Playful Engineers Teaching Artist Jay Mankita

Play-Based, Hands-on, & STEAM-Powered! 

Makerspace Build-Along workshops, presentations, series, residencies, and large events for all ages and abilities, led by teaching artist Jay Mankita at schools, libraries, camps.

For our in-person programs, we bring the materials as part of our Traveling Makerspace.

For our online programs, you can gather and prepare the materials yourself, or orderĀ classroom kits from us.


Now booking four Maker Space Build-Along Workshops:
1) Chain Reactions from Toys & Household Materials
2) Stick-eometry: Geometry From Sticks
3) Mechanical Linkages from Craft Sticks
4) Mechanical Automata from Paper Cups & Paper Clips

Mechanical Linkages from Craft Sticks!

Mechanical linkages are everywhere – in machines of course, but also in art, architecture, and nature – even in our own bodies. Becoming more familiar with them strengthens our foundational understanding of mechanical processes specifically, and engineering and design in general. 

Students make scissor, reverse motion, and parallel linkages from ordinary materials, building the structures for their own artful mechanisms that send messages, tell stories, or accomplish tasks. As they build their structures according to instructions and templates, they are also beginning to conceive and create their own designs to overlay those structures. That process in turn may lead to modifications of the structures. Engineering informs design, and vice versa.

Crank-Driven Mechanical Automata!

Students make their own crankshaft-driven automata designs – artful mechanisms that can send a message, tell a story, or accomplish a task. For a single session, all you need to get started are paperclips, craft sticks, tape, cardboard, and markers.

Extraordinary maker activities from paperclips, cardboard, dowels, paper cups, and other ordinary stuff.