Facilitated Workshops

Maze Challenge

Thursday – Monday

The Museum's makerspace

The Rosso Family Foundation Innovators LAB is our collaborative makerspace where we work with local artists and experts from various fields to create a design challenge to nurture creativity, problem solving, skill building and learning.

What sets the Innovators LAB apart from other makerspaces is the inclusion of resident professionals which include artists, architects, engineers and others. These resident professionals develop design challenges alongside our Creative Team to provide open-ended, skill-building projects that explore real world issues. The Innovators LAB targets families with children ages 6-13 and provides opportunities to experiment with a variety of ideas, materials, and hands-on techniques.

Current Workshops

Maze Challenge

Thurs-Mon (Sept. 30-Oct.25)
10:30-11:30am + 2:30-3:30pm

Create your own maze game with obstacles, and play with the forces of gravity and friction.

Open Making at the Museum

9-10am + 1-2pm

Think, play and create with us! Discover your own making experience and bring ideas to life using a range of art materials, textiles, tools and more.

Virtual Design Challenges

Experience open making at home and create a unique piece of artwork using everyday household items listed in each design challenge. Click here to view design challenge videos.

Check out our past workshops!

Color + Light Catcher

We created mini window murals out of multi-colored cellophane sheets inspired by the Museum’s Energized mural by Regan Russell.

Fix It

We discovered how to upcycle fabric and textiles to make something new. We also learned how to hand-stitch, sew buttons and use a sewing machine while helping our planet reduce waste.

Architecture Adventure

Inspired by innovative design and engineering from around the world, children and their caregivers drew, constructed and studied architecture.

Pop Up Workshop: Abstract Quilts

We celebrated Black History Month by creating our own abstract quilt. Finding inspiration from the bold quilts created in African American communities in the Southern United States, we experimented with colorful recycled fabrics and embroidery thread to craft a unique creation. This project was originally developed by Mingei International Museum.

Winter Wearables

We created a design and watched it shrink into a wearable treasure.

Mingei Pop Up Workshop: We heart art

We partnered with Mingei International Museum to celebrate Valentine’s Day by creating a Mexican folk art-inspired and heart-shaped tin milagro pin.

Drop a Beat

We learned how to craft and decorate our own instruments, then collaborate with others to play and record a simple beat!

Pocket-Sized Pyrography

We made our very own wooden key chain using the ancient art of fire writing. Children ages 7+ learned about how to safely wood burn their own creative designs.

Loom Weaving

We made our own loom out of cardboard and created a weaving using string.

Hammer, String + Nail

We used string and collage materials to create a geometric work of art. Participating visitors learned how to safely use a hammer and nails in this workshop.

Comic Strip Stickers

Explore the phenomena of super heroes and comics by creating stickers. Draw a comic strip then transform it into trading cards! Participants also get to add a sticker to a collaborative piece of art displayed in the Museum!

DIY Super Suit

Learn to fashion your very own wearable superhero costume using simple materials and tools to help you along the way!

Cox Racers

Visitors built Cox derby cars and learned how packets of information travel through the internet by racing them down a high-speed track! Sponsored by Cox Communications.

Painted Gems

Create a colorful piece of jewelry using a piece of paint from our Paint Studio.

Go Fly a Kite

Create running kites inspired by animals in nature using tissue paper, popsicle sticks and glue guns.

Pop-Up Workshop by Mingei International Museum

We celebrate Children’s Day in Japan by creating  koi-shaped windsock using cardboard, string and tissue paper! On Children’s Day, it is traditional to raise a koi flag for each member of the family. The koi was selected because it symbolizes strength and prosperity. According to legend, a koi swam upstream in the pursuit to become a dragon. The windsock blowing in the breeze symbolizes its journey.

Scribble Bots

Build a machine that will draw a unique design using circuits and motors.

Paper Toys

Use paper folding methods to create a unique toy.

Celebrating Black History Month Pop Up Workshop

Friday, February 15

We celebrated Black History Month in February by creating African American-inspired abstract quilt in this pop up workshop created by Mingei International Museum. Finding inspiration from the bold quilts created in African American communities in the Southern United States, we experimented with colorful recycled fabrics and embroidery thread to craft a unique creation.

