Bend Oregon

Lovin’ Life Outside


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Lovin' Life Outside offers outdoor play classes every season for children ages 1.5 -8 ​years old and their caregivers, using the Tinkergarten curriculum!

Read more about The Power of Mixed Age Play!

  • The program is designed to build community over 8 weeks in the summer with the ​same families, however 3 class and 6 class options are available if needed.
  • Families are guided through a song, a featured creature, movement, an invitation to play, ​and a closing circle with organic tea and a story.
  • Class is 1 hour per week in-person, with online resources and a class photo album to ​inspire play all week long.
  • Each season, children will explore one of 8 essential focus skills...

Wellness, Persistence, Creativity, Sensory, Focus, Problem Solving, Empathy, & Communication.

What is Tinkergarten?



Kids learn best when they lead the way.

We will wonder, play, and explore, all while having fun in all four seasons!

The Tinkergarten Way of Play

There is no right or wrong way of play!

Guided play is at the heart of every Tinkergarten lesson.

This is where explorers are truly exploring and guides are guiding.

Some explorers like to sit at a distance and observe while others realize that they can ​interact with the tools and materials in the environment and go where their interests take ​them. Some explorers may enjoy exploring the outdoor classroom or collecting treasures, ​while some will lean more into making, creating, and pretend play. All ways are welcome! ​Again, there is no right or wrong way to play at Tinkergarten and there is nothing your ​child "should" be doing. Children develop and learn at their own pace so try not to ​compare.

You, as a guide,

have options for how to participate:

1. Observe. Watch your child.

Notice the behavioral schemas in action!

2. Co-Play! Get messy.

Help gather materials with your explorer.

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Drawn Right Arrow

Do not worry if your child is "on point"—

if something else intrigues them,

they should follow their interests!

Most Important: RELAX and HAVE FUN!

There are patterns of repeatable behavior known as "schema" that you can notice in your ​child's play during early childhood (~18months-age 5 or 6).

To learn more about behvioral schemas click here!

Join us for Summer!

Join us for Summer!


July 11th - August 29th

Thursdays 11 am-12 pm


Tumalo State Park

Bend, Oregon

Please message me if the cost is keeping you from joining!

Price for 1 explorer + caregiver:

Full season (8 classes) $160

Any 6 classes $120

Any 3 classes $60

Cost is pro-rated during checkout after the season has begun.

If you use a charter school, those funds can be used for this program!


Siblings under ​18m or over 8y:


Drop-in option for

family or friend:

$10 1st, $5 2nd

Family season price:

2 explorers $250

3+ explorers $295

Our senses are central to how we experience the world,

how we behave, and how we learn.

This Summer, our curriculum is designed to help each child strengthen and balance their ​senses in the most stimulating and soothing classroom of all

—the great outdoors.

We’ll follow a steady progression that is organized into 3 units:

Unit 1 (July 11, 18, & 25)

Famous Five

We’ll activate the senses of sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch.

Unit 2 (Aug. 1, 8, & 15)

Hidden Senses

We’ll focus on integrating multiple senses at once and introduce two

hidden senses that, though less known, have a major impact on how kids

feel and learn—the vestibular system and proprioception.

Unit 3 (August 22 & 29)

Sense of Joy and Wonder

We’ll have special lessons designed to help us explore the

senses we love most at Tinkergarten!

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Vector Image
Register for any 3 6 or 8 full season classes
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Why Sensory?

Why Sensory?

Click here to read

Making sense of Sensory Development

by Meghan Fitzgerald

Focus is one of the eight core skills that Tinkergarten has designed to help kids ages ​1 to 8 develop—and we do it all through joyful, purposeful outdoor play. Fall of 2024 ​is our Focus season! We also help grown ups learn how these skills develop and give ​all kinds of resources and at home reading to support kids’ learning process.

We’ll follow a steady progression that is organized into 3 units:

Unit 1 (Sept 26, Oct 3 & 10)

“Our Treasures”

In lessons 1-3 we’ll zoom in on the natural treasures within our outdoor spaces.

Unit 2 (October 17, 24, & 31)

“Our Spaces”

In lessons 4-6 we’ll zoom out to notice what is happening and changing

in our biomes—up, down and all around us.

Unit 3 (November 7, 14 & 21)

“Our Focus Tools”

In lessons 7-9 we’ll zoom inwards on the “tools” and strategies

we can use to support ourselves as we focus.

Register for any 3 6 or 9 full season classes
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Tinkergarten kids receive the ​physical and mental benefits of ​increased time outdoors and build ​a lasting connection to nature.

As they progress through the ​program, they develop a strong ​foundation in 8 essential skills ​they’ll need to become creative, ​caring, and confident people who ​can thrive in a dynamic world.

We focus on one skill per season for a total of 8 skills over 2 years.

When you sign up for a full season you’ll receive this cotton drawstring backpack FREE...

perfect for ironing those skill badges onto!

Click here to buy without registering!

Can't join us in person? Enroll in Tinkergarten Home!


First lesson here!

What you'll get:

  • Weekly expert-designed video lessons for 2 to 8-year-olds that help kids develop one of the eight focus skills each season.
  • Activities and printable resources to keep kids engaged.
  • “Why & How” content to help you support your child.
  • Photo scrapbook and a different iron-on badge each season to celebrate.

When you register for in-person classes,

you'll get a discount code to get Tinkergarten Home for $5/ month!

Lovin' Life Outside

Tank tops, T-shirts, hoodies, zip-up jackets, stickers, mugs, and more!

Several choices of fabrics, sizes, and colors!


Tumalo State Park charges a daily fee of $5

or you can purchase a

12-month pass for $30 or a 24-month pass for $50.





At the end of every class we close with organic herbal tea, sometimes

provided by Tumalo Tea or The Peoples Apothecary.

Mugs are available for purchase during registration.

To buy a mug without registering click here!

They are $8 each and come in an eco-friendly cotton muslin

drawstring bag with your explorer's name written on it.

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I frequently get asked where to buy items we use in class.

I always strive to minimize purchases by utilizing my local Buy Nothing group on ​Fb and get locally donated items, however, here are links to purchasing online since ​free or local options aren't always possible for everyone.

About Me

9 seasons Tinkergarten Leader:

Lindsay Ake

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I am a mother of 5, homeschooling my 4 younger ones who prefer an outdoor classroom. I believe in being in tune with my kids and their needs,

and not pushing them to conform to formal educational norms.

I am happy to be contributing to children having the freedom to

explore, play, and grow in their outdoor environment.

I’ve been leading Tinkergarten classes every season in Central Oregon since the summer of 2022 (plus one season in San Diego in 2018).

My kids and I look forward to hanging in the dirt with you!

Connect with me!

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For all things related to loving life

while raising kids outside in all weather...

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If you would like to be notified of upcoming classes or have any ​questions, please email me!

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