Saturday Crafternoons are like Pee-wee's Playhouse. There is always something to make or learn, someone to meet, and snacks to eat!

It's a making experience where kids (and their siblings and caring adults) can try something new, meet local artists and technologists, and get to know your learning space, maybe for the first time.

Saturday Crafternoons is a free drop-in program where kids ages 5 to 10 learn from a guest expert and make something they can take home with them. With support from Assemble teachers, local makers and community partners share their skills with kids and their families.

Why try Saturday Crafternoons?

Saturday Crafternoons are the perfect informal setting for people who want to try out your programming, or can't attend regularly but still want to participate. They smush together local families, your neighbors and partners, and science, technology, engineering, art, and math. What results from all that smushing is an incredibly fun and flexible program that will make kids love you, parents trust you, and partners engage with you more deeply.

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Let's get down to the details

When it happens:

Monthly or weekly, for 2-3 hours during a weekend afternoon (families have more free time on the weekends!)

Class size:

8-20 kids, many of whom are accompanied by caring adults (especially if it's their first or second time)

For these folks:

5 to 10 year-olds looking to learn something new each week (dropped off or accompanied by their parents/guardians/siblings)

Scientists, artists, academics, technologists, and hobbyists who want to share what they’re doing with the community

How to participate:

Drop in, stay awhile! Free to everyone (About half of our students are weekly regulars, the other half are big mix)

<aside> 🕑 Run of show for one Saturday Crafternoon: Assemble's Crafternoons take place on Saturdays between 1pm and 3pm. This is a great time, because it's after lunch but before supper.

20 minutes Get to know each other with an icebreaker, set community agreements, meet the guest expert, and learn about the day's topic

35 minutes Making time, led by the guest expert and co-teachers

10 minutes Snack break

30 minutes More making!

15 minutes Share out about our experiences, what we've made, and what's coming up soon in the space

10 minutes Clean up, everybody helps with this part!

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How does this connect to Assemble's . . .

Pedagogy ?

Crafternoons introduce kids to topics and materials that they wouldn't otherwise be bumping into, and give them a peek into our messy, complicated, interdisciplinary world where subjects aren't separate. They might discover that artists use math to plan out paintings, or that computer geeks need to spend a lot of time thinking about how their code looks. The casual, drop-in setting helps them stay open to looking beyond what they see immediately and try something new.

This program is all about hands-on making. Over the course of a few hours, kids are introduced to a new project, medium, or topic, and given the opportunity to try it out themselves, with their own two hands. It's a good idea to design an activity that results in something that the kids can take home with them, some tangible evidence of their ability to make.

We put a real emphasis on fun here—activities are stimulating and responsive **to their interests and abilities. Be sure to design activities that your youngest participants can do. When you do that, kids that started out thinking "This is impossible" will walk out the door saying "Wow, I did it!" Building that confidence is at the heart of our pedagogy. As they saunter into their Saturday evening, participants will have learned something new about the world and their own abilities and potential.

People ?

The secret sauce in Crafternoons is Guest Experts. Why bring in someone from the community? So glad you asked:

<aside> 😜 Can't find a guest expert? Source from within! Your first guest experts can absolutely be your friends, family, neighbors, and neighbors-of-friends-of-family. Broaden your definition of expert to include artists, technologists, hobbyists, nerds, engineers, and college students. And in case you hadn't noticed, you probably have some serious expertise on your team (looked in the mirror recently?).

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You need to coordinate collaborations with guest experts carefully. Make sure they're open and interested in sharing their craft with a group of young'uns. You'll need to plan the activity well ahead of time, to ensure that it's kid-friendly, doesn't take too much time to complete, and the needed materials will be at-the-ready day-of (more on that in Resources needed below). You may need to work closely with your guest expert to ensure that what they have in mind fits with your way of teaching, and aligns to your mission and learning philosophy.