NOTE: Only general ideas are given for this theme. Be sure to explore ideas online or at your local library.
1. Magic tricks as science.
Resistant visitors might find “magic tricks” an alternative way to experience science. Check out the links in “Sites to Explore” or go online and see videos of these. Present a “magic show” and then have the exhibits explain the magic tricks. If you’re willing, you might even let your visitors recreate the tricks they’ve seen.
2. Brain teasers.
Find simple brainteasers to make your visitors think. Problem solving is a skill all scientists need. Check out the supplement below for a place to start.
3. Sort and more.
Providing items that can be grouped in different ways allows you to play games with sorting and matching. This might be by color, shape, use, material it’s made of and more. With your theme in mind, can you collect items that can be used this way? Can you run this as a relay game or a timed challenge?
4. Water fun.
What makes the Earth special? Water! Using a water park to teach science is the thing to do on a hot day. Of course, building your own water park might be a challenge for older visitors. Explore fun ways to add water that’s more than educational.
5. Obstacle course.
Instead of playing games, create an obstacle course. It can be silly or challenging. Look for unusual tasks for your course, not just running around cones.
6. Scavenger hunt.
Your scavenger hunt needs to be adjusted to work with the age of your visitors. Some ideas for scavenger hunts to work with your Science Center theme include:
- Clues — follow to destination
- Geometric shapes
- Senses — do one at a time or all together
Kids love collections. Your center might have something they can collect at every exhibit for visiting it and doing an activity there. You might have them collect something they can turn in to get a patch or button, cards that they can take home to show their family what they learned and more. What kinds of “collection” can you add to your center?
8. Online and video games.
Many online kid sites feature games, including science. While an entire exhibit for a video game might seem crazy, using a series of computers to look at multiple different games might be more interesting. In fact, we saw the “Game On” exhibit at the Museum of Science+ Industry that focused on the history of video games. How might this adjust your ideas of what an exhibit might contain?
9. Create games.
Create your own game based on your science theme. it might be a trivia card game or a board game. It might even be super-size and lead you through the exhibits. Check out the Enrichment Project “Printables: My Games” for some starting information.
Take a science inquiry or experiment and change it into a challenge. For example, instead of just building a structure out of marshmallows and toothpicks, challenge your visitors to see who can build the highest or which can hold the most weight. The excitement behind a challenge not only pushes you, but it helps groups work together with their best ideas to attempt something that just might be great. As you work on your themes, think about how you might make one or two a “challenge” instead of just an activity.
Game apps that include science are a great way to get kids excited about science. Check out the science games on your phone’s platform. Are there any you might be able to recommend as a continuation of your theme? Can you pull information from the app and enhance your exhibit?
12. Explore more!
Game technology can be incorporated into an exhibit, be used to highlight a part of it, as an entire exhibit or as a way to continue learning after visiting the Science Center. Keep your mind open for ways to include game technology in your center.
- Minibook: Brain Teasers
SUPP_PR_No Paddle Fan.pdf
- Printable: Paddle fan with “no”
SUPP_PR_Yes Paddle Fan.pdf
- Printable: Paddle fan with “yes”
- Different items you can collect with a science theme
- Scramble: Games
- Exhibit Planner — Pre-planning and testing questions
- Scientific Inquiry — Printables for use with any exhibit theme
- Printable tanagram puzzle
- Printable diagrams to start playing with your tanagram puzzle
- Grab ‘n’ Go: Paddle Fan
- Grab ‘n’ Go: Plastic Canvas Tanagram
Sites to Explore
To download a PDF of this badge program, click here: EP_SCX_Games