Puzzle Pieces

Wonder Hour
STEM Storytime

Interactive read aloud with a mission in mind

Each Wonder Hour starts with a story. Years of teaching experience allows us to carefully choose a text that is engaging, exciting and presents a problem.  We start by introducing the Problem of the Day - what the kids are going to work together to solve. During the read aloud, we use research-backed reading comprehension strategies to ask age-appropriate questions and encourage tons of kid participation. The read aloud is a fun, high-energy experience and naturally helps to instill a love of reading.

Dive into a hands-on STEM Challenge

Once the book is over, it’s time to get to work on today’s STEM Challenge. We recall the Problem of the Day and through group discussion, we make connections to the text and start brainstorming solutions. We always take the time to learn about the provided materials, model safe usage, and review expectations. Teams work together to create, build or construct a solution to the problem from the story. The 4Cs of STEM are visible during this time - creativity, critical thinking, communication and collaboration. Kids are taking risks, working together and persevering through challenges. The energy is high, connections to the text are being made and relationships are being built!


As the end nears, teams get an opportunity to share their work and give each other feedback. We make connections to the text and talk about how we saw teamwork, creativity and grit. We do a quick clean up of the space and a last team cheer before wrapping things up for the day.

The Details

Age Range : Customized events for kids ages 3-12

Duration : Events range from 30-90 minutes in length

Capacity : We can host groups of up to 25 and we love to partner with local venues to create unique collaboration events!

Best for… in-school field trips, birthday parties, special events, STEM Family nights, community outreach events, and so much more!

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See the us in action

Check out recent events, the latest in the world of STEM and more!

Virtual Pop-up Parties!

With all the changes happening in the world right now, there’s one thing that shouldn’t change - the opportunity to connect with each other and have FUN. It feels like no matter where you look, one thing after another is being canceled - but the joy of celebrating shouldn’t be one of those things. We want to be there to help you bring joy and wonder to it all - presenting our Virtual Pop-up Parties!

Posted on 
April 22, 2020
Operation Wonder

STEM Books We're Loving in March!

Books are such a major and magical part of childhood. Reading can help enhance a child's imagination and creative thinking. This is why storytime sessions can be found all over Chicago and have been incorporated into school programming for youth. Reading a book to your child is also one of the easiest activities you can do. Here are some books that you can pick up at your local bookstore or library this month that celebrate women in so many ways.

Posted on 
March 3, 2020
Lauren McSorley

Event Spotlight : Wonder Hour at Purple Monkey

While we love our signature Space Escape event, we knew that Chicago was ready for more STEM-focused activities - and Wonder Hour was born! Wonder Hour is our very own STEM Storytime, where we dive deep into a story and then work together to complete a related STEM Challenge. Our very first Wonder Hour event was this past Friday at Purple Monkey and we had THE. BEST. TIME!

Posted on 
February 14, 2020
STEM Game Races

STEM + Reading ... Introducing Wonder Hour!

As a teacher, I was always drawn to the units and lessons that provided my students with a deep dive into their learning - they were fun, hands-on and super memorable. This resulted in a lot of project-based learning experiences, where kids worked together to create something that would demonstrate their understanding by teaching others. Even a simple read aloud often evolved from a quick picture book during snack into a full-blown STEM Storytime. The sad reality was that this happened less and less throughout my teaching career, as the standards and mandated curriculum always took precedence over the creative units of study. When we talked to families in the Chicago area, we heard that the same thing is true for them too! There’s a huge push for creative, play-based learning in early childhood, and it seems to fade away as a priority kids get older when there are so many kids activities to choose from. So we have an idea…

Posted on 
February 10, 2020
Mary Hanna
recent reviews from

Wonder Hour Fans

Such a great experience!

“Such a great experience! Mary adapted the activities to perfectly fit the needs of my students. The kids loved it! It was very interactive and hands on, not to mention the rocket launch at the end! Definitely the fan favorite with my kids. I highly recommend STEM Game Races for any and all kids!”

- Angela R., Teacher

Wonderfully successful

"Thanks for a wonderfully successful event. Everything went great and we got amazing feedback on this event. We're looking forward to the next one!"

- Jessica R., Owner, Purple Monkey Playroom

They absolutely loved it!

They loved it and thought it was very challenging. They loved the small groups and that they could all be involved. Everything being in front of them was helpful.We would love to hear when you have a shortened version for STEM family nights and this would be a great addition!"

- Eden M., Teacher

Good for our brains

"It was hard but when you pushed yourself you realized you could do it!"

- Ava