Archive by Author

Making the Most of Your Summer

While some kids may have every minute of their summer planned out and optimized, now is the season where many parents are wondering what’s the best way to take advantage of the extra time and learn something new.

As parents, we have always tried to find summer experiences for our kids that were unique, hands-on, and fun. Why not find engaging, authentic experiences where kids can improve their academic math and communication skills they’ve worked so hard on throughout the year to tackle a project that builds critical thinking and problem solving skills? What opportunities are out there?

Recently, while having lunch with a friend with three young kids, it donned on me there are some interesting options out there that need to be shared. Here’s a collection of the top gems we’ve found in the last year that will inspire a summer full of play, passion and purpose.

JAM Online Courses (from These beautifully crafted online courses like Cook For Yourself and Invent Your Own Machines are enjoyable and available for a whole year from time of sign-up.

Khan Academy – Pixar in a Box  From “The Art of Storytelling” to the “Mathmatics of Animation Curves” the engaging Pixar content and brilliance of the guests shine through. Content seems to be aimed at upper grades, but younger students will find value in it too.

Hour of Code –  Full of activities that fit the full range of age groups and diverse interests. Also available in multiple languages including English and Japanese.

While all these are fantastic online resources, what if you want your kids to join an “In Real Life” community of like-minded students? That’s why we’re holding our Maker Toolset Summer Camps that run for 4 days starting on July 30th!

Mission to Mars – Summer Camp 2017


ミッション・トゥ・マーズ – サマーキャンプ 2017








Minecraft Coding Summer Camp 2017

マインクラフト・プログラミング サマーキャンプ 2017

visual coding

We’re excited to see what our creative community of students will build during these days of fun, problem solving, and critical thinking. Hope to see you there!

Mission to Mars – Summer Camp 2017

event hero image smThe team at Maker Toolset has done it again!

We are excited to announce our “Mission to Mars” Summer Camp 2017 which will bring you four days of hands-on learning. From building a foundation of STEM skills (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) to preparing you for college level classes and careers in engineering and design, this camp will see you take flight this summer.

Designed for beginners new to 2D and 3D modeling, engineering design, and coding for robotics you will quickly find confidence in your ability to build a drone glider. If you have spent time with any of these tools before, we also have a number of additional challenges awaiting to push the limits of your problem solving abilities.

Sign-up now…

Mission to Mars Summer Camp – July 30th Start


Day 1 – Design and build an Exploration Drone
Introduction to Exploring Mars – What challenges do we face and what tools can help us?
Learn basic aerodynamics and build techniques, and construct a pre-cut drone glider prototype.
Learn about the unique problems for flight on Mars and start designing your own improved drone for exploring the Red Planet.


Day 2 – Design Tools for Exploration
Learn to use Sketchup for 2D & 3D design and problem solving. Design a drone (plane) and turn it into a template for laser cutting the parts to create a prototype.
Each student will need to bring a laptop with Sketchup Make installed.


Day 3 – Design a Robot & Launch our Drone
Learn coding for Robotics.
Do basics of making the robot move, code to move an arm, obstacle avoidance and sensors.


Day 4 – Presentation Polish and Sharing
Final build and preparation for presentation of your drone solution.
Additional investigation of real exploration scenarios for Mars and what can be done with the knowledge, tools, and techniques learned.

Mars front 1000

Take flight this summer with us on a “Mission to Mars”.

For those who cannot make our first camp, we have the same camp running late August as well.

August 27th Camp start Signup


Celebrate Your Games

Wow, we made it! The super successful first annual Electronic Arcade Game Playoffs was a brilliant highlight to the Coding for Life event of Tokyo Sandbox 2017. A huge thank-you to Kevin Lim of Tokyo Sandbox for his confidence in us to put on a show that was remarkable. Additionally, a full round of applause to all of you, the students who demonstrated your creativity, hard work, and persistence to conceptualize and deliver on your ideas!

