Local Gems (Special Edition): 3 Maker Sites

Today, Lindsey shares a special local gems edition, focused on 3 fantastic maker sites:

Though my 10-year-old son likes hockey and baseball, his true passion seems to lie in science and engineering. He's a budding maker, wants to be a robot designer, is often found poring over a book about physics, has a periodic table poster on his wall, loves Minecraft, and delights in home science projects (cue baking soda and vinegar!).

I'm always looking for activities and events to nurture this interest, and have found them surprisingly difficult to identify. I wanted to share three local gems, and would love to hear of any others in the Boston area via the comments below!

1. Einstein's Workshop. This space in Burlington is an engineer's paradise. They have a 3D printer, weekly classes in everything from Mindstorms to Scratch to Minecraft to Math, and a regular drop-in program after school and during holidays. We have only begun to explore their offerings, but my son loves it at Einstein's Workshop. The place is clean, bright, welcoming, and full of evidence that the life of the scientific and engineering mind is a fascinating and fun place.

2. Parts and Crafts. This workshop and playspace in Somerville is another of my son's very favorite places to go. At Parts and Crafts he was finally allowed to use a soldering iron, something he's been asking to do forever (the downside of this is that I think we're going to have one in our house soon). My son has been doing an Introduction to Electronics class and was crushed to miss a recent weekend workshop on 3D Printing. The mood of this place is casual and warm, and my son really enjoys it there.

3. Science on Saturday. Run by the Edgerton Center at MIT, these Saturday events (presentation with demonstrations from 10-11 followed by hands-on exploration at different demo booths) are free and great fun. I think my favorite part of this endeavor is how compelling the MIT students who present are. They are full of passion and energy and are terrific role models. What an opportunity for them -- some undergrads -- to present to an auditorium of a thousand rapt listeners. Whit and I went to the presentation about underwater robotics this weekend and do not plan to miss any others. The next presentation is in March.

Image credit: Einstein's Workshop