What is a 4-H Maker?

Building A Community of People Who Make and Share Things
Two 4-H members working on a circuitry project.

Makers are people who make and share things.  Throughout history humans have always made things, sometimes out of necessity and other times just to satisfy the desire to create.  The Maker movement is a response to our modern consumer based society and encourages us to not only consume things, but to make things as well.  It’s hard to describe just what the Maker movement is. Yet, there is a mindset that is shared by all participants of the Maker Movement who exhibit at Maker Faires.  At a typical Maker Faire, you’ll find arts & crafts, science & engineering, food & music, fire & water — but what makes Maker Faires special is that all these interesting projects and smart, creative people belong together. They are actively and openly creating a Maker culture. At their core, Makers are fascinating, curious people who enjoy learning and who love sharing what they can do. Makers knit socks, build chairs, maker paper airplanes, make greeting cards, weave baskets, cook grilled cheese sandwiches, hammer iron hooks, build robots, fix lamps, invent new toys, fly rockets, write computer code, paint, sew prom dresses, build and race Mousetrap Powered Cars and more.

What makes a Maker?

  • Makers believe that if you can imagine it, you can make it.
  • Makers are productive and creative. Everyone is a Maker, the world is what we make it.
  • Makers seek out opportunities to learn to do new things, especially through hands-on, DIY (do-it-yourself) interactions.
  • Makers share their work and surprise and delight those who see their projects, even if the projects can be a bit rough-edged, messy and, at times, over-stimulating. (Think punk rock.)
  • Makers comprise a community of creative and technical people that help one another do better. They are open, inclusive, encouraging and generous in spirit.
  • Makers celebrate other Makers — what they make, how they make it and the enthusiasm and passion that drives them.

4-H has always been about Making.  We’ve made crafts for the fair, sewn dresses and fishing vests, built birdhouses, made halters for our cattle.  4-H Makers is a new effort to celebrate what we make and invite others to become Makers.  This year we’ll be making mousetrap Powered cars to see how far we can make them go.

If you are curious about Makers, would like to share things you make, learn about making mousetrap cars and/or are interested in starting or joining a Makers Club join our new NH 4-H Makers group on Facebook.

Adapted from Young Makers Program • Maker Club Playbook • Spring 2012