Please remember to individually thank your teachers who gave up many afternoons and weekends to get behind this project to provide a very unique and authentic learning experience for us all. A wonderful surprise was the extraordinary support from the volunteers at Tokyo Sandbox as well as the team from YouMeWe who will be putting all the proceeds from token sales into their Digital Literacy Project with children living in institutionalized homes. Your efforts will make a difference in the life of underprivileged children in Japan.

A quick summary of the overall event summary in infographic format below.

In the spirit of transparency and reiteration, we have corrected a silly gaff that has actually changed the order of the results previously announced! Please see the v2 results below…


Due to the misreading of a 1 as a 4 during the announcement of winners, we have corrected our mistake and offered even more prizes for the excellence shown by students.


To wrap up, the Grand Prize winner of the littleBits Gizmo and Gadgets kit was K-IST coders. Thank-you again to Korg and littleBits for their assistance with judging as well as for supplying the prizes.

combo prize

Runner Up – Coding for Life Prize for significant technical coding challenge goes to GuriiEcoGames who have won the littleBits Space Kit and the littleBits Base Kit.


Runner Up – Arcade Gamer Appeal Prize for ability to draw people in to play everyone’s game goes to Team Mallaborema who have won the littleBits Gizmo and Gadgets kit.


Also, a very big congratulations to Mr. Shibata who beat the odds in a raffle of 45 gamers who completely filled their stamp passports for the entry to win a Nintendo Switch!

Judging for the Playoffs was extremely tough as every single team put in a huge effort and came up with interesting and fun ideas for their games. There was a bit of genius in each game and we hope this has provided more fuel to your passion to invent more and constantly stretch your creativity. In the end, the attendees chose for us through their determination to play again and again as they tried to master the game and compete with their friends. We look forward to seeing how high you may have raised the bar for next year!

もうすぐ開催! 5/14 エレクトロニクス・アーケードゲームプレーオフ




GuriiEcoGames – 日本をテーマにした対戦型ゲームで、あなたの反射神経を試されます。皆さんも一緒に楽しみましょう。

GuriiecoGames teaser

Mallaborema – 準備が整いました! このゲームで遊んでいる間は、時空が曲がるかもしれません。Mallaborema teaser




2 GAME On.Learnhow. Japanese v2




Electronic Arcade Game Playoffs 2

Download Poster PDF in English

Final Updates – Electronic Arcade Game Playoffs May 14th

We’ve done additional checkins with Team GuriiEcoGames and Team Mallaborema and they are on the home stretch with their games which are looking very good and promise to provide fun and challenging game play action for all who attend the Playoffs Event this coming May 14th.

GuriiEcoGames – With a Japanese themed interactive battle game, your reaction speed and moves will be put to the test. Brace yourselves for two player action fun.

GuriiecoGames teaser

Mallaborema – Space and time may bend while playing this colourful challenge to your reactionary speed. Ready, Go!Mallaborema teaser

Posters to remind your friends, faculty and family come to enjoy your game on May 14th are linked below.

Electronic Arcade Game Playoffs 2

Download Poster PDF in English


Download Poster PDF in Japanese

まもなく エレクトロニクス・アーケードゲーム プレーオフ!

5/14に開催されるエレクトロニクス・アーケードゲーム プレーオフイベントの参加チームの皆さんは、最後の準備段階に入りました。皆さんも参加して、一緒に楽しみましょう

ここでは、K-IST CodersJEPISVSの素晴らしいゲームをプレビューできます。プログラミング、フィジカルコンピューティング、モデリングの要素が存在していて、チームで協力しながら熱心に制作しています。5/14のプレーオフがとても楽しみです!

K-IST Coders – プレーオフ当日までは多くを公表できませんが、バナナ・バリーというキャラクターが登場します。

K-IST Coders


Team JEPI – ライトを光らせて、プログラムを書いて、ボタンをカットして、まもなく完成します。


Team SVS – ハワイをテーマにしたゲームで遊んでみよう。ただしサメの出没に注意してください!
SVS IMG_2949

各チームの皆さんはとても熱心で、創造的で魅力的な楽しいゲームをもたらすでしょう。Tokyo Sandboxにてチャレンジとプレイアビリティを融合しているか、プレイオフイベントまでに充分にテストを行います。チケットを購入して、5/14に秋葉原のアキバ・スクエアにてゲームなどで楽しみながら、参加している学校や仲間たちを応援しましょう。

Electronic Arcade Game Playoffs 2


Electronic Arcade – Countdown to the Playoffs!

