Sharing: You Don’t Need a Makerspace to Have a Space for Makers

You Don’t Need a Makerspace to Have a Space for Makers | John Spencer

When I was a kid, my brother and I built a “roller coaster” in the backyard with a wagon, some scraps of wood, and tons of pipes. Was it safe? Probably not. Did it ever work properly? Not really. But it didn’t matter. We were makers.

In the fourth grade, I wrote my first “novel.” It was a derivative mess with flat characters and a predictable plot. I’m pretty sure I based it on what I’d seen on Scooby Doo. But it didn’t matter. I was a maker.

We created our own “music studio,” where we recorded sounds on layers of tapes to create our own beats. We made our instruments with rubber bands and buckets and anything else we could find that sounded cool. Did it sound any good? Probably not. But it didn’t matter. We were makers.

That was my childhood. Whether we were designing baseball stadiums, building structures or writing stories, we spent hours making stuff. We were designing, tinkering, building, tweaking. We were makers.

But here’s the thing: we didn’t need a maker space to make it happen. All we needed was a little freedom, some encouragement, and a few random supplies. And time. Tons and tons of time.

I grew up during the gas crisis of the late 70s, early 80s, and lived 10 miles from town. One thing we had was time. The other thing we had was freedom. I remember building furniture from scraps that we found. Exploring the woods for hours on end. Building forts in the woods. It was a great way to grow up, our makerspace was the shop, or the basement, or the woods.

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