Apps for Makers

Taking making to another level or to your home has never been so easy. Today’s technology makes it easier for parents and educators to provide another mode of making that doesn’t need a makerspace.

We encourage you to introduce technology such as your smartphone or tablet to your child or student to start making.  These mobile devices have made software practically free and in abundance and are a great resource for creative education.

So what apps do I encourage to download?

The Foos Coding


Does your child ever wonder how games are made? Now, your child gets the insight by making their own game using The Foos. This app lets them learn simple coding to make their game the way they like it. The animation is cute and bright that it will definitely catch their eyes. Plus your child can get a certification of completion for “The Hour of Code.”

 Ideally for ages 4 and up 

Available on the App Store and Google Play, FREE (In-app purchases available) 



Do you want your children to make their own game, website, animation or app? Those things are now possible with this app.  Children will learn through color and simple commands that will set their foundation in the language of coding for the future.



Ideally for Ages 9 and up

Only Available on the App Store, FREE (In-app purchases available)

Lego Creator Islands

lego-creator-islands-on-the-app-storeDo not want to carry a bag of Legos everywhere you go with your child. Well, let me introduce you to this app that lets your child build their own island using digital Legos.  Your child will learn what he/she need to build an environment and let his creativity run wild with his own type of world.


Ideally for Ages 9-11

Available on the App Store and Google Play, FREE

DIY  App- Creative Community for Kids


Go beyond the coding apps, this app shows and help develops manual making. The app explains different types of making such as leatherworks, homebuilding, film, and the list goes on. Children learn by watching videos, gathering experience points, doing challenges and getting encouragement from fellow app users. Children gain online patches for each type of making completed.

Ideally for Ages 9-11

Available on the App Store, FREE

Robot School Programming for Kids

robot-school-programming-for-kids-free-on-the-app-storeKids love robots. This app lets your kid use coding to guide the robot to complete the task. There are multiple levels with each one getting more complicated by the time they complete the app they will be experts in coding. Sounds a bit complicated, no worries the app teaches the student how to use the app and the different coding commands.


Ideally for Ages 9-11

Available on the App Store, FREE or for extended version $3.99.

Also available on Google Play, $2.68.

There you have it, 5 great STEAM Making apps, that any parent, educator or maker enthusiasts can download. Remember,  Everyone is a Maker, so even adults can download these apps to learn.

Featured Image is Designed by Freepik

About the Author


Maria Renteria, AmeriCorps VISTA 
Maria comes to us from the South Bay of Los Angeles. She has been a Maker since she can remember. She is excited to share this passion with Grass Valley Elementary students because she wants them to create their best memories of school through making like she did when she was little.

Summer Maker Events near Oakland

It is the time of year again, children attend their last day of school year and embarked on a summer of fun. Making can be part of their summer plans and we, Wonder Wondershop, highly encourage it.

To make it even easier for you, we created a list of free events near Oakland, CA where your child can make, build knowledge and have fun. (Click to download the Summer Events document.) Check back next week for Summer Events List 2 for more listings of events near the Bay Area. Till then, Remember:

Our world is what we make it

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Document design by Maria Esmeralda Renteria and Summer vector created by Freepik

About the Author


Maria Renteria, AmeriCorps VISTA 
Maria comes to us from the South Bay of Los Angeles. She has been a Maker since she can remember. She is excited to share this passion with Grass Valley Elementary students because she wants them to create their best memories of school through making like she did when she was little.

Farmer’s Market

Flyer for Farmer's MarketIt is the last expo of the year and to cap off all the making, we will throw our first Farmer’s Market.

Grass Valley Elementary Farmer’s Market will feature handmade items by our student makers such as:

  • Healthy Rice Krispies Treats
  • Fruit Popsicles
  • Trail Mix
  • Meditative Tealight Candles
  • Quinoa Pizza Bites, and more

All items are $3 or less, and proceeds go to each class’s non-profit of choice.


Don’t forget to RSVP  to our event and to bring a reusable bag.





Finding Resources

Making does not have to be expensive for the educator to incorporate it into the classroom or for a parent to bring it into the home. It can be relatively cheap–you just have to know where to look for.

You can basically make a makerspace at no cost at all.  Below are some great places to look for free or cheap materials to bring making to your classroom or home.

Unconventional Resources- Creative Capacity Building Handout_To Pass out after talk

Download the Unconventional Resources document.

Don’t just stop with the places above, here are more great places to visit in the Bay Area:

  • Building REsource
    • This San Francisco non-profit usually carries all different types of wood, tools, tumbled glass and ceramics
  • FabMo’s
    • A creative reuse center in Mountain View, CA that rescues design fabric, wood, tiles, wallpapers, leathers and trim

For smaller scale projects these are some great places and tips to great free or cheap materials:

Home Depot, Lowe’s, and other hardware stores

  • Look for scrap piles of  wood, usually located by the cutting area.
  • If you ask them nicely and tell them it’s for a kid’s project or you are an educator, they can cut the pieces of wood.
  • Ask to speak to the manager so you can setup a date to stop by and collect as much as you can from the scrap pile (of course, flash your educator badge).

Local Stores

  • Ask if you can collect some of the cardboard. They usually are willing to work with you to get rid of cardboard. I recommend setting up a specific day you will stop by (for example, the second Monday of the month).
  • Stop by after the holidays during their clearance sales and ask if you can have any of their leftover holiday theme items. Again, flash your educator badge, and most of the time they will give you items for free.

These are just a few places and tips to help you get into making without breaking your budget, and it is a great way to start exercising your creativity by looking for supplies in random places.


