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Busy Hands, Happy Heart


Exploring and building is a great way to head into the New Year. Sport Cup Stacking and a Lego free-for-all keeps hands and minds busy and moving. Speaking of moving, make a point to head outside and enjoy the wonders of winter because the view from the backseat of the inside of a car doesn’t count. Staying active in our interests and finding new ones — or new friends in the form of a Siamese cat with an identity crisis — is what makes life inter- esting for moms, dads and little ones. Go get at it and let the community know REVUE sent you!

SKIPPYJON JONES VanSingel Fine Arts Center 8500 Burlingame SW, Byron Center Jan. 26, 10 a.m. & 12:30 p.m. $5,, (616) 456-6656

Skippyjon Jones is a little kitten with big ears who pretends to be a bird, a llama, sometimes even a whale, but never what he is — a Siamese

cat. Based on the book by Judy Schachner, Skippyjon Jones is a Circle Presents producation and enchanting musical about unleashing your powerful imagination and following your dreams. “Kids can read the book before, see it on stage, and talk about it afterwards — it’s lit- erature oriented,” says Jana Veldheer, director of marketing and production with Circle Theatre. The first performance takes place at VanSingel Fine Arts Center with a second date following on Jan. 27 at East Kentwood High School

SkippyJon Jones Kalamazoo Nature Center

Auditorium Fine Arts Center at the same times- lots. Watch as Skippyjon Jones dons a mask, cape and accent and transforms into Skippito Friskito, the greatest Chihuahua sword fighter in old Mexico. “There will be people dressed in costume as the cat doing a duel and children are most vocal in these productions. You can just hear them laughing.” Recommended for grades K-3.


TRACKS AND HOMES Kalamazoo Nature Center 7000 N. Westnedge Ave., Kalamazoo Jan. 7 and Jan. 10, 10-11:30 a.m. $7/adults, $4/children ages 4-17, free admission/ ages 3 and under, (269) 381-1574, ext. 0

Interactive nature stations are set up at the Kalamazoo Nature Center to encourage learn- ing and outdoor time. Start indoors with an interactive room geared for free play and enjoy a craft and snack. You might even spy a live snake! There will be an outdoor nature walk with an activity focusing on camouflage and the ability to find critters that blend in better than others. Kids have the opportunity to make a take home track book as well. “It’s so important to get outside and breathe nice, clean air,” says Megan Kline, public programs and exhibits director. “Sometimes we are intimidated by the bundling, but there is so much to see and explore like animal tracks and signs of animals.” This program is geared for ages 2 to 5.

SPORT CUP STACKING Kalamazoo Public Library’s Washington Square Branch, 1244 Portage Rd., Kalamazoo

Jan. 5, 2 p.m. FREE!, (269) 553-7970


National school presenter, educator and author, Jim Merrills brings the excitement of sport cup stacking to the Kalamazoo Public Library during winter recess — “a time when students aren’t in school and the weather is usually frightful, so it’s nice that kids will have something to do with their minds and their bodies,” says Children’s Room Lead Librarian Bill Caskey. The action-packed program is fun for all ages, hands-on, and builds on skills like coordina- tion, concentration, motivation, determination, perseverance and teamwork. “Lots of kids can succeed and that feels good for them.” This event is free but if you want to stack ‘em high remember to grab tickets distributed an hour before the program.

LEGO FAMILY BLOCK PARTY Kent District Library’s Alpine Township Branch, 5255 Alpine Ave. NW, Comstock Park

Jan. 21, 10 a.m.-noon FREE!, (616) 784-2007

You’ll be hard pressed to find a child who isn’t into Legos. This drop-in program at the Kent District Library offers up a variety of large bins of Legos (smaller blocks for younger children) and space for children to use their building skills and imagination — because a block bonanza of this magnitude deserves a special spot. “Libraries are community gathering places. We’re all about community and ways that all ages can participate, be successful, have fun and be creative,” says Cheryl Garrison, assistant direc- tor of Central Services. This fun activity is also a time for learning. Children use their “small motor skills, language skills and describe what they see in their lives and transcribe that into what they can create.” When all the construc- tion is over, make sure to check out the library’s selection of Lego storybooks as well. Check the KDL website for more Saturday block parties at various branches in January. n


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