Okay. What happened. Where did the summer go? (Did we even have a summer with all the rain and cool temps?) As we draw near to the beginning of a new school year, I’m scrambling to get back-to-school clothes, shoes and supplies ready. With only a week left of summer break, maybe it’s time to dust off the cobwebs that may be lingering in our kids’ brains (*ahem…mine, too). What better way to rev up their grey matter than a trip to the Ontario Science Centre to play, to create and to connect at the Inventorium exhibit.
Located at the Proctor and Gamble Great Hall on Level 2, Inventorium is a playground of sorts. There are different hands-on and interactive experiences scattered throughout the space for both kids and adults alike. This new visitor experience encourages people to use their creativity in many hands-on interactive encounters. Inventorium was created with support from Ontario150 and the collaboration of Ontario Science Centre’s scientists, designers, writers, and craftspeople and academic partners from several Ontario universities.
The first thing you’ll notice is Web Weave, the huge web-like structure made entirely of tape! Kids and adults are encouraged to wrap, reinforce, weave a giant web with nothing but clear packing tape. Learning about tensile strength, the web is strong enough to carry adults (don’t worry, there’s fibreglass tape used as well to support my summer ice cream figure!). This was truly my 10-year-old’s happy place. He had unlimited supply of tape and literally went to town with it. My son loves building things with tape and cardboard, so you can imagine the ear-to-ear grin plastered on his face.
For my husband, he gravitated to Maker Bean Café because the smell of coffee lured him in like flies to honey. With a cappuccino in hand, we designed our own laser-cut wooden coasters and watched them get made. Very cool! The Maker Bean Café also makes wooden luggage tags (I’m thinking of using them for my kids’ school backpacks)!
Just next to the Maker Café is a huge pod-like pavillion filled with plants called The Growroom, a vertical garden designed by the Space10 Ikea Lab. I found myself standing in it thinking of all the green thumbs who would love this. Meanwhile my teenage daughter hung out at the Tech Bar using Virtual Reality (VR) goggles to immerse herself in space and underwater. There is even an augmented reality t-shirt on display that brings your internal organs to life! Super cool!
If there’s a budding engineer in your life, the Act. React. Interact. station is the place to be. There are 6 double-sided, free-standing pegboards for your little inventor to use pipes, angled brackets, elbow joints, wingnuts, bolts and eyehooks and every gizmo and doohickey to build their very own kinetic structure. For my son, this came a close second for him on the fun factor.
There is simply too much to list all the different amazing exhibits here. Inventorium is a space driven by one’s own curiosity whether it be paper folding, drawing your own inventions for a chance to be selected for a creation, or even designing your own insect and outfitting it with a motor and race to pollinate flowers. This hands-on learning space is the perfect playground for your mind and imagination. We literally had to pull our kids away to eat lunch. They were having that much fun. More importantly, Inventorium was an opportunity to spark a passion to test out the “what ifs” in a fun way. In fact, we have set up our own pegboard at home after being inspired by what we did and my son has amassed a collection of his own thing-a-ma-bobs and whatcha-call-its.
Inventorium runs until January 7, 2018 and is included with your admission into the Ontario Science Centre.