New Program Keeps Kids’ Bodies and Minds Active

Put down the phone and play outside.  That's the philosophy of a new children's class called "Tinkergarten" at Willowbrook Park.

And it's just what this Graniteville mom says she wanted for her twins.

"My two-year-olds can play with an iPad but do they learn how to play with bubbles, do I let them play with mud? No not in the house! But come to a park, that's what you should be doing, that's part of their growth," said Kimberly Nemai, a mother-of-four.

A Brooklyn couple founded "Tinkergarten" in 2011.  Sunnyside resident Dominique Giammarino loved the idea so much, she decided to bring the experience to Staten Island.

"Being outdoors just allows things to slow down and just they can observe everything that's around them. It gets in touch with your senses.” Said class leader Giammarino. “You know, what does something feel like? What does it sound like?"

During 1 hour classes, kids learn about nature and science through hands on activities.

Tuesday's class included a nature walk and playing with bubbles.

"You can do so much more stuff outside than inside! Inside you can't play with sports or anything because your mom tells you “no!” said 11-year-old Kiara Nemai.

Parents here say the class is both informative and fun -- and it also gives them the opportunity to step away from their screens. 

"It's nice for me also because you get to meet other moms. Whereas if you know you're stuck in the house doing screen time or cleaning, you don't get to be out with other moms with kids," said Emerson Hill resident Shannon O'Leary.

Parents also say the class brings back memories from when they were kids...

"Back in the day when I was younger we were never inside, from the time your mother let you out to the time she called you back in, we were outside playing!" added Nemai.

The eight week program costs about 100 dollars.  For more information, visit tinkergarten.com

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