To make sure kids continue to learn and play — and don’t fall victim to the so-called summer slide — museum volunteers packed about 1,000 summer discovery backpacks, full of toys, activity books and supplies.
“We have a lot of children who are home, and their routines have been interrupted,” said spokesperson Meg Kane.
The bags will be distributed to kids in the nearby Parkside community. Kane hopes the backpacks help kids stay on track of their grade level and keep busy during the pandemic.
“We wanted to make sure as a museum we were outreaching to the community even though we're still closed due to COVID and provide them with an opportunity to continue to learn through play throughout the summer,” she said, “helping kids to continue to read, continue to engage, continue to learn, and focus on social and emotional learning.”
The backpacks include beach balls, glue, chalk, hand sanitizer, games, stickers, some books, and a mini Imagination Playground — mimicking the museum’s beloved exhibit — among other items. They are funded, in part, by a $25,000 grant from the PNC Foundation.
The bags will be distributed by block captains and other organizations to kids ages 4 through 8.
Block captain Alice Wright will pass out about 50 backpacks to kids in her Parkside neighborhood.
“They could have something to do for the summer, keep them out of trouble, and it will help the parents keep the families together to do some activities, to keep the kids going for the summer,” she added.
Nine-year-old David Trotman helped pack the bags on Monday. He took one home for himself too, and looks forward to playing with a magnifying glass that was inside his bag.
“I would like to play with them and see if I could find any bugs,” he said.