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Do you like to make and tinker with things? Do you have an interest in creating digital devices but don't know where to start? If so, you are in the right place!

4-H is taking emerging technologies by storm. We've added new projects which will spark the imagination of builders, makers, and tinkerers of all ages. 

Over the last decade, Do-it-yourselfers have shown the world that you do not need to be an engineer or computer scientist to create useful, innovative devices, gadgets, and gizmos through what is known as the Maker Movement. In fact, with very little background, and a can-do attitude, almost anyone can enter the Maker world and create anything their imagination guides them to.

This year, Illinois 4-H has brought the Maker Movement to your doorstep through a Multi Media curriculum experience called DIY Make & Build!

DIY Make and Build is an opportunity for youth to learn about design, engineering, manufacturing, electricity and computer programming while being innovative and imaginative.  While each activity has a specific goal in mind, this guide is to be used as a starting block to expand on each of the concepts and ideas presented here.

This activity guide is designed to guide you in creating a sustained learning experience for youth using readily available materials purchased both online and locally, as well as common items found around the house. These activities are accompanied by video guides that can be used by youth independently (or at home) as well as in group settings. In addition, youth are encouraged to perform “Online Reconnaissance Missions” to research topics not explicitly covered in this guide. These will be marked as “ORM”.  Each day can be done independently but could also be done in succession for a sustained learning experience.  There are suggested activities in each of the topic related days.  There are several online resources with similar activities that can be added to extend the time or others can be used in place of the ones listed.


Learning Objectives

  • Understand and learn the basic concepts and skills needed to be a “Maker” including but not limited to designing, cutting, manufacturing, simple circuitry, electronics and micro controllers.
  • Become familiar with terms/techniques such as circuitry, wire stripping, conductivity, and hydraulic pressure.
  • Become familiar with using online open and external resources to enrich the learning experience
  • Develop a sense of creativity, innovation and independence using different materials to create practical & fun mechanical and electronic devices.
  • Apply maker concepts and skills to their own designs and creations.
  • Have fun!


  • Lessons are appropriate for youth ages 10-14 with local assistance, and with interested older youth independently with the aid of the video guides. 
  • Lessons can be taught be by adults or Teen Teachers. 

Time Frame

  • Lessons can be used consecutively on multiple days or as one off, one day activities.  Lessons can be used in a club, camp, or classroom setting.

DIY Make & Build Can Be Downloaded for free at the Following Link:

DIY Make & Build Activity Guide


State Fair Exhibit Rules

Each county may submit 3 entries total from 50400.

maker (sf 50400)

Exhibits in this category are designed to be multi-disciplinary in nature, innovative, and must not fit into any other exhibit category. To qualify for this category, your project MUST abide by the following guidelines:

  • Exhibitors must complete the DIY Make & Build Curriculum and answer all of the questions at the end of each lesson. You must display (or upload if virtual) your answers to these questions as well as your Maker Log from the DIY Make & Build Curriculum.
  • Exhibits must be an object or device that has an intended purpose and uses technology in either a mechanical way, digital (computer) way, or a combination of the two. Your device or object cannot be one of the included activities in the DIY Make & Build Curriculum.
  • The device must be something that can be used in everyday life by multiple people (a target audience), and MUST be manufactured/built by the exhibitor (if not fully manufactured by the exhibitor, the device MUST be modified structurally or be reprogrammed to perform a different function than what it was designed to do).
  • Exhibits MUST be able to interact with the outside world (e.g. an on/off switch, input sensors, feedback, etc.).
  • Exhibits MUST include a detailed build log with instructions on how to make or build the exhibit, AND contain either a 3D rendering or detailed and labeled sketches of the device/product.
  • All parts and software used in the design/build MUST be listed in a detailed Bill of Materials, including cost per item and total cost. Total time spent on the build must be documented in your build log.

In addition, exhibitors are HIGHLY encouraged to use tools such as 3D printers, laser cutters, routers, and/or other hand/power tools to help in the manufacturing process (NOTE: Simply 3D printing or laser cutting an object without the other specifications does not qualify as a Maker Project). It is also HIGHLY encouraged that exhibits use Open Source software and/or hardware in the build.



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