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Dance, toddlers, dance

Dance, toddlers, dance

January 10th, 2017 by Helen Wilbers in Local News

Exhuberant kids dance at the Callaway County Public Library's dance party for 0-3 year olds.

Photo by Helen Wilbers /Fulton Sun.

Kids spun, hopped, froze, fell down, twirled colorful scarves and shook noisemakers — and rather than shushing them, children's librarian Jerilyn Hahn and assistant Julie Murphy cheered them on.

In other words, it was a normal Monday at the Callaway County Public Library.

"We do something for the 3-and-under group every Monday," Hahn said.

That ususally means sitting down and reading a book. But there are also monthly recurring special events like the dance party.

"I like how they can get out some of this energy," Diana Austin said, gesturing at the dancing children.

Her 3-year-old granddaughter, Payton, was among them.

Aside from providing the chance to burn off some wiggles, the library events for young children also teach some valuable skills. At dance parties, kids learn to follow basic instructions about physical movement, potential precursors for playing team sports later.

"These two are home with me, and it's good for them to have a chance to socialize," said Alex Gill, who was there with her 4-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son.

Alice Hart, Gill's grandmother, chimed in: "We moved here a year and a half ago to put the older boy (age 5) in the School for the Deaf, and we didn't know a whole lot of people."

The library events provide them a chance to hang out with and get to know other locals with small kids (or grandkids and great-grandchildren).

Other skills the kids practice will be useful when they go to school.

"It's a good way to socialize with others and learn a little structure," Austin said. "I also like the stories, where the kids have to sit down for a short period. It's good preparation for school."

For the slightly older set, there is an event tonight which librarian assistant LaToshia Thompson said should be a great time.

"It's a red carpet event where kids can dress up and be the star for the night," she said.

At "You're a Star," children ages three to eight can come dressed up as a favorite character from the comics, books or movies. They'll get to walk a red carpet and do Hollywood-themed crafts.

"They can make their own stars and handprints," Thompson said. "We'll also make popcorn motifs and picture frames with movie stars on them."

She hopes the event will draw plenty of participants, especially to the talent show portion.

"I want the kids to just be happy to be themselves and to build a little confidence," Thompson said.

The event takes place from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at the Callaway County Public Library, 710 Court St. in Fulton.