A Peoria Park District Facility

Innovation at Home

As a unique resource for the greater Peoria area, the Peoria PlayHouse Children’s Museum fosters next-generation problem solvers who will fundamentally change our community and our world.

Visits to the PlayHouse spark curiosity and creativity in all children, that they can continue to build upon between those visits. Even while the PlayHouse building is closed, we encourage children to continue making. Below are resources and strategies to help parents continue engaging their children in making.

Summer Maker Program

The PlayHouse's Summer Maker Program is now available online!

The Summer Maker Program, like all PlayHouse Maker Programs, is open-ended, process-based, and rooted in exploration. These challenges do not come with explicit directions and a pre-defined product; rather they are ideas that could lead to numerous different outcomes. We do not tell children what to make -- figuring out what to make is part of the learning process.

How to Participate:

Below is a "bingo card" with 16 challenges. You can complete these challenges in any order. Every Monday morning we will post instructions on social media for one challenge. However, you do not need to wait for these instructions if you are inspired! Past instructions can be accessed by clicking on the squares below.

As you complete challenges, share a photo with us using the submission form below the bingo card.  Please use the form once per challenge completed. With a week of receiving your submission, you will receive an emailed PDF of your bingo card with a new badge for that challenge. If you do all 16 challenges, you will collect all 16 badges on a single card!

Complete any 4 challanges before August 30, and we will contact you to mail or drop off a Dairy Queen coupon for you to enjoy.

Complete at least 14 of these maker challenges before August 30, and  be entered into a raffle to win an exclusive, two-hour session at the Peoria PlayHouse Children's Museum just for you and your family! (Pending city, state, and Park District policies, we may be able to allow you to invite a few friends, too.... stay tuned.)*

*Please note, due to the current situation, selected exhibits or exhibit portions may not be available if this takes place during our closure to the public.

Newspaper and tape
Delivery device
Make a mask

Summer Maker Program Submission Form

Submissions can also be emailed to maker@peoriaparks.org.

  • Drop files here or
    Accepted file types: jpeg, jpg, gif, png.
    Upload up to 4 images, allowed file extensions: jpeg, jpg, gif, png

Real Tools at Home

Real Tools is filled with work benches, stools, and bin after bin of materials: wood and wood scraps, different types of plastic, cork, cardboard, tape, fabric, hardware. Each work station is stocked with every tool a child could need to create anything from their imagination. In this space children have created everything from a life-sized flamingo to musical instruments to doll furniture.

Although we can't go into Real Tools right now, we still want to encourage kids to tinker, invent, innovate, and create at home.

An effective makerspace teaches children not only how to make, but how to invent. It teaches them to solve problems, and also compels them to find the problems that they want to solve. It challenges them not only to learn to use tools, but to identify the best tools for the task they want to complete. Each child is working on something different, which is what allows makerspaces to foster innovation and creativity.

Tips for creating a maker space at home

Create a dedicated space in your home for materials, tools, and finished products. This space can be as large as a corner of the living room or a bedroom, or as small as a shelf.


  • scissors (depending on the child's age we recommend safety scissors that young children can safely use independently)
  • a ruler
  • tapes - at least masking tape, and perhaps scotch tape and/or duct tape as well
  • a glue gun (perhaps stored elsewhere for use with adult supervision only!)


Though we may not all have access to a stocked tool-bench like in Real Tools, the very best tools available to any child is their hands! Save all of your recyclables to use as materials for making. Your supply list might include:

  • Recyclables, which may include paper towel and toilet paper tubes, empty cardboard boxes, bottle caps, bubble wrap and other packaging materials, empty jars, bottles, cans, wine corks, saved wrapping paper... and anything else that you can think of to save!
  • Craft materials, which may include any and all types of papers, pipe cleaners, plastic straws, buttons, ribbons, popsicle sticks.... and anything else you have available!
  • Drawing utensils, such as pens, pencils, crayons, and/or markers

Looking for more tips about making at home? Check out the PlayHouse-developed guide about integrating art and making into the lives of your young children: Make, Play, Everyday by Kate Gugliotta.

We made this!

The Peoria PlayHouse Children's Museum

The Peoria PlayHouse Children's Museum