Get Out

Hula hoop your way to Bellingham Public Library

Katie Vopnford, then 6, of Lynden, center, uses several hula hoops at the same time as she participates with Allison Kaneshige, 8, left, and LilliAnne Norman, 8, both of Bellingham,and others at the Hopscotch & Hula Hoops event at Bellingham Public Library in 2007. This year’s event will be noon to 2 p.m. Friday, July 24.
Katie Vopnford, then 6, of Lynden, center, uses several hula hoops at the same time as she participates with Allison Kaneshige, 8, left, and LilliAnne Norman, 8, both of Bellingham,and others at the Hopscotch & Hula Hoops event at Bellingham Public Library in 2007. This year’s event will be noon to 2 p.m. Friday, July 24. The Bellingham Herald

Bellingham Public Library will serve up playtime and iced pop treats from noon to 2 p.m. Friday, July 24, during its Hopscotch & Hula Hoops event.

A wide range of fun activities will be available on the lawn behind the library at 210 Central Ave. The drop-in event is free for all ages and should be a day full of joy.

“It’s really fun to just see them out there being creative and being active,” said Children’s Library Specialist Mandee Manes.

Creative hands of all ages can enjoy time with sidewalk chalk, and those with the dancing bug can groove to outdoor music. If you’re in the mood for bubbles, there will be tubs of solution and blowing wands.

Of course, the event will also have its namesake activities — hopscotch and hula hooping. While chalk and hula hoops will be provided, activities aren’t limited to the library’s supplies. People are free to bring their own toys and games to add to the fun.

“Make it a picnic lunch if you like,” Manes said.

Manes hopes to recreate the inviting atmosphere of last year’s event.

“There were even people who just happened to show up to the library that day who joined in,” she said.

Manes noted that age hasn’t stopped anyone from swinging their hips with a hula hoop or taking a turn on a hopscotch path.

“Last year, they enjoyed playing with the hula hoops and chalk as much as the kids,” she said with a laugh, adding that she hopes to see the same enthusiasm return this year.

There is no set time limit for any particular activity, but the library would like parents and guardians to remain on site to supervise their children during the event.

Bethany Hoglund, head of Children’s Services, suggested families bring raincoats or sunscreen, depending on the weather.

“We do live in Washington after all,” she said.

While the forecast calls for temperatures in the 70s, if rain decides to make an unexpected visit, activities will be moved inside, the only sacrifice potentially being the sidewalk chalk.

While the games and toys are the main event, the day will come with an added benefit to kids, Hoglund said.

“When you’re outside you can go big, be creative and be expressive,” she said. “Building motor skills helps develop the brain and the skills for reading.”

Games and activities featured during the day are designed to inspire families to make their own at home, Hoglund said. The library will make homemade bubble soap and wands with inexpensive materials, so the fun doesn’t have to stop after the day ends.

Events like Hopscotch & Hula Hoops also teaches kids that the library doesn’t have to be all about “inside voices,” and “quiet feet,” Hoglund said. They can also be places of fun and activity.

“It’s summer, and who doesn’t love sidewalk chalk and bubbles?”

To contact the children’s library, call 360-778-7200.

Robert Mittendorf is currently on vacation. Libby Keller can be reached at 360-715-2242 or libby.keller@bellinghamherald.com.

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