Make: Online

Common Sense Media says

DIY site encourages kids to tinker, create, invent, think.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The site's online forums encourage people to ask for, and offer, advice about a wide range of do-it-yourself projects, and the community is generally quite helpful.

Violence
Not applicable
Sex
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

The site is affiliated with the magazine Make. It also sells a variety of kits for interesting do-it-yourself projects. There is a fair amount of advertising on the site.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this online version of Make Magazine encourages people to take on a wide variety of interesting projects, from creating homemade musical instruments to building toys to customizing and modifying common electronics. Most of the projects require a certain amount of technical skills and a grasp of basic electronics, and are better suited for older teens. A 'Kids and Family' section highlights a handful of kid-friendly projects. The site promotes the magazine, and the DIY subculture.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Science

  • astronomy
  • biology
  • physics

Hobbies

  • building

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • applying information
  • investigation
  • problem solving

Creativity

  • developing novel solutions
  • innovation
  • making new creations

Collaboration

  • cooperation
  • respecting other viewpoints

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Make: Online may not appeal to everyone at first, but some kids will "get it" and dig in right away. Many of the project ideas will be fun in a classroom setting, and the well-designed site makes info easy to find.

Learning Approach

The site offers materials for the curious but doesn’t connect the experiments or projects with context or concepts. Teachers will have to match projects to their curricula in order to get the most out of the site.

Support

Although there isn’t much help available for the Project Guides, a densely populated user community is active in the Forum section of the site. Make: Magazine is also a connected resource to check out.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Science

  • astronomy
  • biology
  • physics

Hobbies

  • building

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • applying information
  • investigation
  • problem solving

Creativity

  • developing novel solutions
  • innovation
  • making new creations

Collaboration

  • cooperation
  • respecting other viewpoints

Kids can learn skills in scientific methods as they follow steps, apply information, make observations, and make adjustments with DIY projects. MAKE's projects vary from technical to practical to artistic and users are invited to submit their own projects, or edit existing ones with newfound knowledge or tips. Skill Builder activities like Knife Skills 101 (for cooking projects) or Math for Electronics help beginners. MAKE's supportive, collaborative environment is a hook for kids' natural curiosity about how things work.

This Learning Rating review was written by Michelle Kitt

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What's it about?

MAKE:ONLINE is for the people who take apart their toys to see how they work, who enjoy fixing things, and always want to see if they can get their gadgets to do something more. This website, the online counterpart of the popular hobbyist publication Make Magazine, is packed with do-it-yourself projects ranging from easy arts and crafts to innovative hacks for common electronics. Want to build your own paper mache maracas? What about turning a cell phone into a guitar, or tweaking a Wii game controller to send instructions to a remote control dinosaur toy? The site provides detailed instructions for all of those activities, and many more, often with accompanying video guides.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

People who enjoy tinkering will find plenty of inspiration here, and the broad range of subjects and difficulty levels means there's something for just about anyone. The projects range from reasonably simple to pretty advanced, but the in-depth instructions can help users learn new tasks and may prompt people to branch out into new and entertaining areas. Be advised that this site seems aimed more at the skilled hobbyist; young kids may find many of these projects appealing, but will probably need adult help.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about do-it-yourself projects. Does this site inspire you to take on a new project? Or does the idea of tinkering with home electronics or building a gadget from scratch seem too intimidating? Can the detailed guides help you feel more confident about such a job?

  • What is your first instinct when a toy breaks -- to try to fix it or to throw it away and get a new one? Do you think today's culture of disposability makes people less inclined to create something from used materials?

Website details

Genre:Creating
Price:Free
Pricing structure:Free

This review of Make: Online was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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