Summer Programs


Here at the IMNH we strive to help families and children connect with Idaho’s natural environment and rich history.  Here you will find weekend and weekday programming for families and children hosted at the museum.  For questions please contact the education office directly at 208-282-2195. 


The Director’s Challenge

The director of the Idaho Museum of Natural History (IMNH) has created a summer programming series aimed at giving families a creative avenue to learn about science, solve problems, and have fun!

Dr. Tapanila explains,

“I wanted to create an activity where families could solve a challenge together. I’m always surprised at home how much my kids learn through play. We hope to give families that experience here at the museum. ”

Families will be provided a challenge such as “make a musical instrument” and supplies with which to accomplish the challenge. If the family is able to complete the goal, the museum will provide a modest prize. A total of six challenges will be offered on certain Saturdays throughout the summer from 1-5pm. While participating in the Director’s Challenge is free, participants will still need to pay admission if they want to visit the museum gallery.

June 11th – Parachute Challenge
Use household items to construct a parachute for toy dinosaurs, army men, anything really!

June 25th- Protect the Egg Challenge
Use household items to construct a landing module for a dropped chicken egg.

July 2nd- Paper Engineering Challenge
Use office supplies to construct a structure that can hold a book 6inches above the ground.

July 16th- Musical Instrument Challenge
Use household items to make a musical instrument.

August 6th-Solar Oven Challenge
Construct a solar oven and cook a s’more using sunshine!

August 20th – Nest Challenge
Engineer a bird nest and see how many eggs it can hold.

1:00-5:00pm or while supplies last,  free for each family


Preschool and Kindergarten 

Pint Sized Science Academy 

In pint sized science academy, students participate in 30 minute hands on activities aimed at encouraging the development of motor skills, following directions, and interest in science.  All Pint Size activities are held from 11:00-11:30am on the days listed below.  Pre-registration is no longer required.  All Pint Sized classes are $5 per child.  Parents are encouraged to stay and play with their kids as some children are not yet old enough to be without a parent.  

Thursday June 23rd – Healthy Eating 

Thursday July 7th-  Make a Fossil

Friday July 15th- Monarch Butterflies

Monday July 25th- Shape Hunt in the Museum 

Thursday August 4th- Gyotaku Fish Prints

Monday August 15th-  Insects

11:00-11:30pm $5 per child

Elementary School (1st – 6th Grade)  Register Here

Download Permission Form Here

Museum Rangers 

The museum ranges participate in hands on lessons related to science and museum work : geology, biology, and anthropology.  These classes and activities aim to keep kids interested in science while having fun.  Hour long classes are offered for younger students and 2 hour classes for older students.  Occasionally half day classes are also offered.  Want to set up something private for your scout group, youth group, or family? Call 208-282-2195. 

Rocks and Fossils ( June 16th, 10AM-11AM) 1st-3rd Grade ($6)

Rocks and Fossils ( June 21st, 10AM-12PM) 4th-6th Grade ($12)

Learn about sedimentary rock and why it’s the best kind of rock to find fossils in. 


Water Bugs (June 27th, 1PM-2PM) 1st-3rd Grade ($6)

Water Bugs (July 26th, 1PM-3PM) 4th-6th Grade ($12)

Learn about stream invertebrates and actually meet a few.  How can bugs tell us if a stream is healthy?


Monarch Butterflies ( June 29th, 1PM-2PM) 1st-3rd Grade ($6)

Monarch Butterflies ( August 1st, 10AM-12PM) 4th-6th Grade ($12)

Learn all about our state insect. 


Layers of the Earth: Candy Style ( July 7th, 10AM-11AM) 1st-3rd Grade ($6)

Layers of the Earth: Candy Style ( August 11th, 10AM-11AM) 1st-3rd Grade ($6)

Make your own delicious Earth out of candy!


Adventures of Lewis and Clark (July 6th, 9AM-12PM) 3rd-6th Grade ($20)

Adventures of Lewis and Clark (August 3rd, 9AM-12PM) 3rd-6th Grade ($20)

Learn about the expedition on Lewis and Clark and the hardships they faced. 



Fun for the Whole Family Register Here


Looking for something fun to do with your family?  Come learn how to use a GPS unit or the GPS on your phone to find secret caches hidden all around you. This hobby, called geocaching, is something you can do with your family any time and almost anyplace.  Other hobbyists hide caches that you must find using your GPS and written clues and hints.  Once you find the cache you make exchange an item and/or sign your name.  This class is $10 per family.   Two dates are available.  All families must pre-register at least 48 hours in advance. 

Thursday June 30th

Thursday July 28th

5:30-7:30pm $10 per family