13th Annual Boone County Early Childhood Fair

Are you new to the area or looking for services for your very young child? Stop by the Early Childhood Fair at Boone County Public Library, 1786 Burlington Pike in Burlington, on Saturday, February 4 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. for a fun way to get information about local activities and services for children ages birth to five.

Over 40 vendors will be on hand to help you better understand your child’s development and how to make the most of this early period. Your child will enjoy seeing Tales the Library Dragon, Pete the Cat and live animals from the Cincinnati Zoo! You and your little one can participate in fun activities and have a chance to win door prizes. What a great way to spend quality time together!

The Kentucky Lions Club Kidsight program will provide vision screenings for children, ages one to six, during the fair. No registration is needed for vision screenings.

Boone County Community Early Childhood Council (CECC) will be sponsoring free developmental screenings for children, ages one month to five years, focusing on children’s cognitive, language, motor, and social skills. A developmental screening will help you find out if your child is experiencing challenges that could prevent him or her from reaching his full potential. A screening will not only allow you to catch problems early, but can also provide reassurance that your child is acting, playing or speaking in ways that are expected at different ages. The first five years of life lay the foundation for future learning. Sign up for a screening and ensure your child is on track for school success. Developmental screenings are available by appointment from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Register by calling 342-BOOK, extension 8138.

Fun Free activities

  • Door prizes
  • Pete the Cat
  • Tales the Library Dragon
  • Live animals from the Cincinnati Zoo (10-11 a.m.)
  • Dale the Balloon Twister (11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.)
  • Make and Take activities to do with your child at home
  • Specially designed preschool play area

Co-sponsored by Boone County Community Early Childhood Council, Boone County Public Library and Success By 6 Boone County.

The Importance of Play

Would it surprise you if I told you that the foundation for the person you are today was based on how you played as a child?

Play is essential to development because it contributes to the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well-being of children and youth. Play also offers an ideal opportunity for parents to engage fully with their children” (Kenneth Ginsburg). Play is crucial to early childhood development because it invites children and parents to explore their environment as well as their imagination. Not only are your children learning about the world around them, they are also developing skills that will help them learn to read and write later.

Though technology is important, and certainly has a place in our lives, it is crucial that your child be exposed to active play. Our community offers an abundance of opportunities for your child to explore through play. There are community parks with playground furniture to play on. There are a number of children’s museums in Louisville, Lexington, and Cincinnati, that could be utilized to encourage play. There is the YMCA and the Parks department that allow programs for children of all ages. The local public libraries also offer many opportunities for play.

At each of the Boone County Public Libraries, there are a variety of different optiIMG_20150408_100739143ons for your child to explore and grow through play. There are designated children’s areas with toys, magnets, blocks, and other manipulatives so that they can build their fine and gross motor skills. Fine motor skills involve small movements that occur in the wrists, hands, fingers, feet and toes. The discovery stations located at each branch definitely allow children to explore through play and build their fine motor skills specifically.

Play threeWe also offer Storytimes, which encourage a different type of play.. In our storytimes we may use music and movement to get your child up and playing. Through music and movement children are building their gross motor skills, which are targeting their larger muscle groups for movement and coordination through their arms, legs, head and torso. In storytimes we may use a sensory table for them to explore different textures and materials, as well as learning early pouring and measuring skills. As a customer, you can also check out our theme-kits, which offer books, a CD, and often times a craft or activity that you can do at home.

Play doesn’t have to be supervised though. You can easily pull out some old props from your closet as simple as a hat or a purse, and you’ve encouraged dramatic play. You could also encourage play at home with outdoor materials. Grab some leaves and some paper and crayons. Leaf rubbing offers great conversation opportunities where you explore the different parts of a leaf, even explaining why trees need their leaves and the cycle that leaves go through in the fall. You can also make a quick sensory bin yourself. If you take a small plastic tub you can fill it with a base material: sand, beans, water, water beads, shredded paper, etc. Then you add in manipulatives that can be found, picked up with tongs, sorted, etc.

There are a million things that you could do to help your child explore their world through play. Often times, leaving them to their own devices is one of the most productive ways. My fondest childhood memory is “pretending” with my brother outside around our swingset. I would become anything from a bus driver to the sole survivor on a distant planet somewhere.

The point, though, is that inviting your children to play, even if that feels like slacking off to you, is crucial to their early cognitive development and will make them smarter! Let them explore with their imaginations, because it will benefit them more in the long run.

–Teresa

Teresa hails from Irvine, KY, a really small town outside of Richmond. She grew up with a passion for reading, especially children’s literature and recently graduated from Georgetown College with a BA in English. She loves working in a library with so many kids — storytime is her favorite part of the day.