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Learning through play at Maker Faire Rome

Discover the benefits of learning through play and the latest projects in the field!

Learn about the most interesting projects for learning through play presented at Maker Faire Rome 2023!

Play can offer endless new possibilities. At Maker Faire Rome we know how true this is, therefore, we dedicated an entire area of the latest edition to gaming. In addition to being purely entertaining, we found through personal experience that play can be applied to increasingly diverse fields.

One of these is education: learning in innovative ways is a real possibility today.

In this article we will show you how, through an in-depth look at some of the projects featured at Maker Faire Rome 2023. 

Learning through play: an established method

Learning through play is an established pedagogical method that can transform the educational process into an engaging and stimulating experience, for children and adults. The use of educational games is not limited to a simple form of entertainment; rather, it is an effective tool for fostering cognitive, social and emotional development in people of all ages. Interaction in playful situations provides fertile ground for active exploration, experimentation and skill acquisition. Problem solving through play stimulates the mind to think critically and creatively, thus helping to develop a flexible approach to challenges. In addition, play promotes collaboration, encouraging communication and negotiation among participants. Integrating fun into education is thus an effective pedagogical strategy. Here are three key advantages of using play in this context:


  1. Active engagement: play stimulates the active engagement of students, requiring direct participation and interaction with the learning material. This type of involvement promotes a deeper and more lasting understanding of the content, as the individuals involved are called upon to put the received knowledge into practice. A perfect method for holding extended attention and promoting more effective learning.


  1. Development of soft skills: educational games often contribute to the development of a wide range of soft skills, such as problem solving, collaboration, communication and creativity. In game contexts, students learn to work in teams, make strategic decisions, and take on challenges in new ways. These are all skills that can be easily transferred and applied to real-life situations.


  1. Positive educational environment: the environment generated by educational games is always positive and motivating. The students involved are generally driven by a desire to participate, enhanced by the desire to achieve concrete goals within the game. Learning through play is always associated with positive experiences and helps to reduce stress and foster an emotional connection with the content learned.

Learning through play at Maker Faire Rome 2023

Maker Faire Rome 2023 was an extraordinary opportunity to validate and promote the effectiveness of this teaching method. At the most important festival of innovation, participants had the opportunity to immerse themselves in an interactive environment where creativity, experimentation and learning were the basis of many of the experiences proposed. We have selected some truly incredible ones that demonstrate the possibilities of learning through play.


  1. “Facciamo la spesa” serious game

Facciamo la spesa” is a serious games designed by We Do FabLab for the Centro Gazza Ladra, a space of inclusion for people with special educational needs and disabilities. The game is designed to enhance the skills of children with disabilities. The playful virtual reality recreates a supermarket environment to gradually familiarize the kids with moving around and interacting independently in complex situations, while in a safe and controlled environment. The project was developed in close collaboration with the center’s educators, who helped define the educational and therapeutic objectives of the game, which can be customized based on each child’s needs. Users learn how to create a shopping list, figure out how much money they need, and identify the correct aisle in the supermarket. How? By following the educators’ directions the whole time. Wearing a VR visor, kids can learn how to interact with products, locate them in the supermarket, make a list or pay at the checkout. It is the gradual nature of the play and interaction process that ensures a good level of autonomy at the end of the game.


  1. An innovative game for children of all ages

Another interesting project presented at Maker Faire Rome 2023 is a game designed by Stefano Del Bufalo for very young children. The project is based on Arduino Nano v3, RFID cards that return previously stored information of various kinds to users, and an MP3 module to listen and learn an infinite amount of notions by simply changing the RFID cards. The game lends itself to multiple expansions and the child will have the opportunity to learn about a wide variety of topics in a new, engaging and interactive way.


  1. Via Vai, an educational game for fine motor skills

The project, designed by the Via Vai Group, consists of an innovative educational game for children between the ages of 3 and 6, designed with the aim of developing fine motor skills and increasing their knowledge on basic subjects. The game features several magnetic boards that connect to the main structure, transmitting information to Arduino, a board that runs the code to activate light and sound signals in response to correct and incorrect movements along the way. The topics covered can be adapted to the age of the child and include learning about domestic and wild animals, fruits, vegetables, and recycling. Thanks to the technologies used, such as 3D printing (FDM), CNC milling machine and laser cutting, the game offers an interactive and stimulating approach to encourage fine motor skills practice, preparing children for the next stages of writing and drawing.


  1. Mangioco

“Mangioco” consists of an innovative set of multisensory tools designed for children at an intermediate stage between weaning and using traditional cutlery. This period of life marks the child’s introduction to new foods, as well as new textures, and is crucial for developing familiarity with foods. The set, consisting of three elements – a fork, knife and spoon – is designed to be 3D printed using biodegradable materials. It acts as an introductory tool to cutlery, offering a playful and sensory approach to prevent food neophobia. With this innovative solution, children can explore food through senses and play, facilitating a faster and more natural transition to using classic cutlery. The creators, Alice Milan, Francesco Nepa and Marco Sabato, have helped create an educational and sustainable object to accompany children at this very important stage of development.


  1. Matematica Superpiatta

 Lastly, “Matematica Superpiatta” is an educational video game designed to make learning math a fun and engaging experience for kids ages 8 to 12, as well as for teachers who decide to open the door to the new frontiers of school education. This video game, which we discussed in depth in this article, is an educational video game designed to make learning math a fun and engaging experience for kids ages 8 to 12, as well as for teachers who decide to open the door to the new frontiers of school education. This video game, which we discussed in depth in this article, turns math into an interactive adventure, offering a sandbox environment where players can collect, create and destroy number blocks to solve a variety of math puzzles. Activities are specially designed to engage students in mathematical discussions and cover specific topics for all grades in the age range indicated. The versatility of the video game is demonstrated by its use in both elementary and middle schools, in-person and remotely, through its dedicated web app. The authors, Leonardo Guidoni, Davide Ubaldi, Silvia Baccaro and Antonella Malatesta, have helped develop an innovative educational tool that makes math a stimulating and accessible adventure for young students.


Maker Faire Rome – The European Edition has been committed since its very first editions to make innovation accessible and usable to all, with the aim of not leaving anyone behind. Its blog is always updated and full of opportunities and inspiration for makers, makers, startups, SMEs and all the curious ones who wish to enrich their knowledge and expand their business, in Italy and abroad.

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