How to Host a Teen Appathon or Hackathon

Teen Appathon

People + technology can solve any problem. There’s no reason those people can’t be teens, is there? In fact, digital natives are especially well-suited to use technology to create innovative solutions. We recently brought together a group of high school students, mostly from the Niles Township Schools, with a smattering from Lane Tech High School and others …

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How To Make Seed Balls Fast and Easy

How to make seed balls on

Random Acts of Wildflowers at the Chicago Maker FaireI set out to make Chicago a little greener a few weeks ago at the Chicago Northside Maker Faire thanks to my relationship with PURELL® Advanced Hand Sanitizer. With just a few simple supplies, I taught more than a hundred people how to make seed balls and beautify their neighborhoods with random acts of wildflowers. Now I get to show you.

This post is one in a series that I’m doing on behalf of the brand. Like me, the brand believes in the importance of hands-on experiences and letting kids be kids, even if that means letting their hands get a little dirty. We learn so much when we experience the world through our hands. As you make seed balls, you feel the tiny miracle of a plant seed and build fine motor skills as you smoosh the seeds, soil and clay together.

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DIY Dog Treat Dispenser and Toy

Dog Treat Dispenser Toy from

Dog Treat Dispenser Toy from www.TheMakerMom.comInspired by something he found online, The Young Maker Teen set out to make a dog treat dispenser that would also be a fun puzzle or toy for our energetic dog. He went off to his computer and started designing a 3D plan in Autodesk Inventor.

When I checked on his progress, though, it was slow going. So I clicked on his browser history and saw that much of his “work and research” was in the form of Imgur visits and time on a favorite gaming site. After that I switched up the rules: use materials we have on hand and just make something.

So he did.

Easy DIY Dog Treat Dispenser

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Make a Cell Mosaic with Guest Artist Rachel Nador

Make a Cell Mosiac with Rachel Nador on

I’m thrilled to have my talented friend sharing a project today. Artist Rachel Nador takes us through the process of creating a cell mosaic. I’m what’s called a 3D modeller or 3D graphic artist. I’ve created 3D graphics for video games, film, web, medical and science software, and more. I have a traditional art background, …

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DIY Book Safe

Make a DIY Book Safe at

Make a DIY Book Safe at

Making a book safe is one of those projects that I’ve long had on my to-do list, but put off.  How fun would it be to secret away something special and hide it in plain site in a book? In the end, it was simple and somewhat meditative. I can’t wait to make another one.

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DIY Worm Bin: How to Start Vermicomposting

When my husband said, “I want to get you a $200 worm bin composter for your birthday.” The problem wasn’t the worm bin. I’ve been curious about vermicomposting since one of my boys’ teachers set up a class worm composting system back in the day. But to spend $200 on a classy set-up for worms? No thank you.

He threatened to buy it for me unless I made one myself. It was like a dare. I had been mentioning this project on and off for years. It was time to get making and to do it on a budget. With the help of Instructables and Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium, I did!

My DIY worm bin for less than $10

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The Great Hollow Penny Experiment

Our attempt to make hollow pennies didn’t turn out as planned. This is another way of saying the hollow penny experiment failed, but since I documented our process, I figured I’d share it, and maybe you’ll try it, and you can share better photos if things go according to plan. I first read about making …

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