But it was well worth it. The day was amazing. The kids enjoyed it thoroughly, as did the parents... and so did we.
Big thanks to Tom Wyatt, Will Pearson, Daniel Hertz and Kirsten Skillen for all their enthusiasm, hard work, and the late hours spent on preparations. Without them this wouldn't have been nearly as excellent (or even possible in the first place.) Special thanks also to Mark Steward who dropped in today and helped us out in many small and big ways; turns out he's a great teacher too. And to many others who helped out beyond that (e.g. Charles Yarnold who among other things made the toilets kid-friendly.)
We learned a couple of things today that will help us make future events even better; I'll soon start adding to the project documentation  with more details. I made some photos  but was mostly distracted by the whole thing, so loads of stuff hasn't actually been captured well; maybe next time we'll organise a dedicated photographer.
A couple of points of note:
* Having the kids draw things which we would then cut and etch worked really well. The laser cutter was a bit temperamental, and crashed on one of the models; but with a bit of improvisation we could work around the delays this introduced. The kids now have something they made that they could take home.
* Similarly all demonstrations involving lasers were very successful; from simple things like shining a laser pointer at the floor (the kids instantly started trying to step on it and chase it, hilarity ensued) to things requiring more setup (making a laser tunnel with a fog machine, and having kids and parents stand in it. Everyone was delighted.)
* Mindstorms was one of the other main attractions; especially the older kids (the 5-7 year olds) couldn't get enough of it and soon started playing with it in fairly ambitious ways. They came up with a neat simple game: pick up a ball with the claw, navigate the robot to one of the desk's cable holes and try to drop the ball into it. They wouldn't get tired of it, everybody wanting to go next.
* And surprisingly the IRC board was a big attraction too, especially for the older kids who can write their own messages (and then started teaching younger kids how to type messages.) Mark related it to our own reactions when it was first set up, when everyone excitedly started playing around with it.
* Senake's daughter brought her Pleo, a great toy; generally anything robotic elicited an excited response.
I.e.: it's often the "interactive" stuff, the moments where they can do things and make things, that worked best. (In total there were about eight kids, age two to seven, plus their respective parents.)
There's loads more, but I'll leave it at that. Talk to anyone who's been here for more anecdotes.
Now off to find some more kids. We should do these every month.
Those things were really cool. I couldn't believe something so simple
Cool, remember making those with my grandfather, using old metal cigar
tubes with a nail hole in one end.
I also remember making an electric motor out of a wine bottle cork with
some enameled wire wrapped around it, and using pins as the brushes and
These are all things I plan to do with my son when he's old enough.
Andy "Bob" Brockhurst mailto:andy.br...@b3cft.com
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