8 reasons your kids will have a blast at Pittsburgh’s Handmade Arcade

Calling all arts and crafts fans! Pittsburgh’s Handmade Arcade is entering its 15th year of engaging the public in the power of making. The annual marketplace operates as a space for creatives and consumers to support local makers, create work of their own and engage with cultural and community organizations. Early-bird shoppers pay for the privilege on Dec. 6 and 7, but admission is free from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Dec. 7 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.

Kids are happy to tag along, enticed by the Hands-on Handmade activity area, a free crafting space with 18 projects for all ages.  Here are a few we think your kids will love:

1. Popsicle Quilt

This collaborative effort allows kids to decorate popsicle sticks using paint, markers and other materials. Then, the Every Child, Inc. team will glue each creation together, creating patterns for a giant wooden quilt. Kids can help in the construction, too. And for kids who prefer to take their decorated sticks home for solo projects, additional popsicle sticks will be provided.

2. Monster Magnets

Kids will create some not-too-scary monster magnets for refrigerator display. Songbird Artistry will guide the construction of friendly monster magnets using upcycled materials. These silly monsters can be whatever color, shape, size, and pattern suits their vision.

3. Recycled Holiday Card Decorations

This project comes just in time for all the holiday greetings arriving in the mail. Millvale Library will teach kids how to recycle Christmas cards and a few natural materials to create festive decorations for your home. This exercise is a great way to learn how to upcycle materials already on hand and inspire creative thinking.

4. Paper Ornament Marbling

Deck the halls with your very own marbled-paper ornament! Kids will go through the process from start to finish with Artist & Craftsman Supply. Add your own color, create original patterns, then apply the design to create a unique take-home ornament.

5. LED Bracelets

Kids will design and build electronic jewelry from LEDs and UV beads plus learn about circuitry with Assemble Pittsburgh. These bracelets will glow! Who needs diamonds?

6. Typewriter Expo

In this electronic world, we doubt that many kids have ever come face-to-face with an old school typewriter. BatCat Press brings its collection of vintage typewriters to the party. Kids are welcome to test the machines with a tap-tap-tap, writing thank-you notes, a Christmas list, or whatever else they like. How cool it will be to roll in a sheet of paper, type a line and — bing! — hit the return lever?

And speaking of kids …

Here are a couple of stops that feature maker kid vendors. They’re sure to inspire other kids to explore their creative side.

7. Pop-Up Makers Mart

A new feature of Handmade Arcade, Makers Mart by Edcorps provides an opportunity for kids in grades 3-12 to sell and share their handmade products. This pop-up encourages kids to support makers and sellers their age. Makers Mart provides a platform for young entrepreneurs to learn more about the creative process and how to develop a business of their own.

8. Youth Maker Scholarship Program

Handmade Arcade has made it their mission to create an educational, constructive and artistic environment for all ages. The program’s Youth Maker Scholarship Program advances that goal. The program provides teens with free vendor space to share and sell their original products. Workshops, one-on-one mentor support and online assistance are part of the scholarship. This opportunity is offered to artists and entrepreneurs ages 16-18. The program accepts new applicants from April through August. This year’s Youth Maker Alley at Handmade Arcade is sponsored by Matt’s Maker Space.

And while you’re at Handmade Arcade,  be sure to stop by the Kidsburgh booth. We’d love to have a chance to say hello!