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Children's Day

W.Va kids have a ball at the mall

W.Va kids have a ball at the mall

March 11, 2007|by MARLO BARNHART

MARTINSBURG, W.VA. - Although temperatures "soared" into the 50s on Saturday in the Eastern Panhandle, many winter-weary parents opted to head to Martinsburg Mall for some indoor Children's Day activities.

"I made a mask," Alex Simmons said. The 4-year-old proudly displayed the work of art, which transformed a white paper plate into a mask decorated with feathers, paint and glitter.

Alex was nearly breathless as she told how she also got to create a penguin book, color a picture and leave with a free plant to take home and put in her yard.

"I'm having fun, too," said Chandra Simmons, mother of the energetic young artist. "It's so good to get out of the house and do something with the kids."


Sponsored by Operation Tadpole, the event is in its 13th year, said Diane Ansari, director of RESA VIII/Head Start/Pre-K in Berkeley County, an interagency collaboration of early childhood providers.

In addition to Ansari's agency, Berkeley County Schools, James Rumsey Technical Institute, C/CAP Loaves and Fishes and WIC (Women and Infant Children) also were involved.

Saturday's events at the mall were coordinated with the annual sign-up for pre-kindergarten children.

Any group could participate in Saturday's event as long as they had an activity for children and didn't sell anything, Ansari said. Forty-one groups were present this year, she said.

Shelley Perkins came with her two daughters, Jocelyn, 5, and Jayla, 2.

"My older daughter is really into crafts," Perkins said.

Jayla spent much of her time sliding down the sliding board. She later received a free plant, which she cradled gently so she could plant it at home.

For their mother, the day was a great way to get out and about after a cold and snowy winter.

There were puppet shows throughout the day, titled "The Penguin Party" that were presented by a group from Indiana.

Gymnastics teams were on hand, as were musicians from the Berkeley Strings program. The New Hopewell Performing Arts dance troupe also entertained during the event.

"I saw some puppets," said Brittany Jones, 7, of Martinsburg. Her grandmother, Cheryl Hornbaker, said they knew about the event because the schools sent a notice home about the pre-kindergarten registration.

"We registered Brittany's sister while we were here," Hornbaker said.

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