Nature and Science
The Nature and Science programs at Wonder Works include a broad range of hands-on activities for young children, created and implemented by Wonder Works’ resident scientist and early learning specialist, Eric Gyllenhaal. Nature and Science at Wonder Works takes place second Fridays from 10am until noon and is covered by General Admission.
- Each Friday of each month we present a range of activities related to topic for that week: Some activities are playful and fun for all. Other activities are a bit more focused, aimed at children with a deeper interest in the topic.
- Most activities are suitable for all ages. Some activities are aimed at toddlers, and others at 4-years old and up.
- Eric and his volunteers work directly with the children on some activities. Other activities are self-directed or need the child’s caregiver to lend a hand.
The Wonder Works’ Nature and Science program includes a broad range of topics that will develop a number of early childhood skills. These include age-appropriate math, from counting to sorting to spatial reasoning; engineering related themes; use of various technologies such as magnifiers and digital microscopes, and scientific principles such as experimentation, discovery and cause and effect. Every week also includes an art or craft project in North Avenue Artworks.
Friday, August 3: Fun with Magnets
Children will have fun with magnets, playing magnet games, learning about magnetic fields and doing magnet related craft activities.
Friday, August 10: Bubbles for Fun and Learning
Bubbles, Bubbles and more Bubbles. Two hours of bubble fun for the whole family. Kids will make giant bubbles, tiny bubbles, magic bubbles and so much more.
Friday, August 17: Transportation Works
Let gravity do the work as you race toy cars down ramps. Then let spinning wheels propel toy cars in loop-de-loops around a battery-powered raceway. There will also be more wooden trains than usual, plus an O-scale model railway where you can take your turn as engineer. The play-dough table will be set up as a construction site, with diggers, dump trucks, and plastic construction workers. You’ll find more construction vehicles in our pebble-filled pool and in the art-room sandbox.
Friday, August 24: What's Inside
Today we will use our senses of touch, hearing, and sight to discover what’s inside a variety of natural and human-make objects. Reach inside a box and let your sense of touch tell you what it holds. Shake a container to see if you can tell what’s inside just by listening. You can look at X-rays of skeletons and look inside toys to see if we can figure out how they work. There also will be magic tricks that you can figure out once you look below the surface.
Friday, August 31: Rocks for Play and Learning
We will have lots of rocks at Wonder Works today, including big rocks to touch, smaller rocks to sort, and tiny rocks to sift from the art-room sandbox. You also can collect coal hauled by our O-scale model railway, pieces of geode, and rocks of many different colors. The play-dough table will be set up as a quarry, where diggers and dump trucks excavate rocks and wooden trains haul them all away.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need to register in advance?
No registration is required, the Wonder Works' Nature and Science program is a drop-in program. Children can spend as much or as little time as they wish exploring the day's activities, and can come and go as they please.
How should I dress?
Some of the activities can be a little dirty, such as digging through soil to find bugs, but there shouldn't be anything that will stain clothing.
Is my child old enough?
Yes, your child is old enough. From toddlers to preschoolers, through first and second graders, there is something for everyone, each and every week.
Are there other related activities going on at the same time?
We try to have at least one art project in North Avenue Art Works correlate with the current week's Nature and Science Theme.
What do I get to take home?
Take homes vary week to week, some weeks children take home their art work from North Avenue Art Works, others they also take home collections of rocks, shark teeth or sand box treasures and more.