AIR FAIR at Chicago Children’s Museum a delight for kids

A trip to Chicago Children’s Museum is always a great time. Right now the museum is really knocking it out of the park with an embarrassment of riches. On top of their FORTS exhibit and the ZOOM ROOM exhibit (which was just extended by two weeks due to popular demand) they have opened up AIR FAIR, their latest interactive installation.

If you go

When: March 1, 2014 – March 31, 2014

Where: Chicago Children’s

700 E. Grand Ave. at Navy Pier, Chicago

(312) 527-1000

Cost: Free with admission

AIR FAIR is set up carnival style with different stations for the kids to visit and explore the wonders of wind power. I brought my 4 ½-year-old daughter and her friend to the museum on Friday to check it out. They absolutely loved it.

AIR FAIR is on the second floor in the main exhibit hall. The anchor of the exhibit is Make it Fly, where visitors are invited to build their own flying contraptions out of cups, tape and crepe paper. The kids are then encouraged to test them out in vertical wind tunnels. The museum staff was great about interacting with the kids and asking them to hypothesize about what sends the contraptions up, what happened to their specific model and what would happen if they changed certain elements of their aircraft.

Other areas of the exhibit include:

Hit the Target: Kids will love launching foam rockets through targets way up high. How much force do you need to use to get them through the targets? You’ll find out.

The Wall of Fans: Here kids can explore what massive volumes of air can do in the wall of fans. My daughter loved playing with the scarves and parachutes and seeing what happened as she moved closer and further away from the great blasts of air.

Air Cannons: What’s more fun than stacking up cups and containers into tall towers and then using air canons to knock’em down. This station encourages kids to investigate how much force is needed to knock them over. Does a taller tower make it easier or harder to blow it down? How much wind power is required to make a pinwheel spin?

Art & Air: One of the best kept secrets about the museum is the art studio downstairs, off the gift shop. This is one of our favorite areas to frequent. Every month, the museum offers different hands-on creative activities lead by trained art educators and visiting artists. This month if you drop in, you’ll test your abilities to paint a picture without any tools (hint: yes, you can create art with air).

AIR FAIR is definitely worth a visit before it’s gone like the wind at the end of the month. The exhibit will only take about 30-40 minutes to get through, so plan to extend your stay at the museum by checking out the water exploration room, climbing the massive two-story rope climbing course and the FORTS room.

Program times and dates can vary (especially the studio) so be sure to check their website to plan your visit.

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