Makedo is one of those products that immediately make you wish you'd thought of it yourself. It is elegant in its simplicity and versatility. I love Makedo because it's both creative and green! My review set was sent to The Book Chook by Educational Experience, Australia.
In essence, Makedo is a set of connectors that kids can use to join things with. Young inventors can use the provided tool and fasteners to construct all sorts of wondrous creations - just by combining them with some bits and pieces that you would normally throw in the recycling bin. There are several versions of Makedo sets, from individual to class, and you can buy extras, too.
What I got in the individual set: a tool, clips, pins, and hinges. The construction tool has a saw-like blade for cutting through cardboard. On the other end is a punch for making holes for the pins. The clip goes onto the pin a little like a washer, and holds material in place. The pin is plastic and not sharp, but is pointed so it can get through holes and the clamp. The set is contained in a strong cardboard cylinder.
Makedo has been beautifully thought out. I think the thing I like most about it is that you purchase it, but it is maximized many times over because you actually use it WITH bits and pieces lying around the house, AND you can use it over again. It isn't finite. You're only limited by how much junk you can generate, because children's imaginations are limitless.
I invited a young friend to a constructathon with my Makedo pack. We decided on an animal theme and had a great time constructing our creatures. I will admit to not much liking the tool for cutting, as my scissors gave me a neater edge. You can see Bork and Qvetch hiding in our garden in the picture above, and the pair plasticated below.
Here's a video that shows Makedo in action, and you can check out the gallery to see some of the wonderful creations people have made. Isn't it great that kids can make tiny things, but with enough connectors, they can build structures large enough to play inside, or wear. Apparently I am not the only one to be impressed - Makedo recently won a Reader's Choice Award at Treehugger, and read what the folks over at Inhabitots have to say about it.
According to the Makedo site, "It aims to inspire people to see new value in the things around them." I love the idea of kids looking at something in new ways that they would previously just throw out. Then once they actually start to use the connectors, they are hypothesizing, experimenting, testing, brainstorming, making decisions, visualizing... all skills that develop their creativity.
Einstein tells us that "Creativity is intelligence having fun." Maybe Makedo makes it possible!