Tinkering for Tots

Preschool Program

Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation

Special Event at Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation®

  • January-May 2023
  • Time: 10:00 a.m.- 12:00 p.m.

Free for members or with museum admission.

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Little learners get hands on, minds on at Tinkering for Tots: A program designed for curious preschoolers to develop an innovative mindset and make connections through storytelling, play, artifact exploration and a take home STEAM activity kit.

Tinkering for Tots explorations and activities are based on The Henry Ford’s innovation learning framework, Model i. Your little learner will build an innovative mindset by exploring new ideas, overcoming challenges, and working with others.

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


January 10, 2023

Habit: What are we learning?

  • Learn from Failure: Try again. What’s another way to … ? What can we do different to make it work?

Story: What are we reading?

  •  The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires

Artifact of the day: Where are we going?

  • Location: Dymaxion House

Open Exploration: What are we doing?

  • Practicing learning from failure by tinkering with a variety of tools and materials.

Take Home Activity: What are we making?

  • Young learners will make their own magnificent thing at home or in the classroom with a take home inventors box.



February 14, 2023

Habit: What are we learning?

  • Challenge the Rules: Use your imagination! Do we have to do something the same way every time? Is there a better way to do something? If an action is wrong, how can we help fix or change it?

Story: What are we reading?

  •  My Voice is a Trumpet by Jimmie Allen

Artifact of the day: Where are we going?

  • Location: With Liberty and Justice for All – Martin Luther King Jr.

Open Exploration: What are we doing?

  • Practicing creativity while playing with open ended stacking toys.

Take Home Activity: What are we making?

  • Young learners will make their own trumpets at home or in the classroom.



March 14, 2023

Habit: What are we learning?

  • Take Risks: Try something new. Be brave! Let’s do this a new way. Let’s make something new.

Story: What are we reading?

  •  What Do You Do with A Chance by Kobi Yamada

Artifact of the day: Where are we going?

  • Replica of the 1903 Wright Flyer

Open Exploration: What are we doing?

  • Practicing trying new things and taking safe risks during play.

Take Home Activity: What are we making?

  • Young learners will make their own flying machines out of straws and paper at home or in the classroom.



April 11, 2023

Habit: What are we learning?

  • Be Empathetic: How would that make you feel? How do you think that makes someone else feel?

Story: What are we reading?

  •  When We Are Kind by Monique Gray Smith

Artifact of the day: Where are we going?

  • Silent Spring by Rachel Carson

Open Exploration: What are we doing?

  • Practicing kindness and empathy while playing with magnetic building tiles.

Take Home Activity: What are we making?

  • Young learners will make toilet paper roll bird feeders and binoculars at home or in the classroom.



May 9, 2023

Habit: What are we learning?

  • Stay Curious: Keep asking questions like “how” and “why?” Ask how you can help solve a problem. Or what is a new way to do something?

Story: What are we reading?

  •  Miguel's Community Garden by JaNay Wood-Brown

Artifact of the day: Where are we going?

  • Microscope used by George Washington Carver

Open Exploration: What are we doing?

  • Practicing curiosity through play with light tables.

Take Home Activity: What are we making?

  • Young learners will make their own microscopes to explore the world around them at home or in the classroom.




Members Visit Free

Become a member for free admission to PNC Tinkering for Tots, plus free admission to the museum and village all year long. Not a member yet? Learn more or join today.

Ticket Prices

Parking is $9 per vehicle for nonmembers, free for members.

Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation

    Member Non­member
Senior (62+) Free $27.00
General Admission (12-61) Free $30.00
Youth (5-11) Free $22.50
Children (4 & Under) Free Free

* Ticket prices are subject to change.




This program was made possible with support from:
pnc_foundation_tinkeringfortots