Website review by
Will Wade, Common Sense Media
Make:Online Website Poster Image
DIY site encourages kids to tinker, create, invent, think.

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Educational Value

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.

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.


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

What 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.

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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?

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.

Talk to your kids 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

  • Subjects: Hobbies: building
    Science: astronomy, biology, physics
  • Skills: Collaboration: cooperation, respecting other viewpoints
    Thinking & Reasoning: applying information, investigation, problem solving
    Creativity: developing novel solutions, innovation, making new creations
  • Genre: Creating
  • Price: Free
  • Pricing structure: Free
  • Last updated: November 11, 2020

Our editors recommend

For kids who love creating

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