If you and your child enjoy S.T.E.M. (science, technology, engineering and math) activities or you simply want fun hands-on activities, the Thinkery, in Austin, is the place for you!
We recently took our first trip to the Thinkery, with a three year old and a one year old in tow. Everyone had a wonderful time.
One of the first things through the door was a train table. This boy has trains and track at home but NOT on a table. This was so exciting to him. We had a hard time convincing him to leave the table and go see all the other fun things the Thinkery had.
The next area we came to was the Innovators’ Workshop. Within this exhibit was Build Landscape. There were all kinds of wheels, pulleys, etc., you could build with. Keagan was still a little upset at us for pulling him away from the trains so he didn’t stop to build. That’s okay, that gives us something to do on another trip to the Thinkery.
Here were some other gears and construction activities to explore.
The one year old and mommy enjoyed the magnetic wall with the “magic” wooden pieces. Keagan finally came over and joined them.
Keagan did enjoy the opportunity to paint and squeegee a window. He even asked to go back to this area later in the day.
All of us enjoyed the Micro Eye. There were several microscopes with plenty of interesting items to examine. The pictures were projected on the wall so we could all enjoy them. Daddy even showed Keagan how to put his hand under the microscope and examine his own skin.
The next area, I believe, was Amaya’s favorite. This area is called the Spark Shop and is a place where children can explore the concepts of aerodynamics. She spent a long time placing ping pong balls in the wall and watching them disappear.
Amaya also loved the beach balls floating on air. I was actually surprised at how coordinated she was at grabbing the floating ball off the column of air. The young man working in the area was very sweet and helpful. He got a stool for Amaya and turned the apparatus so that the ball floated a little closer to her. She spent a lot of time here too.
Keagan loved the floating scarves. I must say that I enjoyed watching them shoot up into the air myself.
Daddy and Keagan were able to create their own flying machines. You took a basic body from one basket, wings and a tail from another, and then put them together. You then take them over to the special launcher, load it up and push the button. You can try to go for distance or attempt to shoot it through a hanging hoop. Keagan shot it through the hoop on the first try.
I believe the Light Lab was my daughter’s and my favorite area. She loved the Frozen Shadows. You stand against a wall and this special camera takes a “picture”. You step away and your shadow is displayed on the wall. Brittany (my adult daughter) “played” in there quite a while. She kept trying to get the kids excited about it but they weren’t nearly as interested as she was. I do have to admit, it was pretty fascinating.
I especially liked the over sized “Lite Brite” table and walls, in the Light Lab. My grand-daughter loved it too.
One area that looked like a lot of fun but we didn’t attempt was the Currents. It is a water play area. Although they do have big plastic smocks to put on, kids were coming out soaking wet. We decided to pass this area up for another day when we bring a change of clothes.
We stopped by the Kitchen Lab. The adults were really interested but we couldn’t get the 3 and 1 year old to stand still long enough to listen. We were able to get a partial explanation of the food chain before the kids were on the run. That’s okay. Again, we will have something to look forward to on a future visit.
Let’s Grow was another area that both kids spent quite a lot of time at. Keagan loved “shopping” for food and then taking it to the kitchen and preparing it. He took quite a while preparing something for Mommy and Daddy while I was off playing with Amaya.
Although there was a special play area for babies, Amaya, at 15 months, does not see herself as a baby and spent the time playing on the mats with the big kids.
As we were winding down our visit, they were making an announcement about a storytime in the Story Nook. We decided we would catch storytime on another visit.
We weren’t able to get to the outside play area because it was a rainy day. As you can tell, we have plenty of reasons to return to the Thinkery. We had a blast at the areas we encountered and there are several things that we missed and look forward to doing in the future.
Admission prices are reasonable at $10 per person, children 0 to 23 months old are free. There is a $2 discount for military and up to five of their family members.
Have you been to the Thinkery before? I would love to hear about your visit. Maybe you were able to experience some of the areas we weren’t.