It’s more than just mud pies

Tinkergarten’s skill-based curriculum is designed to help kids become well-balanced people who can problem-solve, lead, and create. It’s engaging, memorable, play-based learning, all outdoors.

“Children will be smarter, better able to get along with others, healthier and happier when they have regular opportunities for free and unstructured play in the out-of-doors” concluded an authoritative study published by the American Medical Association.
— Why our children need to get outside and engage with nature — The Guardian

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Why Tinkergarten? Learn more

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Karen Shihadeh

Tinkergarten Leader
Seaside, California
I grew up in the Southeast, the child of a soil scientist and botanist, spending much time in the forest, field and farm, from the pine barrens and swamplands of the deep South in Mississippi to the Blue Ridge and Appalachians in North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland. Fortified with degrees in Biology, Anthropology, Sustainable Agriculture, Spanish and richly steeped in Appalachian culture- music, medicine and storytelling, I spent over a decade traipsing across the country- in Texas, Missouri, North Carolina, Maui and California- following mammals, plants and birds. In 2004 I returned to California to marry my sweetheart and manage the Big Sur Ornithology Lab, the Monarch Recovery Program and other research projects. When Malika was born, I stepped down to become a full-time parent, and our family soon grew to include Mariam. Since then, I have continued to share my knowledge as a naturalist guide, storyteller and teacher to my children and in the community. I am so excited to be a Tinkergarten instructor and to share my love of nature and play.

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Why Enroll in Tinkergarten?

Skill matrix

Skill-Based Curriculum

Tinkergarten is not a typical kids’ class—we share ideas with educational frameworks like Montessori, Waldorf and Reggio Emilia, but we’re much more. Our technology-enabled, expert designed curriculum adapts to region and season, is age appropriate, and spans a broad range of skills. Activities progressively build week after week, season after season.
“The classes are so well-thought-out and organized without being rigid.”
– Kate, Mom to a 3 year old
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Outside is healthier

Tinkergarten parents are not anti-tech. Our kids get ample screen time, too. Isn’t our greatest gift, then, to balance that time with healthy, rejuvenating, and developmentally stimulating time outdoors?
“She’ll get plenty of time with the iPad soon. At her age, being outside just seems right.”
– Rachael, Mom to an 18-month-old
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Let them Play, like we did

Our classes bring back something that seems to be lost on this new generation — something that was a most influential part of our own childhoods — free time to tinker outdoors.
“My youngest was more independent in this class than any other we’ve taken.”
– Julie, Mom to a 3-year-old
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Prepare them

Kids learn leadership, problem solving, persistence, and more through well-designed, guided play. At Tinkergarten, we think independent exploration, risk taking, getting dirty, and making help kids achieve far greater things than drills at the local tutoring center.
“I've learned to see his play as learning. Amazing!”
– Jon, Dad of a 2-year-old
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It takes a Village

The most critical social development happens in the first 5 years. Tinkergarten is purposefully designed to bring kids together with their peers, their parents, and allow mom and dad to bond with their child more meaningfully.
“He lost himself at Tinkergarten, and before he knew it, he was working with the other kids.”
– Elif, Mom to a 3-year-old