Almost 700 attend ‘Block Party’
Blowing bubbles, making clay dinosaurs, playing road hockey, finger painting, and pouring shaving cream everywhere was all in a day’s play here last Thursday.
Hundreds of youngsters and their parents attended the first-ever “Block Party” at Fort Frances High School—an event for kids up to Grade 3 which ran from 4:30-7:30 p.m.
Also dubbed a big play date, the kids were not afraid to get messy while trying out the 22 different play centres on hand.
Organized by the Best Start Network and the Coming Together for Kids Coalition, community agencies worked together to host the event.
“We had 22 different centres so 22 different community agencies,” Oster explained.
“There were elementary schools, the [United Native] Friendship Centre, the library, the nursery school, Northwestern Health Unit. . . .”
There also were demonstrations from Energy Fitness, two local drumming groups, and children’s entertainer John Reader.
“We’re just trying to promote the importance of play and learning, and how play is how children learn,” noted Oster.
“And we just wanted to promote that for parents so they realize the importance of it, and how fun it can be.
“We were thrilled with the response,” she added. “We had no idea how many people to anticipate and to get close to 700 people was amazing.
“We had planned food for around 400, so we far surpassed that.”
There were no favourite booths as they all were quite popular.
“It depended on the children,” said Oster. “Some kids like the crafts and some kids liked getting all messy and dirty.
“So I think it all depends on the child.
“All of the activities were appropriate for different kinds of kids, so it was nice that we had a variety of activities,” she continued.
“We’ve heard some great feedback from parents, and people asking when we’re going to do it again.”
Oster said some families had planned to come for an hour and ended up staying for the entire time.
The children she spoke to “. . . all said it was great, and they had so much fun and they didn’t want to leave.”
The volunteers running the booths only had good things to say, as well.
“They were all thinking it was fabulous, and they are all excited to do it again,” Oster noted.
“It was all positive feedback, and they were surprised at the amount of people that came.”
Already thinking of next year, Oster said she thinks they’ll have even more community partners involved because of its success.