January 18, 2022

Making learning fun

Kids participate in annual Kidsville activities in Cortland

Photos by Shenandoah Briere/contributing photographer

Logan Sonnacchio, 3, gets a rubber dolphin from a bin of toys to play with while his father, Gino Sonnacchio, watches him Saturday at the annual Kidsville event.

Nine-year-old Carter Wiley took his black slime out of the bowl he was mixing it in and began playing with it, squishing it between his fingers, while his 6-year-old cousin, Ethan Bell got some help cleaning the extra blue dye off his hands from the slime he was making.

Ethan laughed at his predicament.

“I think it’s great,” the boy’s grandfather, Greg Wiley, said about the event. “Not only do the kids like it, but the adults too.”

The two cousins, along with Ethan’s brother, 8-year-old David Bell, were among dozens of kids who spent hours playing at The Child Development Council’s annual Kidsville event Saturday at the New York State Grange Building off Clinton Avenue in Cortland.

The three-hour event introduced kids to an array of creative, safety and adventures activities.

“Everything a child does is learning,” said Anne Withers, the program director of the Child Care Resource and Referral through the council.

The event started in 1983 when the council was first called the Cortland Area Childcare Council. The members of the council had wanted something for kids that took place during the Week of Young Child — which celebrates young learners.

“It lets people know what early childhood programs are in the community,” Withers said about the event.

During the event Saturday, organizations like Head Start, part of the Cortland County Community Action Program Inc.; Molina Healthcare; Fidelis Care, the YWCA of Cortland and others were on hand to talk to parents about different opportunities and services for their children.

Cortland County Sheriff’s officers Mercedes Slade and Greg Gallow get 3-year-old Garruk Dennison’s fingerprints for his Child ID card Saturday during Kidsville.

Amanda Predmore watched as her two daughters, 7-year-old Olivia and 3-year-old Laken, made necklaces and bracelets out of string and colored dry noodles with helpers from the YWCA in Cortland.

“It’s a good experience for them,” Predmore said.

New York’s 529 College Savings had a table to talk to parents about the college savings plan, while kids got a sticky note to fill out and put on the organizations board. When I grow up I want to be a: “teacher,” “miner,” “geologist” and “singer so I can meet Bono” were just a few of the sticky notes posted.

Over in Tiny Town — a child-size setup of a roadway in a neighborhood — kids learned how to cross the street safely with Jen Hillman. Hillman works with Cortland County Health Department’s Injury Prevention Traffic Safety Program, funded by the Governors Traffic Safety Committee.

“We just kind of talk about stopping and looking both ways,” Hillman said.

Saurabh Gupta drove down from Boston with his two daughters, 9-year-old Nora Gupta and 7-year-old Meena Gupta. They were on spring break to visit their grandma Chris Gratz, the council’s outreach and referral specialist.

“I like it all,” Nora said as she made a toy monster at one of the stations.

“I think it’s great,” Saurabh Gupta said. “It’s really neat that there are activities for kids that introduce them to new concepts.”