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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 most every Friday 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.

September Activities

September 20: Transportation Works
Today we’ll have planes, trains, automobiles, and more at Wonder Works! Let gravity do the work as you race toy cars down ramps. Then let spinning wheels propel toy cars into 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.

September 27: Collecting Nature
Children and their adults can learn about the natural world when they collect rocks, fossils, shells, bones, seeds, cones, or other objects produced by nature. At our Collecting Nature program, you can view, touch, sort, classify, learn about, and play with our nature collections from around the world. You can also jump-start your own nature collection: Sift through the sandbox to find rocks and shells you can either keep or trade at the Nature Collector’s Swap Shop. At the Swap Shop you can also trade in natural objects you bring from home.

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 may include collections of rocks, shark teeth or sand box treasures and more.