Monotype Prints

Create a one-of-a-kind print using different colors of paint.

Dense Defense

Create your own personal coat of arms pillow inspired by heraldry.

Scavenger Hunt & Gather

Learn about native foods and Kumeyaay culture by collecting and coloring connect the dot drawings. Find and complete all 5 drawings in the museum to receive a prize!

People + Places Project Pop Up Workshop

A special pop up workshop with artist in residence Rizzhel Javier as part of the People + Places project. Informed by this project, the workshop let participants draw a self-portrait, learn how to sew, and take home a plush mini version of themselves! The workshop created an opportunity to share stories about where people are and the places they live.

Flying Floating Superheroes

Come make your very own superhero figure with us! Launch your superhero from a catapult and see how far it can float or fly!

Superhero Stickers

Channel your inner superhero and create your own emblem. Explore the printing process with our Teaching Artists and create a unique sticker to take home.

Solar Turbines Engineer Residency

Solar Turbines powers the future! In celebration of the Solar Turbines’ 90th year in San Diego, the Museum has partnered with a team of their engineers to design projects that educate families about energy transfer. Don’t miss out on this unique experience to work hands-on with actual engineers in our LAB!

Superhero Missions

Behind the glass doors, big kids can create anything they like using the materials we have available. We will have Superhero-themed challenge cards created by Teaching Artist Iris to spark their imaginations.

Create your own Superhero!

Our beloved Superhero Studio has returned to Innovators LAB. Visitors can create their own Comic-Book Style Superhero in the drop-in art studio outside the glass doors of the LAB. Stop by to Trace, Ink & Color your own Superhero.

Paper Planet + Open Making

Visitors use cardstock paper, scissors, and glue sticks to add to our paper neighborhood display. Behind the glass doors, we’ve added new tools, materials, furniture & technology so our “older” visitors can guide their own making experience. So far, children have created paper toys, stop-motion animation, and are diving into a range of advanced tools and materials.

Can you design a structure using geometric patterns and color?

Visitors aged 6 and up created a mixed-media sculpture on a wooden board. Through this process, they gained experience with a diverse range of tools, from digital cameras and printers to hammers and nails, considering elements of shape, color, and dimension.

In the drop-in space, visitors explored these same concepts in a structure created by local architect Miki Iwasaki. Here they manipulated colorful tiles and bright light to create geometric patterns and unusual shadows.

Can you make a balancing sculpture?

In this round of Innovators LAB, we work with local sculptor Scott Shoemate to explore the art of balance. In the workshop, older visitors use a spinning lathe to carve candles into unique spinning tops. Our younger visitors work with beautifully sculpted blocks of wood to build kinetic balancing sculptures. Toddlers play with balancing organic blocks on top of one another to create structures.

Through their explorations, visitors will gain an intuition for the concept of balance, increase their comfort in working with new tools and materials, and gain confidence in their ability to engineer their own art.

Can you make a holiday LED card?


For this special edition of Innovators LAB, our internal creative team developed a variety of holiday programming. In our workshops, older visitors worked with copper tape, batteries and LEDs to create light-up cards. They probed the basics of electricity in trying to connect their batteries to the small bulbs that lit up the front of their greeting cards. Our younger innovators worked with a variety of materials to design creative cards and holiday decorations for the home. They used pipe cleaners and straws to engineer 3D structures inspired by traditional Finnish ornaments, and practiced their fine motor skills in tying ribbons to make a forest of pine trees.

Can you make something float?


Fly Together was inspired by local artist Marisol Rendon’s experience with scuba diving. Her explorations of buoyancy led her to wonder: how can we create floating art? In Fly Together’s workshop, older visitors used heat sealers to make unique ‘mylar’ balloons. They formed and tested hypotheses and, through a process of trial and error, played with each balloon’s density to make it float at a specific height.

Our younger visitors formed their own understanding of buoyancy by creating paper parachutes, propellers, and myriad other flying contraptions and testing them in a wind tunnel. They, too, were practicing the scientific method as they refined their designs until they floated, spun, or soared as desired.