Children and their families will be treated to two evenings of discovery and “getting wild.”
Wild about reading, that is. The United Way of Northeastern Minnesota will host a series of free “Wild About Reading” events this summer.
The first one will be from 4 to 7 p.m. June 29 at the Minnesota Discovery Center in Chisholm.
“This event will provide a wonderful opportunity to engage in literacy activities and creative play — and allow families to explore Minnesota Discovery Center for free,” said UWNEMN Board President Stacy Hart.
Wild about Reading is geared toward families with young children and will feature story time, literacy activities, free books, crafts and snacks.
Story time at the center’s outside pavilion will be at 4:45 p.m., 5:45 p.m. and 6:45 p.m. There will also be a magic show with the Amazing Charles, along with free trolly rides and mini golf.
Families can additionally take part in activities happening that evening at the center, including creating a child ID, and Family Discovery Day: “Let’s Grow,” which will teach about how plants live and what they need to thrive. Participants can plant a seed in a take-home cup, examine different types of soil with a microscope, and make a tissue paper flower to brighten up someone’s day.The center will also hold Late Night in the Research Center, offering time for family research until 8 p.m.
Wild About Reading events aim to promote the joy of reading among area families and to highlight UWNEMN’s Imagination Library early literacy program, said Kaye Collier, coordinator of the events and of Imagination Library.
Imagination Library provides free books to area children from birth up to their 5th birthday. Youngsters enrolled in the program receive a new, age-appropriate book delivered in their name to their home once a month. All children in that age group are eligible.
More than 6,500 pre-schoolers have been enrolled in the program since the UWNEMN initiated it locally in 2008.
“One of UWNEMN’s focus areas is ‘helping children succeed,’” Collier said. “Engaging children in reading early is one of the best ways to ensure success in school. At Wild About Reading, we highlight reading in fun ways with other fun activities to enjoy.”
A second Wild About Reading event, “On the Farm,” will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. July 27 at Cook’s Country Connection.
Children who have attended in the past have participated in story time in the sunflower garden, farm and barn activities, container gardening, and, of course, meet and greet with the many animals — goats, alpacas, llamas, bunnies, sheep, pigs, chickens, mini donkeys and horses and more.
“We had a wonderful turn out last year with more than 300 individuals participating (in Wild About Reading events),” Hart said. “The kids — and parents — had so much fun with all of the activities and stories. We are hoping for even more to join us this year.”
Children can also be enrolled in Imagination Library at the event.