With summer on its way and never-ending days of activities to fill, we decided to dig up some new and interesting options that might deserve a visit.

American Science and Surplus

This store has both an online presence as well as brick and mortar stores.  It sells pretty much IMG_1526anything from the absurd to the sublime.  Kids and adults will find all kinds of interesting kitschy tchotchkes, lab supplies and science kits, and arts and crafts.  Today I found tiny finger puppets in the shape of hands for $4.95, velociraptor bones model kit for $24.95, and a $17.50 electromagnet for at-home physics projects.

It’s the kind of place you can stop in a grab something or make it a destination. It’s easy to wander around for hours with your nerdlings looking at all kinds of interesting science stuff.  Also, keep a look out for their free science nights. The last one offered a free evening of hands-on science experiments, interactive demos, telescope and microscope viewing and a science scavenger hunt with a science kit for each child that competed.

IMG_1525American Science and Surplus has two Chicagoland locations, 5316 N. Milwaukee Avenue, 33W361 Roosevelt Road (route 38) – ¼ mile East of Kirk Road in Geneva, and 6901 W. Oklahoma, Milwaukee, WI

Woolly Mammoth Antiques and Oddities

1315 W. Foster Avenue, Chicago

ElkDoes your nerdling enjoy the dinosaur bones and the animal dioramas in the Chicago Museum
of Natural History?  If you’re looking for a change of pace, you might want to check out Woolly Mammoth Antiques and Oddities.  However, this little gem is not for the faint of heart, or kids who are easily grossed out. It’s filled with vintage and antique taxidermy, unusual medical devices, bones and teeth, and all type of other curiosities.  A visit to Woolly Mammoth Antiques and Oddities should prove to be educational and surprising for the whole family!

Robot City Workshop

3326 N. Sheffield Avenue

photo-4-454x270Robotics has become extremely popular with kids. In fact my own son is a member of his high school robotics team.  He happily spends three-to-four afternoons a week designing, building and testing his robot for competition.  If your child’s school doesn’t have a robotics program, it might be fun to visit Robot City Workshop. They offer three levels of beginner workshops for kids as young as 5. The lesson is $35 + the cost of the robot kits and batteries.  If you have more than one child, the cost of each additional child (in a beginner class) is $15 + the cost of the robot kits and batteries.  This store also offers intermediate and advanced level workshops. The advanced workshops seem to focus on teaching specific skill sets that participants can then use to build their own robots at home.  The downside to their programs seems to be the derth of creativity allowed within  in the workshops, but it’s still worth checking out.