Making Doesn’t Have An Age Limit


Making doesn't have an age limit | I'm tired of people implying that makerspaces are only good for (insert age group here). We are all makers, whether we're 8 or 80.

Making Doesn’t Have an Age Limit

“Makerspaces are too complicated for elementary students.  You can only get in depth with middle and high school students”

“High schoolers are too jaded for making.  They’ll roll their eyes at you if you give them LEGOs”

I’ve heard variations of these criticisms so many times.  Placing some kind of age restriction on when students are capable of/will be interested in making seems to be one of the most popular excuses educators have for not even considering creating a Maker environment in their school.

We need to smash the assumption that creativity is tied to a certain age group Click To Tweet

We need to smash these notions and assumptions.  That creativity is tied to a certain age group.  That we outgrow our desire for play.  That young children aren’t capable of serious making.  That adults will never have an interest in expressing themselves.

Diana as a young maker with LEGOs
Me circa 1997

Young Makers

I loved making as a child, though I never thought of myself as a “Maker”, since that wasn’t really a term yet.  I would spend hours building cities out of LEGOs, drawing pictures of made-up stories, building forts with pillows and blankets.  No one told me that I wasn’t old enough or smart enough to do these things, I just did them because I loved them.  As I got older, I found other ways that I enjoyed making, like sewing, knitting, photography and graphic design.  I can spend hours pouring over the layout of my website or planning out my next sewing project.  No one has told me that I’m too old to be creative now.

The Art of the Brick exhibit
The Art of the Brick at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia

Making is Art

Artists are Makers.  Would anyone dare tell Nathan Sawaya, creator of The Art of the Brick, that he’s too old to build with LEGOs?  So why do we assume that our high school students will not be interested in them?  Making and Art are beautifully intertwined, and most would agree that art is not limited to one particular age.  Creating music is making.  Writing a story is making.  Painting a mural is making.  There is so much care and thought and beauty that goes into making something by hand.  How dare we devalue that by saying it should be restrict to a certain age in our lives.

The Greatest Generation
My parents and grandparents

The Greatest Generation were Makers

My grandparents were a part of the Greatest Generation.   They struggled to survive during the Great Depression and lived through the hardships of World War II.  They were Makers by necessity.  Both of my grandmothers sewed and mended, cooked and baked, made toys for their children.  Even when it wasn’t a necessity anymore, I can remember my grandparents taking pleasure in making things.  My paternal grandparents would always make crafts for their church’s craft bazaar.  Nana Irene would sew aprons and create beautiful objects with yarn.  Papa Howell B. would create little dogs out of discarded golf balls he found on the golf course.  He also created his own DIY worm bins to keep his garden healthy.  No one told them they were too old for making.

As the great Dale Dougherty says, “We are born Makers”.  If you’ve never watched the above video before, stop what you’re doing right now and take twelve minutes out of your day to watch it.  He gives an amazing overview of the beauty and whimsy of making and how we are all makers.

There is no such thing as being too young or too old for making Click To Tweet

There is no such thing as being too young or too old for making.  We have no age limits on being a Maker.  There is no grade level restriction for creativity.  We are all Makers.

5 thoughts on “Making Doesn’t Have An Age Limit”

  1. Oh Diana I LOVE this piece!!! Making better not have an age limit because I still LOVE LOVE it, my 8 and 9 yr old daughters would strongly disagree with you and my middle school SPED students would say that’s the best part of our weeks! I love the passion you share in this piece, the ideas and information you share to support your perspective. We are never ever too old! To me it is what fills us up as humans and energizes us!!

  2. Pingback: Making Doesn't Have An Age Limit - Renovated Le...

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