Parents and caregivers are the key to establishing a child’s early love of nature. Designed for children ages 0 to 5-year-olds, our Mornings at the River series creates 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.
Many families attended and our staff and volunteers were thrilled to greet faces both familiar and new. In total, there were 867 attendees over the course of six Mornings at the River event days in June. We would like to extend a Big Muddy thank you to the 138 volunteers who donated a collective total of 690 hours of their summer to help setup, lead and breakdown each event.
Each year, Missouri River Relief hosts this program along the banks of the Big Muddy. June 2022 saw Cooper's Landing Riverside Resort & Marina transformed into a fun fest of activities and crafts on Tuesday and Thursday mornings.
For two short hours between 9:30 and 11:30am across six event days, hundreds of children and their caregivers were able to soak up the sun and get connected to the outdoors.
For three weeks in June families spent their Tuesday or Thursday mornings gathering down at Cooper's Landing Riverside Resort & Marina. Each of the three weeks featured a different river theme that encouraged different modes of exploration for our attendees. Events included a themed activity or craft, a fun special guest, Nature Sensory Tables and our pretend camping zone.
The first week's theme was Awesome River Art. Kids were asked to get creative with natural, everyday items like flower petals and leaves when creating a contact paper suncatcher. Local artist Adrienne Luther led little ones in rock painting for a colorful addition to the family garden.
The weather was very toasty during week one, families and volunteers were able to cool off under the Missouri River Relief misting tent. River winds carried the mist through our pretend play campsite, making for a refreshing play zone.
Families weren't the only ones who were able to enjoy the outdoor themed songs of WildHeart; trail-goers stopped in on this week's Magical River Music to hear all about the "Reptile Rap" and more!
Kids who attended this week's events could dance and sing by the stage, play percussion frogs along the Katy Trail, make their very own cardboard critter castanet and make "seed bombs" with a City of Columbia Conservationist.
The final week of Mornings at the River combined together two of kids favorite things: Books & Beautiful River Birds. The University of Missouri's Raptor Rehabilitation Project brought out owls and red-tailed hawks to give families an up-close and personal look at some of our most intriguing local raptors. Guests from the Missouri River Bird Observatory and the Columbia Audubon Society helped kids along identify bird calls, both real and plush, on the trail.
Last but not least, families could checkout a book from the Daniel Boone Regional Library Bookmobile and read under the shade of the cottonwood trees.
Registration for next year will open during April of 2023. The online registration form will be available on the updated Mornings at the River webpage.
If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Kristen Schulte, Education Director at email@example.com or call 636-288-5570.
Missouri River Relief has partnered with First Chance for Children and AmeriCorps to bring this year's Mornings at the River to Columbia. Support for this event has been provided by the Boone Electric Community Trust and Carol Grove.