Did you know that U.S. careers requiring STEM skills are expected to grow 17 percent by 2020? Through the Y’s afterschool programs, camps and more, we encourage children from all walks of life to explore Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math in fun, active ways. Our latest effort in supporting STEAM activities is a Makerspace Lab at the Fry Family YMCA.

You may ask, what is a Makerspace? A Makerspace is a place where children learn and explore; have many, many choices in interesting materials; and use their imagination! Makerspaces provide creative time and, well, space for people of all ages to build prototypes, explore questions, fail and retry, bounce ideas off one another and build something together. The Y is partnering with the Museum of Science and Industry to bring creative activities and curriculum to our local Makerspace Lab. Local staff recently participated in two days of exploration and design thinking training with MSI Fab Lab leadership staff.

Think back to your favorite memories of making something as a child. Was it building with blocks? Tunneling in the sand? Drawing, painting, or telling a story? Chances are whatever the memory, you also recall the feeling that accompanied creating something new-the joy of play and being in control of your project.

By designating space in our Ys we believe we can provide opportunities for kids to get excited about learning by pursuing their own interests. This helps them develop self-confidence and explore new talents that they may not have the chance to do during a regular school day.

We are excited about this new venture at the YMCA and look forward to our Makerspace Lab growing over the upcoming winter months. This area will be open for drop in discovery and will also host workshops around design, electronics, 3D printing, robotics and so much more.

Save the Date!

Kicking off the holiday season the Y will be hosting our annual Community Breakfast on Fri., Dec. 7. This event is open to the community. To purchase tickets visit, www.ymcachicago.org/fry.