During a recent Free Family day, we had artist demonstrations, lectures, and folk-art projects for kids. Parents and their children viewed artwork together and learned from artists who create art from the everyday materials that surround them.
During the event, several children who are enrolled in our summertime technology and art camp, Drawing with Robots and Lights, asked the same wide-eyed question: “Are we really going to build robots?” Proudly our staff was able to say yes! It is amazing what you can make with cheap repurposed materials, and yes, a robot can be built from materials you find at the dollar store.
Not only are the kids in this summer camp building robots that create art, but they are gaining an early introduction to the skills of invention. Most importantly, they are learning to mix, match, take apart, and recontextualize materials on hand to make something of their own. These 6- to 10-year-olds have made light paint brushes with LEDs and created drawings using extended exposure photographs, utilized electric toothbrushes to create vibrating drawing robots, attached small micro motors to toothbrush heads for homemade Bristol Bots, and hooked solar lights up to a motor to create “seasonally affected droids.”
The students have approached each day of camp with the same wide-eyed excitement they showed at the Free Family Day before camp began. It is incredibly rewarding to expand the potential of a young, vivid imagination, but it seems best when you can make them see the greater potential in the materials that surround them. These kids transformed everyday objects into something almost magical to them, and in the process, transformed themselves into makers of the marvelous!