Animals & Wildlife Magazine

Lesson 1347 – Barnes & Noble, Mini Makers, and Kids

By Wendythomas @wendyenthomas

I know this post is late, but I submitted my final grades this morning, the Presidential Selfie Girls are in a lull, and *all* the chicks have returned to the nest. I have time and can *finally* relax a little.

I was recently invited to our local Barnes & Noble (I worked there for about 3 weeks until I blew my knee out, it takes a lot of knee bending to shelve those lower books!) to attend a weekend Mini Maker Faire that focused on technology, robotics and coding for kids. First, you should know that book stores are my *favorite* place to be. Marc and I would always think it was a good vacation if we were able to find a book store along the way. An excellent one if we could find more.  So many stories, so many possibilities!

But here’s the thing – more and more people are reading books or are simply not reading due to the time constraints of daily living (quelle horreur!) So book stores are being smart, by introducing items other than books and no one does this as well as Barnes & Noble. As a mom who’s children have long been involved with the high school robotics teams, this faire was something I needed to see.

I saw kids (boys, girls, and parents) playing imaginative critical thinking card games, building robots, and asking questions like “what would happen if I put this battery here?” I saw kids learning while having fun.

What a concept.


There is no better way to get kids to learn than by incorporating fun. How do you do that? It’s done by making learning interactive – posing questions, having them draw pictures, asking “How do you think this works?”



Kids like to build. We all certainly did, but in our day we had wooden blocks. Now they have robotic components for building working machines. Who knows what we could have made if we had been given these types of tools.


For cryin’ out loud 3-D printers are now being sold at Barnes & Noble. 3-D PRINTERS!!! I can clearly remember when my dad got his first calculator. It was large, had giant buttons, a red L.E.D readout and cost $80 (which is why we weren’t allowed to touch it.) We oohed and ahhed and all thought that we were finally living in the “future.” Now stores are selling printers like this one:


Once again, the future is here.

Look, I know that there are many people who can’t afford these types of toys and kits, but the take-away here is not necessarily that you need to buy them, rather it is that your kids (and I don’t care who you are) are thirsting for “toys” that challenge them. Kids want to know about science. Girls and boys want to know how things are put together and taken apart. Barbies and stuffed animals are fine, but also try to include a toy, kit, or book that will make your child think. Even if you can’t afford one of these kits or books, when you come across a scientific concept you can always just take the time to ask your kids “What do you think?”

Trust me, some day your kids will appreciate all the exposure to the sciences you were able give them.


Not being compensated  by Barnes & Noble in any way. Simply passing on good information when I find it.


Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at [email protected]

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.

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