Our world is what we make it


About the Author


Maria Renteria, AmeriCorps VISTA 
Maria comes to us from the South Bay of Los Angeles. She has been a Maker since she can remember. She is excited to share this passion with Grass Valley Elementary students because she wants them to create their best memories of school through making like she did when she was little.





Wonder Workshop debuts at Maker Faire

Wonder Workshop will be attending its first Bay Area Maker Faire on Saturday, May 20, 2017, from 10:00 am – 7:00 pm.

We will be a featured Maker copartnering with The Creativity Lab. Our booth will feature information and video about our makerspace and a small hands-on activity.

Our student buttons will be on available for a donation.

Maker Ed Convening 2017

Our wonderful Makers from the Wonder Workshop will be holding a workshop and a quick talk at the 3rd Annual Maker Educator Convening: Impact and Outcomes of Maker Education: Empowering Youth and Educators on May 17, 2017 in San Francisco.

The Maker Educator Convening

highlight[s] the diverse outcomes of maker-centered learning for both educators and youth–not just in knowledge acquisition, but in the (co)development of knowledge, skills, practices, and dispositions. At the convening, educators and practitioners will showcase the diverse ways maker education has impacted educator practice and youth learning. Additional goals include:

  • Connect both formal and informal maker educators
  • Share examples of the impact of maker education across various settings
  • Offer diverse formats to explore and discuss the impact and outcomes of maker education

Paula Mitchell will be leading a workshop titled “Authentic Inclusion and Hands-On Engagement: Empowering Special Education Students and Students of Color through Culturally Responsive Maker Centered Learning.”

Maker Empowerment and Visible Thinking have become integral to Grass Valley’s school culture and curriculum. Paula’s workshop will showcase Grass Valley’s best practices with regard to maker centered learning for students of color and special education students. Through the use of an Agency by Design thinking routine and discussion of best practices around culturally responsive Maker Education, participants will come away with tools to use with their students that will help expand their mindsets so they can become agents of change in their world.

Crystal Le and Maria Renteria will be hosting a 5-minute quick talk about “Unconventional Resources: Creative Capacity Building,” in which they will talk about gathering resources from unlikely places or groups.

We hope to share the wealth of knowledge we have gained since we officially launched the Wonder Workshop back in November. Unfortunately, since the date this blog was written, tickets are no longer on sale. However, it’s never too early to save the date for the future Maker Educator Convening, which we highly recommend you to attend. Follow the #MakerEdConvening to live twitter updates about the event.


Our world is what we make it

Featured Photo by

Winners of the “Become a Buttoneer” Contest

Grass Valley’s Wonder Workshop is excited to have hosted its first school-wide button design competition “Become a Buttoneer.” Our students had the opportunity to design a button that shows what Making at Grass Valley means to them.

Become a Buttoneer Competition Form
The entry form  for the competition.

We received many entries from various grade levels. It was hard to narrow down to just three winners!

After reviewing the entries, here are our winners:

1st Place Winner: Kymiah

1st Place Winner KB

2nd Place Winners: Nevaeh & MacKenzie

2nd Place Winners


3rd Place Winner: LeBaron

3rd Place Winners


Congratulations to all the winners, and thank you to all of our participants for sharing what Making means to you!

button winners

Want a first place button handmade by Kymiah herself? It’s only a donation of $1! For more information, email us at  Check out our Facebook for more content.

1st Place Winner in Action
1st place winner uses the button maker to make her winning buttons.


Our world is what we make it


Culturally Responsive Making

Grass Valley Maker Night

Join us for the April East Bay Maker Educator Meetups (EBMEM) at Grass Valley Elementary in Oakland for a night of culturally responsive making!

We’ll begin by learning about Grass Valley Elementary’s recent event, Black History Month Family Making Night, an event that included students, parents, and teachers in a convergence of both traditional and new forms of making. Teacher on Special Assignment, Paula Mitchell, and Maker VISTA members Crystal Le and Maria Renteria will provide a presentation on this event devoted to honoring and exploring historic and modern contributions of African American innovators. After this presentation, we’ll dive into a hands-on making activity inspired by an African American innovator and explore culturally responsive making. 

Register for the event here.

Grass Valley Elementary is located at 4720 Dunkirk Ave in Oakland. There’s always plenty of street parking right out front. Please arrive ready to make!

Catch Us at Lighthouse Mini Maker Faire

We are excited to announce that we will be at the Lighthouse Maker Faire. Our students will be leading a maker station and there will be demonstrations by our Maker Ambassadors. Maker Faire takes place April 21, 2017, from 10 am -2 pm. Join us for  Wonder Workshop’s first official Maker Faire.

Register here to attend for free.

We hope to see you there and our students can’t wait to share their making knowledge with you.


Our world is what we make it

Meet 2 Makers behind the Wonder Workshop

The Wonder Workshop started with Paula Mitchell, the teacher behind making at Grass Valley. She had a dream to turn Grass Valley into a making school with its very own Makerspace. She attended many maker education workshops and became a member of Oakland’s Maker Fellows Program. There she met a Maker Ed Americorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service for America) member, who told Ms. Mitchell about the difference she was making at La Escuelita. Ms. Mitchell decided to apply to Maker Ed’s VISTA Program, and Grass Valley was granted two new AmeriCorps VISTA members.

This brings us to today: the VISTAs, Crystal Le and Maria Renteria, have been working behind the scenes of making at Grass Valley for 9 months. Recently, Maker Ed asked Miss Crystal and Miss Maria to participate in an online Q&A “Ask a Maker Educator: VISTA Edition.” They talk about why they are serving with the Maker Ed VISTA program, how they started Grass Valley’s new makerspace, and how they’ve creatively approached gathering resources and much more. Watch “Ask a Maker Educator: VISTA Edition” for their experiences and insights!



Our world is what we make it