Mother’s labor bears new Corydon children’s center
By Kristen Cervenak, Editor, [email protected]
While searching for things to do in Corydon with her husband and two children, Erica Walter was inspired to open a community home for kids of all ages, to focus on family time and strengthening local community connections.
The Inspired Child opened Dec. 16 after Walter learned about a vacancy for the space at 111 E. Beaver St. She signed the lease in early December and opened the center within two weeks.
The center features classes for children with varying weekly themes. Some past themes included an ice cream shop, a hairdressing shop, winter using stuffing for snow and a tent designed like an igloo, outer space with moon sand crafts and a rocket ship tent, and last week’s farming theme.
“Unless you go to a farm, where are you going to go where you can jump in a corn pit and play with some hay?” she said with a laugh amid hay-scattered floors in the background. “You’re not going to do that at home unless you live on a farm.”
With the assistance of K&B Liberty Farms, Willow Wood Farms and Gypsy Rain Organics LLC., children were taught classes about farming and had the opportunity to interact with a goat, rabbits, chickens and puppies. She said she hoped to also hatch eggs, using an incubator, come spring.
Walter, who said she thrives on anything creative, comes up with these themes in her spare time.
“I’ll be laying at home in bed, and I’ll be like, ‘Oh yeah, we’re going to have animals this week’,” she said. “How can we up the game even more, you know? Like in a year, what will this be, and what will we evolve into?”
Walter, who started Cinema on Chestnut and Sunday marketplace with her aunt, also working as the promotion chair for Main Street Corydon, utilizes her community connections to not only provide playtime and an educational experience, but to welcome local vendor contributions as well.
To name a few vendors involved, the list includes Cupcakery at Decker’s Landing, Judy Rue Designs, Black’s Meadow Farm, AUDible Sweets and Paradigm Cookies. Another major contributing vendor is Megan Husband of Petunia Bells, who runs The Inspired Child during the day and provides mothers with an opportunity to shop for themselves and their children in the center’s boutique.
“Moms never have time to shop, because if you have your kids with you, you’re not getting the chance to look at things. Your kids are playing here, and you can have time to actually browse around,” Walter said. “Then, we have all of these really cool community vendors in here and still have many more bringing stuff in. It gives that sense of community because, you know you might not find these products in other places.”
The center also has chairs in a lounge area for guardians to relax, socialize with other parents and drink coffee.
“You can watch (parents) make these friendships,” Walter said. “The other awesome thing too is how Megan sees these kids who come in every day. She knows everybody’s name and stuff about them. It’s this connection when you come in here that feels very much like home.”
Another fixture at The Inspired Child is a box for the local food pantry, REACH!, that assists Harrison County residents with children. It is run locally by Belinda Mills Wright, who gathers and hand delivers supplies such as canned goods, boxed foods, hygiene products and other essentials to county members in need.
“Anything we can teach the kids about community, I think is a big thing,” she said. “That’s more of what everyone needs, focusing on others.”
For children dropping in to play, the center offers playtime for $10. Apart from the scheduled activities, permanent staples include a play kitchen and grocery area.
“There are no reservations, like a lot of places like this,” she said. “You don’t have to reserve a time slot and get two hours of play. Here, it’s all-day-play, even if you leave and come back.”
The crafts, sponsored by St. Joseph Catholic School in Corydon, and classes are an additional $4. However, visitors can pay for a membership that renews 30 days from its start date.
Walter and Husband said some mothers even come by almost every day with their kids to enjoy daily new classes such as cooking, painting, yoga, gardening and a variety of craft projects.
Walter said the biggest question people ask is, “What ages are things appropriate for?”
“It doesn’t matter if it’s a 1-year-old or a 10-year-old,” she said. “They’re doing the same class, and it’s about the process, not the product. All ages are welcome here.”
She additionally shared a future goal of having planter boxes around town, where children could plant seeds to grow flowers.
“We could walk there and do our garden class,” she said. “That way, it’s not just our shop, but they could plant them all over. I’d like to find some shops to jump in on that.”
On top of daily classes and themed weeks, The Inspired Child also has a list of upcoming events and ideas, including:
•Craft a Fairy Wand with Mrs. Ellie on Feb. 9.
•Tween/Teen Valentines Tea Planter Workshop on Feb. 10.
•A Valentine’s Day tea party on Feb. 11 and 12.
•Doughnuts with Dad on Feb. 19.
•Easter Egg Hunt on the square on April 8.
•Mother’s Day Food Truck Picnic on the square on May. 13.
Other events and daily classes can be found on The Inspired Child’s Facebook page.