Prepare your child for the school year with a boost from MSI Chicago's Summer Brain Games

Access a variety of fun, hands-on experiments in science, technology, engineering, and math for your family to do together at home, using common household materials and easy-to-follow activity guides. These activities from the experts at Museum of Science and Industry Chicago will reignite your children's love for learning and discovery.

Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago

With schools set to operate in a dramatically different fashion for children across the world, families are finding ways to foster learning at home. Museum of Science and Industry (MSI) Chicago's Summer Brain Games program is here to help: Parents can access an array of activity guides on the museum's website for kids ages 6 to 12 in both English and Spanish, developed by museum experts to encourage families to explore STEM through city systems like the subway, sanitation, and the electrical grid.


From the comforts of home, you and your budding brainiacs can get hands-on with science, technology, engineering, and math using materials you likely have in your kitchen, toy box, backyard, or nearby park. MSI's games help to recreate the classroom experience in innovative ways and are sure to inspire your little scientist, engineer, or architect at a time when kids need educational support more than ever.


Whether your child is interested in building skyscrapers, making maps, racing with balloons, or discovering the best ways to remove gum from a shoe using molecular chemistry, you'll find an awe-inspiring experiment that everyone in your household will enjoy. You can even make your own ecosystem in a terrarium, or conduct electricity with your own homemade circuit made of aluminum foil and holiday lights. Check out the full list here:


  • Engineering with Skyscrapers: Be the architect of your own skyscraper! Start with planning and experimentation, then construct recycled buildings that can withstand all sorts of conditions.


  • Understanding Scale with Mapmaking: Choose your space, survey, plan, and scale your own map. Discover how cartographers, geographers, and city planners decide where to build.


  • Learning the Laws of Motion with Balloon Racers: Make your own breeze on a hot day and learn about Newton's third law of motion at the same time. Challenge someone to a race, experiment with different types of balloons, and even make your racer into one of Chicago's elevated train cars!


  • Testing Molecular Structures with Gum: Experiment with different substances to get sticky gum off a shoe. Sanitation workers experiment with a variety of techniques to remove gum from surfaces. What do you think works best to remove gooey gum?


  • Making Ecosystems with a Terrarium: Craft an ecosystem in a jar for a bug's-eye view of science! Watch a community of plants, animals, and smaller organisms live, eat, and interact in the same area.



  • Solving Problems with Sound Design: Design a solution to make loud sounds quieter (shh!). Engineers and designers think about how to control loud sounds when they design city structures. Can you design something that reduces noise?


  • Sparking Electricity with City Circuits: Build a simple electric circuit from aluminum foil and a string of holiday lights to learn about what conducts electricity (and what doesn't). Explore how an electric circuit can be as simple as a flashlight or as complicated as a city power grid.


There's nothing better for setting off sparks for science early on in life than performing hands-on experiments with the family. Get started with these eight inspiring STEM activities, and register online at to get a free family four-pack of admission tickets to visit MSI Chicago in person (one voucher per household).