PNC Tinkering for Tots

Pre-School Program

Greenfield Village

Special Event at Greenfield Village®

  • Second Monday of each Month (August - October)
  • Time: 10am - noon

Free with Village admission.

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Tactile Learning. Encourage tiny hands to touch, twist and crinkle with age-appropriate activities created to build a foundation for lifelong, hands-on exploring and making. Compare, contrast and combine new materials each month in a screen-free environment where caregivers and tots collaborate on a pre-engineering journey that crosses curricula.

Hands-on Making. What does a brush sound like as it moves across paper? How does sand feel between fingers? Try out kid-scale crafts designed to support development of motor skills and creative thinking.

Exploring Artifacts. Take a kid’s-eye look at hidden gems in the museum and village to uncover surprising connections between materials and artifacts. Dig deeper with guidance from our experts and special guests to find the unexpected right before your eyes.

Inspiring Stories. Tame the wiggles and squirms with big ideas. How can we learn from others? How can we conquer a fear? Boost creative thinking and language development with stories chosen to inspire big dreams.

PNC Tinkering for Tots activities are based in material science using the frame of “compare, contrast and combine” with innovation learning through the habits of Model I, The Henry Ford’s innovation learning framework.

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

Featured Events:


September 9: Rubber and Metal Materials

This month, we continue the Engineering 101 materials themes by taking a fresh look at two previously explored materials: Rubber and Metal. We will compare these two materials and see what can be made and used when you combine the two materials.

Hands-on Activities:
  1. Discover How These Materials are Used - Wright Cycle Shop window and Mattox House
    - Cruise over to both a Wright Cycle and the Mattox Home to see how rubber and metal helps move us from place to place and preserve our food.
  2. What are Combine and contract Rubber and Metal? - McGuffey School
    - Explore where these two materials come from and their many uses, both individually and together.
  3. Crafting - Miller School
    - Join us as we make lovely music by combining rubber and metal.
Inspiring Stories - McGuffey School
Join our storyteller, who will read stories to inspire your Tinkering Tot. Today’s featured stories include Bouncy Tires by Mary Tillworth and Drum City by Thea Guidone.

Artifact of the Day this month
Menlo Lab – Edison had a find collection of instruments, and various materials he used in his experiments. See if you can find different uses for these two materials.

October 14: Wood and Metal Materials

This month, we continue the Engineering 101 materials themes by taking a fresh look at two previously explored materials: Metal & wood materials. We will compare, contrast these two materials and find out how they are often combined.

Hands-on Activities:
  1. Compare, Contrast and Combine - Village Pavilion
    - Let’s review why wood and metal are both useful materials and then discover what can be made when you combine these two materials.
  2. Crafting with wood & metal - Village Pavilion
    - Makers love to create with metal and wood. Join us and make a useful item for your home.
  3. Exploring what can be made with metal and wood - Ford Motor Company and Menlo Park Machine Shop
    - Explore these two buildings to see how metal and wood help create useful machines.
Inspiring Stories - Miller Schoolhouse
Join our storyteller, who will read stories to inspire your Tinkering Tot. Today’s featured stories include Tool Book by Gail Gibbons, and Ada Twist, Scientist, by Andrea Beaty and David Roberts

Artifact of the Day this month
Railroad Roundhouse – Visit this massive building to see how the workers here create huge locomotives from metal and wood.

Future Themes inside The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation®:

November 11: Exploring Plastics and Metal
December 9: Exploring Paper and Fabric

Ticket Prices

Parking is $6 per vehicle for nonmembers, free for members.

Greenfield Village

    Member Non­member
Senior (62+) Free $25.25
General Admission (12-61) Free $28.00
Youth (5-11) Free $21.00
Children (4 & Under) Free Free

* Ticket prices are subject to change.