest technology, including a 3D printer, a professional music studio, digital cameras, Pro Tools, Logic, Sculptris, Adobe, and more.|
|Tinkerhaus||Newburyport||Tinkerhaus Community Makerspace is a non-profit, all ages makerspace.||Tinkerhaus has a woodworking shop, a mini fablab, an art classroom, a sewing studio, a mini-makers space, outdoor programs, after school art classes and summer weeklong classes.|
Editor’s Note: Originally published in May 2017.