School's out and suddenly long days of uninterrupted boredom
loom on the horizon. But what if you were the type of parent who
could turn a pizza box into a solar oven to bake chocolate chip
cookies? Or maybe gather the kids to launch a water balloon from a
catapult you help them create from a coat hanger, rubber band and
If you're thinking, "There's no way I could figure out how to do
either of those," you might want to visit the Museum of Science and
Industry's website. The museum's free, online science
program-Summer Brain Games-offers eight weeks of at-home
experiments for families done with no-cost or low-cost items.
The all-ages activities were designed by the museum's team of
educators, who came up with ideas that fit the summer theme and
could be done mostly with items people have around the house, says
Nicole Kowrach, director of teaching and learning at MSI.
"So yesterday's pizza box can be used to build a solar oven.
It's pretty cool and it's amazing just how hot those ovens can
get," Kowrach said. And yes, they did bake chocolate chip cookies
The Brain Games program includes all instructions needed to walk
even the most science-deficient parents through each
"The idea is that we want parents to be thinking about engaging
with science. It's fun and you don't have to have complicated
equipment or background knowledge to do these experiments with your
children," Kowrach said.
By signing up for the online program, kids also receive a pass
for a free child's admission to MSI. To sign up, visit msichicago.org/summerbrain.
Liz DeCarlo is the former senior editor at Chicago Parent.
See more of Liz's stories here.
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