Nature play-based classes designed for children 1.5 to 6 years old.
Tinkergarten helps families get outside to make the most of their kids’ early learning years. Designed by education experts and loved by all families, our play-based outdoor curriculum guides parents in raising healthy, confident, and capable kids. Each season, we meet weekly for 8 weeks with songs, movement, exploration and purposeful play.
Spring 2023 Season - Empathy
This Spring, our curriculum will focus on boosting kids' natural empathy—our human superpower!
Saturdays 9-10am or 10:30-11:30am
Classes begin on April 8th and meet each week for 8 weeks
(4/8, 4/15, 4/22, 4/29, 5/6, 5/20, 5/27, 6/3)
Recommended for ages 1.5-6 years old
Full Season Registration
When signing up for the full season, you will receive a season map that allows your explorer to track their outdoor play and classes each week. Registered Familes will also get a "Bring a Friend Pass" that will allow you to bring another family to any class for free. At the end of the season, we celebrate our explorers and they each recieve a Spring 2023 Empathy Badge.
Hayes Arboretum Members $90
Not ready to sign up for the whole season or want to see what class is like? You can drop into any of our classes during the season for $15 a class. Spots are limited so make sure to sign up ahead of time!
Free Monthly Play-Dates
On the first Tuesday of each month at 11am, we will have a free outdoor play-date in the Playscape at Hayes Arboretum. Each time, we will have a short activity, story, and song followed by time for families to socialize and play!
My name is Lizzie and I live here in Richmond, IN with my husband, our 2 year old daughter, and our dog. We love hiking, getting outside, and exploring national parks. I originally got into leading Tinkergarten classes because there was nothing else like it, and fell in love with the curriculum, activities and most of all, the community. With a bachelor's degree in Education and 7 years experience teaching, I am excited to bring outdoor fun, play, and learning to families this Spring Season!
What are Tinkergarten classes like?
Each session follows an intentional structure that includes community building, songs, movement, learning about nature, guided play time, and a closing community share time. During guided play time, Leaders introduce a lesson of the week to inspire kids to play and develop a particular aspect of the target skill of the season. Every Tinkergarten lesson is designed to inspire open-ended exploration and play through which kids actively engage in imagining, exploring, and/or problem solving.
See more about what class can look like here.
What age groups does Tinkergarten serve?
Our current program is designed for children ages 18 months to 6 years, and our mixed-age formats support all learners, from the youngest to oldest. Our open-ended learning tasks and universal design curriculum and approach to supporting children allows each child to find the right challenge level. in each lesson and enables kids to learn from their classmates, both those the same age and those of different ages. Leaders also take time to get to know each child and adapt our approach to best fit the child's interests, strengths and needs.
Read more about the powerful benefits of mixed age learning here.
How do we foster a safe enviroment for explorers?
At Tinkergarten, each explorer (child) is accompanied by a guide (parent or caregiver). Although guides work hard to give children all of the space they need to drive their own play, guides are also there to help remind explorers to play in a way that keeps them and other friends at Tinkergarten feeling safe.
A few, simple rules help us address most situations:
Explorers (children) can explore on their own as long as they can still see or hear their guide or the Leader.
If explorers are taking physical risks, we check in to make sure that they feel sturdy and safe in their risk-taking.
Leaders encourage children to engage in risky play, but give clear re-direction if or when safety and the safety of friends in the class could be compromised.
We encourage children not to put nature treasures in their mouths. If a wee one is doing so as a natural part of exploring the world, we work with their guide to try to honor that need in the safest way possible.
What happens in inclement weather?
We love to play in (nearly) all weather at Tinkergarten. But, in the case of unsafe weather, your Leader will update families at least 90 minutes prior to class by email and text message. Families will either be offered an alternative time to meet during the same week or the season will be extended for an extra week. Make sure to dress your explorer and yourself in weather appropriate clothing for outdoor activities.
Can siblings join in the fun?
Yes! Our mixed-aged classes are the perfect experience to enjoy with siblings. Siblings under 18 months or over 6 years old may join at no cost. If signing up multiple children, make sure to fill out the registration form and pay for each child individually.
If you have any other questions, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org