Maker Madness is back … and madder than ever

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MAPLEWOOD, NJ — It’s science fair meets craft fair as the Achieve Foundation’s fifth annual Maker Madness fair returns to Columbia High School on Saturday, April 27, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This free event reveals the exciting world of STEAM — science, technology, engineering, arts and math — education to students and their families, with more than 25 demonstrations and interactive activities for ages 4 to 94. By trying their hands at woodworking, electronics tear-down, computer coding and crafts, students discover that “learning by doing” is inspirational, educational, engaging and down-right fun.

Maker Madness is open to all school-age children in the community and anyone who wants to experiment with building and creating. The day will feature a wide range of activity stations with guidance from teachers, artisans and other “makers” from the community. At some Maker Stations you can: discover drones, play with paper rockets, observe bees in their hives, drive a prototype of the Mars Rover, craft a working model of the hand, build a model bridge, create a water shooter out of PVC pipe, make slime, take apart electronic devices to see how they work and see a wall of foam made by a giant custom bubble machine.

Maker Madness is the brainchild of South Orange resident Larry Boyer and Maplewood resident Aileen Nicoletti, two parents with a passion for interactive learning and a desire to utilize technology to bring the creativity of the arts to the study of math and science. The event grows each year, and last year welcomed more than 1,200 children and adults. Participants get to take home their creations, and attendees enjoy chances to win door prizes donated by local merchants. Have lunch or a snack at the concession stand. It’s like a day at the museum just minutes from home. Please note, this is not a drop-off event; children 12 and under must bring an adult.

New for 2019, Maker Madness will feature music making, with an open mic session in the Black Box theater, designed to appeal to middle and high school students in particular. Come sing, play, recite poetry and learn how to record and mix sound. For more information, visit

Photos Courtesy of Eileen Collins Neri