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As part of a national celebration of young children, several local youth and family organizations will come together Saturday to host an event in the Cowlitz County community.

The Cowlitz County Early Learning Coalition is sponsoring a “Day of the Young Child” event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Youth and Family Link gym at 907 Douglas St. The event is free and open to the public.

“One of the big benefits of this is that we get to have fellowship together. We get to have fun,” said Ann Williamson, Lower Columbia College Early Childhood Education Program Coordinator and coalition member. “It’s a free, fun event for families to spend time together. And also there will be a lot of information shared with them that they may not have known (from) agencies that can support the hard work parents are doing in raising a family.”

The event will feature several activities “geared for toddlers to age 10,” Williamson said. Those include a balloon animal station, a photobooth, games and prizes, storytime with special guest readers, flower planting, painting and coloring stations, and a bouncy house.

Pathways 2020 Director Paul Youmans said the event is a “well-rounded approach to activities that make children feel good about themselves.”

“It will cover nutrition. It will involve physical activity. It will cover public safety and personal safety questions. There’s also art and creativity,” Youmans said.

Also, local support agencies will be available to meet with parents and connect them to local resources. In true Day of the Young Child fashion, the information booths also have a kid-friendly twist, Williamson said.

“We are going to have little passports that children and families can take around to the different agencies. Once you have your passport stamped, you will be able to get a prize,” Williamson said.

Youmans said the event will bring children, families and local providers together to create a “stronger network for children.”

“Certainly, any time that we can see children and parents playing and learning together, it’s just really a great example of how we can have a healthy community,” he said.

The event will celebrate the importance of children and families in the community, Williamson said.

“That’s the energy in a community,” she said. “If you have healthy young families in your community, your community thrives.”

It’s also a day for families to “have fun, learn and do something positive together,” Youmans said.

“I did hear one complaint from a grandma who said if she takes her kids, they won’t want to ever leave,” Youmans said with a laugh. “It’s going to be a hoot.”

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