‘Stone Soup’ is all the rage at the Kladder house this summer and it’s all because of Tinkergarten! The outdoor, play-based learning program provides weekly learning scenarios where the child is presented with physical, cognitive and social challenges. The Tinkergarten mission is to ‘help talented people facilitate joyful, memorable and educational play experiences for families in outdoor spaces in every community’. We are very lucky to have Krista Batdorff lead in the Grand Rapids area.
Krista, who’s background is in elementary education, currently leads the Grand Rapids programming and is extremely passionate about play-based learning. We met a little over a year ago through The Dailey Method where I workout. Earlier this Spring she approached me about having our kids try out a class and after one class of ‘Stone Soup’ we were hooked!
The classes are mixed-age groups (ages 18-months all the way to 8-years-old) which I LOVE because it means both my kids can take the same class at the same time rather than me having to juggle two different classes for each kid. All classes are hosted outdoors and here in Grand Rapids they currently take place at Wilcox Park. The lessons are designed by experts, change weekly and focus on life skills including communication, problem solving, collaboration and empathy, just to name a few.
‘Stone Soup’ was a great one for our group which included kids ranging in ages from 1.5-years onto to 5-years-old. Krista started the group first with some water table play then transitioned to story time where they learned about Stone Soup. After story time there was an activity (spoiler alert: they made stone soup!) that carried them through until snack time. All the supplies were provided and the kids even left with a little token: a thoughtfully wrapped stone from Krista. The total time for the class was one hour and 15 minutes which got us home just in time for lunch.
The cost of the classes are $75/student for 6 classes - a steal of a deal for an experience like no other. Current open classes can be found HERE.
Tinkergarten is a refreshing take on learning that teaches kids about valuable life skills all while getting their hands dirty! They’ve got the MCL two thumbs up!