Children's Museum, Parks, PNC Team Up For Kids

Adventure Backpacks Available Now
Posted on 12/21/2020
Image of Adventure BackpacksAkron Children’s Museum, Summit Metroparks and the Friends of Metroparks are helping little learners ages 3 to 6 keep their brains stimulated and bodies active with Adventure Backpacks. An $85,000 grant from Summit County funded the creation and distribution of 2,500 backpacks. “County of Summit, Ohio Executive, Ilene Shapiro said “Activities and services like those provided by the Akron Children’s Museum are critical to keeping kids and their families engaged. Supporting non-profits and the missions they serve help all of our residents feel connected, and I am delighted to see these ACM initiatives advanced through support from Summit County.” Preschoolers and kindergartners in Akron Public Schools as well as students at Emmanuel Christian Academy have all received backpacks, and more than 700 additional families have pre-registered for contactless curbside pick-up, which will occur Saturday, Dec. 19, from 10 a.m.-noon and 5-7 p.m. inside Lock 3 at the museum. PNC Bank sponsored an additional 201 backpacks for children who reside in AMHA housing in the Summit Lake area.

The animal-themed backpacks include a children’s book written by ACM’s executive director Traci Buckner and illustrated by local artist Julienne Hogarth: We All Make Tracks. The book includes watercolor images of animals native to Ohio and their tracks. Twenty-one STEM-based learning activities and a variety of healthy child-friendly recipes are also included in the backpacks. Each child also receives a brightly colored cape, eye mask and fun-print face covering to wear on each outdoor adventure.

Buckner and her team of community volunteers are committed to keeping children engaged and active during the pandemic. “While the museum remains temporarily closed, our focus has been on keeping children and families connected to the museum and engaged in fun learning activities at home” said Buckner. PNC regional president for Akron, Joe Luckring, strongly supports the adventure backpacks effort. “When children receive a high-quality pre-K education, they are better prepared for school and life,” said Luckring. “As educational opportunities have been limited this year due to the pandemic, it’s more important than ever to give children new ways to learn, explore and grow in a safe and healthy environment.” “We are thrilled to play a part in encouraging children and families to get up, get out and get moving in their own living spaces or one of Akron’s beautiful metroparks,” said Demetrius Falconer, Summit Metroparks chief of community engagement. “One of the activities - Move Like A Little Monster, Act Like An Animal – was filmed in a cave inside the Gorge Metropark and features music educator Mr. Jeff as he leads children in the Freeze Dance.”

A fun family bonus included in the Adventure Backpacks is the “Feel In The Blanks” card game created by local educator Vanessa Abraham. The card game uses questions, a list of emotions, and dice to facilitate social and emotional learning in children. Inside, families will also find an animal track zentangle design created by local award-winning artist April Couch.

Adventure Backpacks are available for sale to the general public at akronkids.org. All ages are encouraged to spread the joy of exploring by posting pictures or videos of themselves or their children on social media using Hashtag #backpackadventures and tag @akronmuseum on Twitter, @akron_childrens_museum on Instagram, and @akronchildrensmuseum on Facebook.

About PNC Bank
PNC Bank, National Association, is a member of The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. (NYSE: PNC). PNC is one of the largest diversified financial services institutions in the United States, organized around its customers and communities for strong relationships and local delivery of retail and business banking including a full range of lending products; specialized services for corporations and government entities, including corporate banking, real estate finance and asset-based lending; wealth management and asset management. For information about PNC, visit pnc.com.

About the Akron Children’s Museum
Founded by a group of young parents, the Akron Children’s Museum is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to being Akron’s premier gathering place for children and families. A place where play inspires exploration, discovery, and problem-solving, ACM strives to provide experiences that cultivate lifelong learners who will inspire creativity and provide innovative leadership and diverse perspectives to the greater Akron community and the world for generations to come.

About Summit Metroparks
Summit Metro Parks manages more than 14,000 acres, including 16 parks, several conservation areas and more than 150 miles of trails, with 22 miles of the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail. Annual attendance averages 5 million visits. Visit us online at summitmetroparks.org.
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