A Peoria Park District Facility

Maker Space

The mission of the Peoria PlayHouse Children’s Museum is to help children become explorers and creators of the world. In the museum’s Real Tools space young visitors create anything and everything using hammers, drills, saws, glue guns, and more.

The PlayHouse also offers related programs, focused on helping children become confident and creative young makers.

Real Tools

This circular room, just behind the museum’s main entrance, 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 hammers, screwdrivers, and pliers, but children can also ask for saws, drills, glue guns, box cutters, wood burning tools, and more. In this space children have created everything from a life-sized flamingo to musical instruments to doll furniture.

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.

Real Tools is made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.


Additional Maker Programs

Maker Workshops

Kids and families learn to use tools, experiment with different types of making, and think creatively in PlayHouse Maker Workshops. This program is designed for kids 3-12 years old. All children under 8 must be accompanied by an adult. Registration is required and closes the Wednesday prior to the workshop. Maker Workshops are offered on select Saturdays from 2-4pm.

Maker Workshop: Make Your Own Superhero Cape
2:00 pm
Maker Workshop: Make Your Own Superhero Cape April 6, 2019 | 2-4PM $12 Member / $18 Non-member Using basic sewing machine skills and your imagination, design and make super hero capes that fit your unique[...]
May 4 @ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Maker Workshop: High Tech Fashion
2:00 pm
Make cool accessories such as bracelets, hairclips, buttons, and more, and then…light them up! We’ll use conductive thread and basic circuitry to make your creations shine! In PlayHouse Maker Workshops, kids and families learn to[...]
Jun 1 @ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Maker Workshop: Bird House Basics
2:00 pm
Maker Workshop: Bird House Basics June 1, 2019 | 2-4PM $12 Member / $18 Non-member Using lumber, as well as vintage, natural, and recycled materials, build an amazing backyard home for a feathered friend. In[...]
Jul 6 @ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Maker Workshop: Mosaic Magic
2:00 pm
Maker Workshop: Mosaic Magic July 6, 2019 | 2-4PM $12 Member / $18 Non-member Work with colored glass and other fun and unexpected materials to create a masterpiece for your home or garden. In PlayHouse[...]

We made this!

Maker Resources

River City Labs is our local maker space for adults and older children. They have family memberships, as well as individual memberships for adults. Check out their website.

Teacher Tuesdays, run by the University of Illinois Extension, is a consortium of maker-related organizations and committed educators. More information can be found here.



The Peoria PlayHouse Children's Museum

The Peoria PlayHouse Children's Museum