KATO Engineering Explorers' Lab

A multi-use space for hands-on discovery.

KATO Engineering Explorers' Lab at the Children's Museum of Southern Minnesota in Mankato

Where materials and phenomena come together.

Children learn about their world by experimenting. Designed for those six and under, this material-rich space is ever-changing with rotating experiences. Budding architects, painters, engineers, sculptors, and scientists can create, test, and build on their way to discovery. Playful caregivers encounter joy in this space, too.

This exhibit is great for...

trying and testing, thinking, and creating.

Eldon Marks' Workshop

Measure twice, cut once! Custom tools made just for little hands make building fun. Children don their safety glasses before drilling holes and cutting through wood to make any number of contraptions. Durable work stations and logs stand up to hammering, or whatever comes their way. Children even enjoy cleaning up in this space with our wall-mounted shop vac. Come build with us!

Paint Wall

A visitor’s favorite activity! A child brushes red paint on one side, squeegees the paint away, then picks up the blue paint, or mixes the colors, and adds more. On the other side of the glass wall, another child applies yellow, noticing how the red and blue show through from the other side. A spray of water, and the paint breaks up to make an entirely new effect. The spray bottles, squeegees, and sponges are as much a part of creating as is the paint. Caregivers appreciate that paint play cleans up easy at the Museum!


Families explore items at one of several open tables surrounded by stools. The work that happens here might be mixing, matching, and stacking in block play; it might be building something up or taking something apart; or it might even be ornamenting a contraption that’s headed for the wind tunnel, where observation happens naturally as a child’s hovercraft flies, floats, or drops. Sensory play, fine motors skills, and early science concepts are highlighted weekly on our young learner’s tabletop.