Tinkering Lab - Chicago Children's Museum (and Navy Pier)

The tinkering lab is a place to build small “shop” projects. It looks intimidating for young kids as you go in, but kids of any age are welcome. Everyone must put on safety glasses, and employees are active in ensuring that rule is followed. The glasses will fit decently for kids 5 and up, although I’ve gone in with 3-year-olds but the glasses kept falling off.

The 3-year-olds certainly enjoyed hammering and sawing, but it takes until about 5 before I felt the kids could do much to actually contribute and build a full project. Themes vary, but recent themes included building cars or objects that roll, building objects that can fly, and simply “hammer time.” On lighter days, you can get a fair amount of help from employees; on busier days you’re more on your own. Take your time and look around the room to see the options for materials and tools.