Beyond the investments in kits such as Makey-Makey or robotics or Lego, the heart of the MakerSpace is in the consumables. The paper cups, tape, cardboard and straws that not only inspire some serious creativity and ‘outside the box’ thinking but also are the great equalizer – accessible to all students and teachers.
We recently gave the Vanier MakerSpace a makeover by restocking some of those consumable items. Although donations, cardboard and packing materials flow through the space throughout the year, sometimes it is just more efficient to stock up on some of the basics.
With visits to several Dollar Stores we invested $300 in additional MakerSpace consumables for our school of 550 K-7 students. This included more large storage containers. Here’s what we chose:
Wooden Pegs: Clip together in all sorts of interesting ways. Take them apart by removing the spring for even more possibilities.
Balloons: An excellent propulsion source.
Toothpicks: What can you build with 100 toothpicks?
Pipe cleaners: Various colours, endless possibilities.
Small Paper Cups: Mini dixie cup size.
Large Plastic Cups: Not just for stacking.
Wooden Stir Sticks: Free. Ever host an event and have a bag of coffee sticks left over? These are a perfect addition to a MakerSpace along with the necessary Popsicle Sticks.
Plastic Stir Sticks: These come in boxes of 500 and are shorter than the wooden ones.
Plastic sandwich picks: In boxes of 100 but these are pointy with a flat top.
Zap Straps: In a variety of sizes
Duct Tape: Rolls are smaller at the Dollar Store but more rolls makes them easier to share.
Twist Ties: Free.
Glue Guns: At $3.50 each these were a good buy. Refills were also purchased in bags of 100. Stored with a powerbars and an extension cord.
Plastic Lids: Free. These are also left over from coffee events.
Yarn: We purchased new balls of yarn. In the past I have picked these up by the bag full at thrift stores along with crochet hooks.
Notions: A variety of beads, needles, thread, pins, buttons, polystyrene balls.
Tie it together: Twine, String and Fishing line.
I also picked up sizeable wood scraps from Home Depot. These are free for the asking.
Old and outdated technology still has some educational life: Take it apart to figure out how it works or design a new creation.
Our school also has a separate art supply storage with many other maker type consumable materials such as glitter, paint, tissue, felt, pom-poms, paper-bags etc. We also have a good selection of Maker Kits, building manipulatives and woodworking tools.
Keeping the materials stocked in the MakerSpace should be an ongoing school-wide project but investing in a variety of consumables a couple of times a year can help keep the space fresh and inviting.