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Sep 7

Tinkergarten Resources for Homeschoolers and Unschoolers

by Meghan Fitzgerald

Since we started, it’s been consistently clear that Tinkergarten and homeschooling are a natural fit. Over a quarter of Tinkergarten Leaders identify as homeschoolers or unschoolers—and 100% of us at Tinkergarten are dedicated to helping parents and caregivers become powerful teachers to their kids. Season after season, we also hear from homeschooling families that they come to Tinkergarten for the community, the child-centered approach and the wonder of it all. 

Making outdoor play a central part of your homeschooling routine can help boost your child’s learning in and out of the classroom. Evidence is clear that play is the mechanism through which kids learn and develop socially, physically and cognitively. Plus, when kids lead their own play, they get the chance to explore, wonder, experiment and discover their own inner resources, limits and genuine interests. 

As homeschooling parents, we can help amplify the learning benefits of children’s play by effectively serving the role of play facilitator. That’s why we’re really excited to share these resources to help homeschooling parents facilitate child-centered, outdoor play. We've organized this resource guide into three sections:

  • Get Insight!—Videos and articles just for grown ups that helps you reflect on your child's development and your work as their teacher and guide.
  • Learning Activities—Ways to find free activities and resources we create at Tinkergarten to help you invite and support playful learning in your family.
  • Come Join Us—Ways to join Tinkergarten to make outdoor play a consistent part of your home learning routine—and a special discount code to save!

Get insight!

If you are a homeschooling parent, you wear both teacher and parent hats and are uniquely positioned to be the expert on your child’s learning style and interests.

Watch Our Webinar for Homeschoolers

Tinkergarten Co-Founder and Chief Learning Officer, Meghan Fitzgerald, shares her favorite techniques and resources for facilitating playful learning and incorporating outdoor play into your homeschool or unschool curriculum. Watch it anytime! 

Just Between Us GrownUps Video Series

Check out these short (and fun!) videos just for grown-ups with bite-sized insights to help you gain even more insight on your child’s development and learning. 

Behavioral Schema

Have you ever noticed your child repeating a very particular—and maybe even peculiar!— behavior when they play? Though it might seem random to adults, this is actually common for kids ages 1 ½ to as old as 8. All over the world, kids naturally focus on these same, simple actions when they play. And, knowing about them can make it even easier (and sweeter) to support your child's playful learning.

 

The Power of Mixed Age Play

Most of today’s learning experiences for kids—school, camps, activities and even toys—are targeted toward pretty narrow age ranges. But, throughout most of human history, kids have learned in mixed-age settings, and, as homeschooling parents to siblings of varying ages know first-hand, this kind of learning offers many unique benefits for both older and younger kids. Watch to learn more about how to help your kids get all the benefits of mixed-age play experiences. 

Yes! And…

Everyone struggles sometimes with how to keep play going—and keep our kids engaged and in the lead. One tool you can use is the “Yes! And..." golden rule of improv theater. It'll help keep the play going and will likely keep your creative juices flowing, too!

Curiosity is Goal Enough

So, you want to build outdoor learning into your homeschool routine, but you don't consider yourself a nature expert? Fortunately, you don’t have to be a walking encyclopedia to help your kids discover the world. It just takes having a few of the right responses at the ready!

Leave a Little Trace

It can be hard to figure out how to balance letting kids fall in love with nature and teaching them to protect it, but what could be more important for the future of our kids and our green spaces. We're hoping this helps—and makes you smile!

Process over Product

We've all been there...your child is making something, and the something looks nothing like what our adult brain expects. It's hard to remember that the process of making is what matters, not the final product, but with a little humor and a few insights, it can be fun!

Our More than Mudpies Blog

Check out our blog for even more insights into child development, the impact of play and outdoor time and parenting! 

Learning Activities

We know that homeschooling parents are busy! That’s why we’ve teed up easy and engaging outdoor play activities designed to support YOU in your role as teacher and play facilitator.

Monthly Activity Calendar

Sign up to get your copy of Tinkergarten’s free DIY activity Calendar designed to keep kids playful all month long. Once you sign up, you’ll automatically get a calendar each month plus ideas about play, parenting and nature, too! Get your free copy of this month’s calendar here.

Sensory Guides

Everything our kids learn is filtered through their senses and there is no classroom better designed to balance and strengthen kids’ senses than the great outdoors!  Download an activity guide with outdoor sensory play ideas designed specifically for your child’s age here!

Hundreds of Searchable (and Free) Activities

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Want even more Learning Activity ideas? Check out our full inventory of outdoor learning activities for kids. Try them on your own and begin to see the power in outdoor, play-based learning. Search by age, skill area, season and more!

Come play with us!

Join Tinkergarten to make outdoor play an essential part of your homeschool routine and connect with a supportive learning community of parents and kids! We offer programming all four season in two formats:

In Person Classes

Our live group classes are facilitated by dynamic Tinkergarten Leaders in local green spaces. Each season consists of 9 live weekly sessions plus at-home resources to continue the playful learning at home in between live sessions. Find a class that works for you here.

Tinkergarten Anywhere

This new, flexible format enables families to watch and play at home on their own schedule. Each 9 week season consists of engaging video lessons, plus all the activities and resources you need to support playful learning at home all week long. Learn more about Tinkergarten Anywhere here.

Save with HOMESCHOOL15

We have a special discount code, HOMESCHOOL15 that supports families that make the commitment to homeschooling make Tinkergarten part of their routine. Enter the code when you register to save 15% on a season of either format of Tinkergarten.

Join our Team!

See why these five Leaders love being a Tinkergarten Leader. If it resonates with you, we'd love to get to know you. Learn more about becoming a Tinkergarten Leader or nominating someone who'd love it at tinkergarten.com/leaders.

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Meghan Fitzgerald

Founder

After 20+ years as an educator, curriculum developer and school leader, I have my dream gig—an entrepreneur/educator/mom who helps families everywhere, including my own, learn outside. Prior to Tinkergarten®, I worked as an Elementary School Principal, a Math/Science Specialist & and a teacher in public and private schools in NY, MA and CA. I earned a BA with majors in English and Developmental Psychology at Amherst College, an MS in Educational Leadership at Bank Street College, and was trained to become a Forest School leader at Bridgwater College, UK. My worldview is formed in response to a my environment, culture, family, identity and experiences, and I love to learn from others. What I write in this blog will inevitably betray the blind spots I have as a result—we all have them! Please reach out if there are other perspectives or world views I could consider in anything I write about. I welcome the chance to learn and update any pieces to broaden our shared perspective!
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Try a Free Class

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  • Two class formats: try a free In-Person session (where and when available) or try Tinkergarten Anywhere, our on-demand product available anytime.
  • In either format, a certified Tinkergarten Leader will teach a Tinkergarten lesson and inspire your kids to play.
  • Sample the additional activities and resources families get each week to keep kids learning outside at home.
Become or Recommend a Leader
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  • Help us bring Tinkergarten to your community.
  • Recommend people you think would make great Tinkergarten Leaders.
  • Maybe that’s you!
  • Earn a $100 gift card to Amazon if your nominee becomes a Leader!

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