The Harker Heights Public Library has been providing fun activities for Spring Break week for kids of all ages, and Tuesday afternoon saw a new, never-before-been-done program the library called “Level Up Day.”
Level Up Day combined games of both the high-tech and low-tech variety to keep kids busy and engage their minds, spark their creativity, and burn some of their energy during a day that, while not quite rainy, was a bit drizzly.
The weather didn’t deter the more than 100 people who came to the event, however, even when it came to waiting in line for a turn at the giant outdoor bouncy obstacle course.
High-tech activities for the day included some robotics with Dash and Dot (Dot had been rigged to play a mini-xylophone) and two Nintendo Wii U stations.
Low-tech activities, which proved to be every bit as popular with the children, if not more so, were a giant Connect Four game, a giant Snakes and Ladders game, a giant Kerplunk game, giant Legos, regular-sized Legos, hopscotch with gel-tiles, indoor bowling, and multiple board games such as Hungry Hungry Hippo, Trivial Pursuit, and Sorry.
Children’s librarian Amanda Hairston, library director Lisa Youngblood, and youth health and program director Destinee Barton were on hand, along with seven youth volunteers to oversee the day’s activities.
The children kept them all hopping as they dashed from station to station, trying the different games and activities.
Kendra Huhnerkoch of Harker Heights brought her 6-year-old son just for Level Up Day.
She said, “All the activities they’re learning from, and also having fun ... I like that they have all different kinds of things, they can explore different things.”
One boy, 2-year-old Joseph Stravitsch, ran between the high-tech Dash and Dot, and the low-tech Connect Four, fascinated with both in equal measure.
His mother, Adrienne, said they had originally come to the library to check out books, but stayed for the games.
She said, “I like the Harker Heights library because of all the programs they have. It is so awesome!”
Hairston noted, “Our parents are having a really good time with their kids, too.” And they were. Very few parents chose to sit on the sidelines, content to watch. Most were up and about, interacting with their children, playing board games with their children, and taking photos.
“This is great for a day like today,” said parent Rachel Martin of Harker Heights, “It’s too wet to go hiking.”
She was trying to keep up with her 8-year-old daughter, Sarah, a Science Club regular, who headed for the blocks and Legos.
At the end of the afternoon, having sampled everything the afternoon had to offer, Sarah said, “I liked the bounce house and the big blocks the best.”
Hairston said, “This is a mix of high-tech and low-tech, because I want to do something called Great Individual Playtime this summer, to provide the opportunity to play inside when it gets really hot.”
She said Tuesday afternoon’s activities were the official testing grounds to see if a summer program like this would be viable.
Based on the response, it would seem it would be.