2021 Mornings at the River

Mornings at the River Exceeds Expectations!

Our debut of Mornings at the River was a success! After a year of free programs for young families being cancelled or postponed, we felt the need to provide a safe environment for parents and caregivers of little ones to get outside and establish a love of nature in their children. Designed for children ages 0 to 5-year-olds, the Mornings at the River series created opportunities for little ones and their parents, grandparents, or caregivers to spend one-on-one time exploring, discovering, and making memories together at the Missouri River.

For many families, this was their first time bringing their children to the river. Early on, the program grabbed the media's attention and was promoted in the Columbia Missourian. In total, 633 individuals attended Mornings at the River over the course of five events in June 2021. Hosting such a program of such scale would not have been possible without the over 30 volunteers who helped to set-up, run and tear down after each session. To each of our attendees and to our wonderful volunteers, we would like to extend sincere thank you.

"What a great morning at the river with Missouri River Relief! So fun and educational, all the kids had a blast!" - Mornings at the River Parent

Activity Schedule

Each week's river-themed sessions took place at Cooper's Landing Campgrounds & Marina, overlooking the Missouri River. The events included an activity or craft, a fun special guest, story time and, of course, a snack! Parents and guardians were encouraged to register for one or more of these morning sessions each week to experience the following themes.

Week One: Awesome River Art

  • 9:30-11:30am
  • Tuesday, June 8th
  • Thursday, June 10th

Curiosity is the name of the game when it comes to little ones— it keeps them moving all day, every day. Creating art with a fun expression activity can help them explore natural items and new art materials. We were joined by local artists who guided us through the realm of creative nature art! 

Special Guests included Columbia Art League & Wildys World Pop Up Art who helped in the exploration of nature-based art. 

Photos: To view photos from Week One, click here.

Week Two: Magical River Music

  • 9:30-11:30am
  • Tuesday, June 15th
  • Thursday, June 17th

Have you noticed your little one’s eyes light up when they hear an upbeat tune? Most love listening to music. When you visit the river, you can hear how nature makes its own music.

Violet Vonder Haar  was our featured musical guest for both sessions of Magical River Music. The toddlers had a fantastic time following her interactive performance and learning how to sing new songs!

Photos: To view more photos from Week Two, click here.

Week Three: Beautiful River Birds

  • 9:30-11:30am
  • Tuesday, June 22nd

Kids love wildlife! Birds are especially a point of interest for those who are young and brimming with imagination. Their bright colors, flashy wings and ability to soar through the skies are fascinating. There are many special aspects about the birds that call the Missouri River home and the final week of Mornings at the River gave little ones the opportunity to get up close and personal with birds, both real and imaginary.

Midwest Eyries brought this week's featured feathered guest. For many children, this was the first time that they have been able to get up close and personal with a bird of prey. Unfortunately, Beautiful River Birds was only able to run for one session

Photos: To view more photos from Week Three, click here.

"I loved this so much! We homeschool and I feel like we are always doing things for my big kids, but my little gets left out. He really enjoyed it. The art day was probably our favorite. Also, it was nice to have a little push to explore a different part of the Katy Trail. I hadn't been to Cooper's Landing for a decade and I had forgotten how much I love that section of the trail and the river. Thanks again!" - Mornings at the River Parent

Mornings at the River Updates

Registration and information for current Mornings at the River can be found here! You can register for one session or for one each week. 

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This website is created and maintained by Missouri River Relief, P.O. Box 463, Columbia, MO 65205
MRR is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Federal Tax ID (EIN) 03-0425187
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