Education Funding Massachusetts

Go Play Outside, Tinkergarten Raises $5.4 Million

Digital DeTox For Children Raises $5.4 Million Dollars

tinkergarten-top Go Play Outside, Tinkergarten Raises $5.4 Million

Back in the day we used to wake up, go outside, grab our bikes and be gone until the street lights came on. That’s not folklore like our parents who walked eight miles uphill, both ways in the snow to get to school. That’s reality. Heck when I was 5 years old I had a dirt pit to play in, while the other kids had sandboxes, my dirt pit was much larger. I even learned how to start fires through a magnifying glass. Today, that would be a valuable STEM/STEAM lesson.

Nowadays kids are spending less and less time outside and more time in front of a screen.

A Massachusetts startup called Tinkergarten is designed to get kids active, and playing outside. The company operates a nationwide network of hosts, teachers or counselors if you will, that facilitate a play based outdoor learning curriculum. The classes are designed for children as young as 18 months up to age 8.

Tinkergarten hosts spend over 20 hours in training, All of the trainers are vetted and screened before they can start working. The Tinkergarten training program covers five major areas:

  • Tinkergarten Philosophy
  • Community Outreach
  • Child Development
  • Adult Development
  • Facilitating high quality child-centered, play-based learning in nature.

While Tinkergarten is great for getting kids away from technology, similar to “digital detox” programs for adults, there’s also a foundation in learning, especially when catering to kids ages 8 and under.

“Nearly all developmental psychologists, neuroscientists and education experts recommend play for kids 0-7 as the best way to nurture kids’ development and ready them for academic success later in life.” Scientific American says.

Tinkergarten has grown to locations in 48 states, with over 62,000 kids participating in their outdoor activities. They currently have 755 leaders.

Last week EdSurge reported that Tinkergarten raised $5.4 million dollars in a Series A round led by Owl Ventures. Omidyar Network and Reach Capital also contributed.  The company has raised $8.3 million dollars to date.

The company’s founder, Brian Fitzgerald came up with the idea while working at edtech giant Knewton. “There is a period of time when kids need to have free space in order to learn how to learn,” Fitzgerald told edsurge. “We want to take the best of experiential learning and make it accessible to anyone, anywhere.”

You can check out Tinkergarten here.