Fanwood library hosts maker day

 Joshua plays the banana piano, one of his favorite activities from the day.
Joshua plays the banana piano, one of his favorite activities from the day.

FANWOOD, NJ — Mandy Richards, the adult/teen services librarian at the Fanwood Library ran the weekly maker day on April 11. She lives in Garwood and loves working with the Fanwood community. She’s excited to join the movement of maker days in the library.

The library began hosting a weekly maker day just this year, and patrons ages six and older are invited to attend. They are encouraged to create and learn in an educational environment. Soon, the activities will be aimed to attract an older crowd.

“We have a small budget, but we wanted to join the trend of hosting maker days once a week. This summer we will start including more activities for preteens and teens,” said Richards. “It will be part of the summer reading program.”

On April 11, three children, all from Fanwood and 10 years of age, attended the maker day. Zoe and Ian Hopkins, fraternal twins in fourth grade at School One Elementary, and classmate Joshua Madarasz, enjoyed the hourlong event. They used their creativity to build Lego structures in addition to a snap circuit. There was also a special Makey Makey kit that made it possible for an electric circuit to travel from the body, through bananas and into the wires plugged into the computer to create an electric current. On the screen was a piano and the keys corresponded to each banana.

“My favorite activity of the day was the banana piano,” said Joshua. “It’s fun and creative to make a piano from bananas. It’s exotic.”

Some of the more mundane activities left the children feeling uninspired. They felt their creativity was more limited by them, and they weren’t as enthusiastic about them. They also required more work and less play.

“I didn’t like the Legos because some of the pieces weren’t the right ones,” said Zoe. “I liked the banana piano too because it was fun and interesting. I like science.”

The twins and Joshua all agreed that the Legos were their least favorite activity despite spending a lot of time on them in order to build a creation. The possibilities appeared endless as they pulled apart pieces and connected others. First, Ian created a pair of glasses. Then his sister Zoe created a telephone. Joshua built a cloud with a rainbow, but he didn’t have all the colors he needed to complete it.

“I thought some of the Legos didn’t fit properly,” said Ian. “They were loose and wouldn’t stick.”

Zoe recommended the event to her brother and fourth grade classmate, Joshua. They spent the least amount of time with the snap circuit. It required the least creativity.

“I don’t like following directions,” said Joshua. “I like to build my own thing. It was fun when the circuit came on though. The Legos were difficult because some of the pieces I wanted were missing, and I had to start from scratch.”
When the circuit was complete, a small flying object spun into the air. The day concluded and the kids left feeling inspired to build their own creations using their imaginations instead of instructions.