Sun. Apr 14th, 2024

There’s no limit to what you can do when you use teamwork and creativity in TINKERTOY: Build Your Imagination, a new traveling exhibit based on the classic building toy adored by generations of children. 

TINKERTOY is opening at Santa Ana’s Discovery Science Center on Saturday, June 5.

The exhibit features TINKERTOY® in educational and fun activities inspired by GE’s successful “Imagination at Work” campaign – showing how innovation can positively influence everyday life and create solutions to real work challenges.

Calling All Builders! We’re looking for inventive minds to participate in our TINKERTOY competition! Learn More >

Hands-on Exhibit Stations:

The Welcome Gallery

The Welcome Gallery celebrates the 95th anniversary of TINKERTOY through a retrospective of the toy’s history, and highlights GE technologies that improve communities around the globe every day.


Children are encouraged to think about where ideas come from, and to explore the emerging field of biomimicry – nature’s influence on design. Visitors can match real inventions with their natural inspiration and create a design of their own.


Dual-sided panels allow visitors to work independently or with a partner to create TINKERTOY designs.


Children can explore GE’s commitment to renewable energy as they use a kid-powered fan to test their own wind-powered TINKERTOY creations.


A Rube Goldberg-like contraption illustrates the power of creative thinking and how simple mechanisms work. The activity lets children select and position words to build silly – but thought-provoking! – sentences that serve as the springboard for innovation.


TINKERTOY-inspired equipment lets children explore the concept of filtration, while a companion activity invites them to build ball tracks that illustrate how GE technologies help address the challenge of providing clean water. Finding the correct path through a graphic maze answers children’s curiosity about “Where does the water go?”


Visitors will enjoy filling a life-size human form with TINKERTOY hubs, providing a great photo opportunity and revealing the elements of a healthy lifestyle – and emptying the piece is fun, too! A special rotating TINKERTOY hub array inspires children to consider the impact of their personal choices, highlighting one of our most important responsibilities: taking care of ourselves so that we can do anything!


This open play area reserved for children age 3 and older features a spectacular assortment of TINKERTOY pieces – the perfect place to build their imagination. Pictures of remarkable TINKERTOY creations and special tips provide guidance and inspiration.

The Tinker Tank

A walk-in size replica of a TINKERTOY canister is the starting point for the exhibit’s challenging scavenger hunt, a must for those with an eye for detail and a nose for knowledge! The Tinker Tank contains a variety of educational materials that attest to the impact of unconventional ideas on some of the world’s greatest – and strangest – inventions, and serve as a reminder that “If at first you don’t succeed…”

By Editor

The New Santa Ana blog has been covering news, events and politics in Santa Ana since 2009.

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