Please Touch Museum (PTM), a national leader in children’s museums, brought together volunteers earlier this week in its Memorial Hall site to assemble 1,000 Summer Discovery Backpacks for children in West Philadelphia’s Parkside neighborhood. Volunteers from the United Block Captains, PTM Parkside Community Advisory Council worked with community members and stayed socially distanced and wore masks during the event. With virtual learning now concluded for the academic year and many traditional summer programs, camps and events canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the museum designed these backpacks to encourage children, ages 4-8, living closest to the museum, to continue building critical social and emotional skills through play during these summer months in preparation for the next school year. The museum received a lead gift of $25,000 from the PNC Foundation through its “PNC Grow Up Great” initiative. The PTM Summer Discovery Backpacks will include a PTM-created and designed Family Activity Book, which provides children with various learning games and activities to be shared with their guardians. Pop-Out Mini Playgrounds, which are miniature versions of the museum exhibit with its blue foam blocks, will be included in every backpack, courtesy of Imagination Playground. There were also donations of books, socks, stickers, sidewalk chalk, beach balls, hand lenses, hand sanitizer, sweatbands and toothbrushes from various other individuals and organizations.

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