DIY Magic: The Iowa Children’s Museum Play Pack

Do you wish you could wave a magic wand and make the world return to its pre-Covid state? I can’t make the pandemic go away, but thanks to the latest Iowa Children’s Museum Play Pack, you can make some magic at home!

In August, The Iowa Children’s Museum introduced their Play Packs—curated boxes of activities to entertain and educate your children. Out of this World was all about space, astronauts, and stars. Crash Course in Engineering included projects like “Tallest Tower” and a DIY roller coaster to keep busy hands engaged.

Now, just in time for the season of ghosts and goblins, The Magical Mysteries Play Pack is here!

This pack is a fun combination of mystery and magic, with art, science, and even a small sewing project to keep your little wizard busy. My daughter is in sixth grade, the age where something has to be pretty cool to earn her approval. After about five minutes into the first activity, This Wand Has Chosen You (complete with a magic wand!), she was hooked.

The Magical Mysteries Play Pack has three more activities:

Pick Your Pet: Discover animals with a magical history and then use the materials to make your own.

Rainbow Revealium: Create a potion with rainbow colors and watch it swirl in a glass ball.

Reducto Redinko: Turn a large, scary beast into something tiny and cute while using the scientific method of observation, making predictions, and identifying patterns.

It’s all packaged around the idea of a magical academy (think DIY Harry Potter) with  supplies to make your own “book of lore” and stories to get your kiddo in a mystical mood. Within each project are more games and crafts to extend the time on task and use of fine motor skills, eye-hand coordination, reading, and writing.

This Play Pack is great for older kids as there are a lot of smaller objects, and multi-step, challenging projects. The shrinking project requires the use of an oven, and sewing requires fine motor skills that may be more challenging for tiny hands. My 11-year-old was thoroughly engaged in making a basic circuit to light her magic candle, even if she did have to call on the resident Wizard (Dad).

If you have younger kids, you could still enjoy this pack together by modifying the projects and reading the stories aloud. I loathe imaginative play, so I was more than happy to hand her the box and send her off to the magical kingdom on her own!

If you love your Play Pack and want to keep learning, each box comes with additional resources, including book recommendations, links to online resources, and there’s even a Facebook group you can join to share your child’s projects!

These packs would make a great gift from grandparents—just send them the link to the Iowa Children’s Museum and their shopping is done! I plan on buying a pack for my nieces and nephews to enjoy . . . and to give my sisters some quiet time while the kids are engaged in educational fun.





Sherri is a transplant from Oregon who came to be a Hawkeye in 2006 and stayed for the sweet corn...and for the Iowa boy she met along the way! She and her husband (Kyle) have a 9 year-old daughter, Aissa. Sherri earned her Ph.D. in Higher Education and Student Affairs at The University of Iowa and works for Ruffalo Noel Levitz as an Enrollment Marketing Consultant for colleges and universities. When she's not working, you can find her with her family, enjoying Iowa City and cheering on the Hawkeyes.


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