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Finding Treasure in the Sand Box
Experimenting with Ramps
Checking out the Fossil Collection
A few Geodes
Young Paleontologists Excavating Fossils
Discovering Bones in the Forest

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 nearly every Friday, from 10am until noon and is covered by General Admission.

  • Each Friday we present a range of activities related to topic of the 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.

July's Activities

July 14: Air-powered Toys
Moving air can power airplanes, helicopters, boats, and many other kinds of vehicles. At this week’s program, you can launch a paper helicopter, drop a parachute, release a balloon-powered vehicle, help the wind-blow sailboats across the water, and fly aircraft powered by your imagination. You can also make your own burst of wind using an empty plastic jug or our more powerful air cannon.

July 21: Electric toys and Magnets

Today’s focus will be on current electricity, as we make electric circuits that light bulbs, run a motor, or play music. You can also play with toys powered by batteries and take a turn as engineer with our O-scale electric railroad. We will peek inside some battery-powered toys to figure out how they work. There will be lots of magnetic construction materials to build with, plus magnets to explore in the art-room sandbox—see what sticks to magnets, and what does not.

July 28: 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 transport coal and iron ore on our O-scale model railway and collect rocks of many different colors. The play-dough table will be set up as a quarry, where diggers and dump trucks excavate rocks and crystals 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.