Hacker Scouts Starting Up!

Back in March I wrote about the idea of a Hacker Scouts program addressing the needs of a progressive maker community and how my husband and I shared an attraction to joining or developing a structured program of helping our children develop skills in the areas they are truly interested in, abilities that would allow them to dream big and create big. Well, we have been working hard all summer to design a Hacker Scouts program at Ace Monster Toys, a hackerspace in Oakland, CA that would fulfill our aspirations. Our program is based on how children learn through various developmental and educational theories as well as a desire we see in the Maker culture for community and family inclusiveness. The idea is this: Twice a month we will hold open labs where we will have experts/mentors available to help kids with any project they bring in. There will also be a featured project that a whole workshop is built around that specifically targets skill building. In addition, there will be a menu of kits/activities that are available for kids that focus on a variety of interests, skills, and ways of learning. The structure has a method- it creates consistency and the opportunity for mentoring and improvement, the provided activities and featured workshops are designed to teach to multiple learning styles, and the program is inclusive and adaptable. Kids can earn badges or not for their skill building, and they can come every week or once in a while. Here is the info:

Ace Monster Toys presents

Hacker Scouts

Got a Maker kind of kid?

Traditional kind of scouting not a good fit?

Want to Build community with other maker families?

Hacker Scouts is a new program designed to acquire new skills, reinforce knowledge, provide mentoring, and build community.

Join us for Open Lab and bring your own project, or work on one provided by AMT! Earn badges and skill build through specific mentor-led workshops! Workshops planned include:soldering, sewing, circuits, programming, engineering and building, leds, dumpster diving and found art, printmaking, and more!

We know age is just a number, but AMT will be targeting projects in the 8-14 year old range.

This is not a drop-off program. Parents must stay and are welcome to participate. This is a free program, though some workshops require a materials fee, and donations to the space are always welcome. RSVP’s are helpful, though not required.

Hacker Scouts Open Lab

1st and 3rd Sundays of the month


@ Ace Monster Toys

6050 Lowell Street, Suite 214 in Oakland, California

For more information and questions:




This program was designed and will be facilitated by Chris Cook, who has several decades of tech and building experience, and Samantha Matalone Cook, who has an MA in Education as well as two decades of experience in educational programming, outreach, and the arts. A dedicated Maker family, they homeschool their three kids in Oakland, CA. They will be joined by a variety of experts and mentors from the community to ensure a well rounded and high level of attention and skill building.

September 2nd, 2012:

Open lab: Bring your own projects and get help from building, techy and sewing experts!

Featured Project: Biospheres ($8)

Make your own self-sustaining biosphere and learn how this amazing ecosystem works!

Other Available Projects (materials fee):

Learn to Solder Kit ($16): Soldering skills rusty or non-existent? This deluxe version of the Solder Practice kit comes with 30W soldering iron and wire cutters. Builds a flashing European-style-siren. Lead-free solder included.

Drawdio! Kit ($14): Drawdio is an electronic pencil that lets you make music while you draw! It's great project for beginners: An easy soldering kit with instant gratification. Essentially, its a very simple musical synthesizer that uses the conductive properties of pencil graphite to create different sounds. The result is a fun toy that lets you draw musical instruments on any piece of paper.

Laser Cut Dino Model Kit (Free): With pre-designed CAD plans, use the laser cutter to make the pieces of a model that you can assemble and paint yourself!

Sewing 101:Plushy Kit ($3.50): Use a provided pattern or make your own to create a one-of-a-kind plush monster, blockhead, amoeba, etc on the sewing machine. Excellent way to build sewing skills!

Kinetic Mobile Sculpture Kit (Free): Mobiles are a kind of kinetic sculpture that are based on the principle of equilibrium to produce works of art that showcase the beauty and harmony between design and movement. Many artists, most famously Alexander Calder, have explored the challenge and excitement of kinetic art- create your own mobile out of wire and a variety of objects!

Materials Fee Note: We are providing the Hacker Scouts program free of cost. All materials fees are based on cost for us, and are due at the time of selection. Thanks!

Upcoming: September 16th, 2012:

Featured project: Hydraulic Robot Arm

This post was originally published at burninggnome.com on 8/28/2012