Family First with FOX43: ‘Tinkergarten’ gives parent and child room to grow outdoors

LITITZ, Pa. -- When Meredith Bailey left her job as a learning support teacher in the Ephrata Area School District to spend more time with her children, she never realized how rewarding her next job would become.

Bailey started instructing classes for Tinkergarten, a play-based, outdoor learning program for children as young as 18 months to 8 years old. Bailey, along with her 4-year-old daughter Norah and 2-year-old son Luke, participate in the class at Lititz Springs Park. Classes are available throughout Central Pennsylvania, and now in 48 states. 

"I don’t think I realized how passionate I was about this until I started doing it," Bailey said. "It's packed with things that are going to help child skills for development, like creativity, problem solving, gross motor movement, and fine motor movement."

Doctors agree. The American Academy of Pediatrics released a study in October of 2018 which showed when children increased playtime outdoors, it increased their sensory development and bonding ability.

Classes are designed for children as young as 18 months old and as old as 8 years old, and take place throughout the year.

Bailey says the ability for parents to play alongside their children is empowering.

"I think as parents, we're always trying to figure things out, no matter how old your child is." Bailey said. Forming a community of parents that are coming together on a regular basis to learn and figure things out together to build a village is really critical as a parent."

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