Wonder Experiment


Experiment focuses on asking questions and searching for answers, something both young children and scientists do. At its core is Wonder Wheels, our vehicle of science. The interior houses a variety of  laboratory-style experiments, where children can ask questions and test their own theories in simple lab activities. Children can experiment with role-playing at the vehicle front, where three steering wheels, bench seating, materials, tools and costumes, allow them to take the wheel and take part in some cooperative pretend-play. Outside the vehicle caregivers and their children can explore self-directed ‘Wonder Boxes’ or participate in staff-led activities.

When your child is playing in the EXPERIMENT area….

Children and their parents can work together on a variety of tabletop activities, experiments, and projects in the Wonder Bus. Scientists and young children share similar curiosities about the world, and often question what they observe. In the Science Lab space in the Wonder Bus, children can use age-appropriate scientific tools and participate in rotating activities. When they explore the Wonder Boxes, children can ask and answer their own questions by making observations and simple measurements in an array of self-guided activities.

Parents can learn more about their child’s development in the Parent Resources area, and gain a better understanding of the research methods used and questions addressed in developmental studies. This area is designed to help parents learn that their own attitudes about science affect the way they engage their children in science.

What does the research say?

A science-positive atmosphere is a fundamental component of children’s continued science education success. In fact, children are more confident in science-based activities when they practice science concepts with their parents at home.

Parents tend to interpret science exhibits more for sons than for daughters when visiting science centers, suggesting that parents’ implicit gendered attitudes about science may be promoting a gender gap in children’s later scientific pursuits.

Children are curious and explore their environments to gather more information much like scientists do. They create and test “theories in action.”  In fact, child-driven exploration can be more beneficial to learning and discovery than adult-guided instruction, especially when playing with new toys that have hidden functions. Explicit instructions limit children’s exploration with new toys.

Play is learning. High-quality pretend play can influence the development of perspective-taking and problem-solving abilities in children, and it has also been associated with increased linguistic ability as well as higher-level cognitive skills.

Wonder Areas