A summer focus on kids at Morris Arboretum

Morris Arboretum

It’s summertime and the living is easy, except when families are trying to find outdoor activities for children that are both fun and educational. 

A set of new programs at the Morris Arboretum called Growing Minds aims to solve that problem by offering multi-session classes for youngsters and their families. Through the classes, toddlers and elementary schoolchildren can connect meaningfully with nature while participating in fun events. 

One of the classes, called “Seeds to Sprouts,” designed for children ages 2-4 and their caregivers, features four-week sessions that include indoor crafts and guided adventures in the gardens.

Each monthly session will follow a different theme. In June, the theme is “Explore Nature with Your Senses!”

“Every week, we’ll feature one of the senses, and parents and children will have a facilitated experience out in our gardens,” says Miriam P. Von Essen, education and Penn outreach coordinator at the Arboretum. “It will help them explore the natural world, learn, and have fun. In a sense, our instructor will be helping the parents teach their children using our garden.”

“Seeds to Sprouts” classes are held every Wednesday morning from 10:30 to 11:15 a.m.

“We wanted to offer something during the week in the morning because we’ve learned that the parents are looking for enriching educational activities for their children at cultural institutions like ours,” Von Essen says. Many of the sessions will begin with an arts and crafts component before children and caregivers tour the gardens.

Class size is limited to 10 children. To register, call 215-247-5777 ext. 125, or register online at: https://online.morrisarboretum.org/seedstosprouts.

A different activity, aimed at children ages 5-10, is the “Mini-Morris Players,” a theater program featuring two actors portraying the founders of the Arboretum, John and Lydia Morris. The actors teach the children about the history of the Arboretum while also including them in the production of a small play about the establishment of the Arboretum. The children work on the play while parents stroll the grounds. When the adults return, the children perform. 

“The children will join in and be given different roles,” Von Essen says, such as trees, shrubs, flowers, streams, and animals. “It’s an improvisation program that will allow the children to become part of the Morris Arboretum’s history.”

“Mini-Morris Players” consists of two, five-week sessions from June 14-July 12 and July 26-Aug. 23. Parents can register children for single sessions, or can sign them up for 5- or 10-session options at a discounted rate.   
To register, call 215-247-5777 ext. 125, or register online at: https://online.morrisarboretum.org/minimorris.

Originally published on June 7, 2012