MUSCATINE, Iowa—With school out and kids home for the summer, families have a chance to spend quality time together. Wanting to capitalize on this time and help families look for more ways to bond, the Muscatine Prevent Violence Coalition developed a series of activity boxes to install throughout the community. On June 8, three of the four planned activity boxes went up in Wilton and Muscatine with plans to install the final box in West Liberty already in the works.
Megan Tabor, a member of the Coalition, explained that for some time, she and other members had looked for a way to promote quality family time across the county. “We were just trying to think of sustainable things in the community for families,” she elaborated. “We liked the idea of the little libraries, but we wanted to focus on things for families.” Starting with that catalyst, the Coalition came up with the idea of placing activity boxes throughout the region for families to take high quality games and toys from.
To build the boxes, the Coalition reached out to Muscatine Lumber, who not only helped them find the material they needed but also covered the cost of building three of the boxes. Joe Yerington, of Muscatine Lumber, generously offered his time and skills to the Coalition by building the boxes, ensuring they had enough space to hold many fun items and that they could stand up to the weather year-round.
In order to show families what kind of items they could expect to find in the boxes, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Muscatine County and UnityPoint Trinity Muscatine Hospital donated a wide selection of gear, including sidewalk chalk, corn hole games, inflatable kiddie pools, puzzles of different sizes, card games, badminton sets, mini golf sets, and softball bats. “We hope to hit all ages from little to older,” emphasized Tabor. “We want it to promote family togetherness and physical activity too.”
Going forward, the Coalition hopes that community members will donate additional toys and games for families to enjoy the same way they add new books to the various little libraries. For individuals wanting to make a monetary donation or give a larger number of items to the Coalition, Tabor encourages them to contact Jaimie Cruse by calling 563-264-9409 or emailing her at [email protected]. The Coalition will also make a point of checking each of the boxes each month to make sure they stay in good condition and always have a selection of seasonally appropriate items in them.
Currently, the public may visit three of the Coalition’s new activity boxes, located in City Park in Wilton, Musser Park in Muscatine, and the corner of East Seventh Street and Mulberry Avenue, near Jefferson Elementary School. The Coalition will announce the location of their final box in West Liberty via their Facebook page.
With the boxes up and ready for the public to enjoy and donate to, the Coalition feels thrilled that families have a new way to add quality together time to their lives and that their project has come to fruition. “We’re pretty excited that all of our programs are coming to a conclusion,” said Tabor. “We’re glad for the support from all of the communities.”