PNC Tinkering for Tots

Pre-School Program

Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation

Special Event at Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation®

  • October 8, November 12, December 10, 2020
  • Time: 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Free with Museum admission.

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Little learners get a head full of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) with our contactless special programming. Designed for curious preschoolers, our inspired yet playful activities focus on themed materials and then expand outward with storytelling, artifact exploration, and take-home crafts.

PNC Tinkering for Tots activities are based in material science using the frame of “compare, contrast and combine” with innovation learning through the habits of Model I, The Henry Ford’s innovation learning framework.

These activities combine a number of national standards for preschool curriculum as defined by the National Center on Early Childhood Development, Teaching and Learning and Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework. 

Use our Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation Map to help you navigate through the museum while following new guidelines for a safe and enjoyable visit.

Featured Events:


October 8: Metal and Fabric

This month we will continue the Engineering 101 materials theme by exploring the awesome innovations that are made when you combine metal and fabric.

Exploration Activities:

While exploring The Henry Ford Museum, search for innovations that combine metal and fabric.

  1. Gilkie Tent Trailer – Driving America and Tomato Harvester – Agriculture
    - Explore the Gilkie Tent Trailer and Tomato Harvester to see how metal and fabric work together to make these innovations.
  2. Exploded” Model T – Museum Plaza 
    - Create a chenille stick and yarn spider web using this take-home STEAM activity kit. (While supplies last)
Inspiring Stories
“Exploded” Model T – Museum Plaza - 10 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. 
Join our storyteller for book readings that will inspire your Tinkering Tot. Today’s featured story is What Do You Do With an Idea? By Kobi Yamada, Illustrated by Mae Besom.  

Artifact of the Day
“Exploded” Model T – Made In America - Manufacturing – Henry Ford introduced his Model T on October 1, 1908. Soon, people drove cars everywhere and couldn’t imagine a world without them. It is a great artifact to study metal and fabric together. Visit to learn more. 


November 12: Wood and Fabric

This month we will continue the Engineering 101 materials theme by exploring the awesome innovations that are made when you combine wood and fabric. 

Exploration Activities:
While exploring The Henry Ford Museum search for innovations that combine wood and fabric.    
  1. “Exploded” Eames Chair Prototype  – Fully Furnished and President Theodore Roosevelt’s 1902 broughamPresidential Vehicles 
    - Explore how wood and fabric work together to improve comfort in chairs and presidential vehicles. 
  2.  Wright Flyer – Heroes of the Sky 
    - Create a wood bead necklace using this take-home STEAM activity kit. (While supplies last)
Inspiring Stories
Wright Flyer – Heroes of the Sky - 10 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.
Join our storyteller for book readings that will inspire your Tinkering Tot. Today’s featured story is Mae Among the Stars By Roda Ahmed, Illustrated by Stasia Burrington 

Artifact of the Day
Wright Flyer – Heroes of the Sky – This full-size replica of the original 1903 Wright flyer was built to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Wright brothers’ first flight. It is a great artifact to study how wood and fabric work together. Visit to learn more.  

December 10: Plastic and Metal

This month we will continue the Engineering 101 materials theme by exploring the awesome innovations that are made when you combine plastic and metal. 

Exploration Activities:
While exploring The Henry Ford Museum, search for innovations that combine plastic and metal.
  1. Wienermobile  – Between Agriculture and Plum Market and The TelephonesBetween Made in America Manufacturing and With Liberty and Justice 
    - Explore how plastic and metal work together to improve everyday items.  
  2. Dymaxion House – Behind Marvel and next to Your Place in Time
    - Create chenille stick and plastic spoon ants using the take-home STEAM activity kit. (While supplies last)
Inspiring Stories
Dymaxion HouseBehind Marvel and next to Your Place in Time - 10 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.
Join our storyteller for book readings that will inspire your Tinkering Tot. Today’s featured story is The Most Magnificent Thing, written and illustrated by Ashley Spires 

Artifact of the Day
Dymaxion House – Behind Marvel and next to Your Place in Time  – Buckminster Fuller designed this house to be shipped in a steal container to the homeowner. When assembled, it would be suspended from a central column. It is a great artifact to study how plastic and metal work together. Visit to learn more.  

Ticket Prices

Parking is $6 per vehicle for nonmembers, free for members.

Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation

    Member Non­member
Senior (62+) Free $22.50
General Admission (12-61) Free $25.00
Youth (5-11) Free $18.75
Children (4 & Under) Free Free

* Ticket prices are subject to change.