Each school and team are hard at work preparing their Electronic Arcade Game for the Playoffs Event this May 14th. Mark the date on your calendar and join the fun!

Have you scheduled your game preview with our Judges?

We had a great preview of the game the K-IST Coders, JEPI, and SVS teams are creating. Enthusiasm, hard work, and teamwork were on full display here. Elements of programming, physical computing and modelling were all present. We are looking forward to playing your games on May 14th!

K-IST Coders – Here’s a teaser photo. We don’t want to give away too much before the day of the playoffs, but we can say it involves a character named Banana Bully.K-IST Coders

Team JEPI – Lights are blinking, code is in progress and buttons are being cut as Team JEPI sprints to the arcade finish line.


Team SVS – Waves are beckoning you to try this Hawaiian themed game, but beware the shark infested waters!SVS IMG_2949

Overall, we are impressed by the teams’ enthusiasm and thought put into bringing you the most creative, challenging, and fun games you’ve played in a long time. We expect there will be plenty of “play testing” between now and the playoff event to find the right mix of challenge versus playability for all our guests at Tokyo Sandbox. Support your school and fellow students by buying your tickets and stopping in to play their games and many others on May 14th at Akiba Square in Akihabara.

Electronic Arcade Game Playoffs 2

Downloadable PDF Posters

Fukushima – Electronic Arcade Game Workshop

Thanks to the generosity of everyone’s support for the Tokyo Rocks for Tohoku/ Ladies Rock for Tohoku events held by a collective of Tokyo-based indie musicians and local venues keeping Tohoku in their hearts and on their minds.

We enjoyed running this creativity and technology workshop with a group of underprivileged children in Fukushima last weekend. Their unbridled enthusiasm to take on the challenge and stretch beyond what they thought possible was an eye-opener. What a great chance to spark the idea to leverage physical computing for solving problems while having fun with technology.

The students put the design cycle into action while using easy to understand electronic building blocks by littleBits, some Makedo, cardboard, elastics, marbles, and other construction tools to prototype their team’s Electronic Arcade Game. Next, members from other teams playtested the games and gave feedback on enjoyment and suggested improvements.

IMG_4070 20170114 Fukushima workshop-1 20170114 Fukushima workshop-2 20170114 Fukushima workshop-3

Electronic Arcade Game Playoffs

Buckle your safety belts and start saving your cardboard!

We are excited to announce the opening of registrations for the first annual “Electronic Arcade Game Playoffs.” Inspired by Cain’s Arcade, and as part of the Coding for Life event alongside the Tokyo Indie Game Festival held on May 14th  2017, the playoffs will choose a winning arcade game from multiple teams across Tokyo.


To find out more, contact us here.

Applying schools will enter up to 5 games from teams of 3 to 5 students. A 10 session workshop series is also available where students will follow the design cycle to prototype and iterate upon their games. The best games from each category will be entered into the final playoffs event as a highlight of the Coding for Life event.


Previous workshops with students have produced some incredible learning opportunities and even more collaboration with their communities. Once such example is the Scoreboard Counter Invention as documented by our team.

Students strengthen the skills of problem solving, design iteration, and entrepreneurship through the collaborative project of building an Electronic Arcade. When tasked to use simple materials such as cardboard combined with advanced electronics modules, students prototype fairly advanced concepts present in everyday technology like your car to your washing machine.

Witness students challenging the design process with technology first hand by signing up.

STEM Needs A New Letter

We are inspired by people who realize there is a need to convert the conversation around STEM into the more complete STEAM. Similar to the article STEM Needs A New Letter we see the opportunity to lowering the barriers due to affordable and easily accessible tools like electronics, robotics and coding, and rapid prototyping materials and hardware to not only revolutionize Design Technology and Art curriculums, but to do the same for all subject areas including Science, Math, Languages and more.

Below is a talk we gave on examples and the process we follow to introduce these skills to students.