Communities that Care | State College fall festival nurtures parent-child bonds

October 2, 2013 

  • IF YOU GO

    What: 14th annual Downtown State College Fall Fest

    When: 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday

    Where: Allen Street, Memorial Field and throughout downtown

    Info: www.downtownstatecollege.com

Children spell love T-I-M-E. Spending meaningful time with the kids who are important to us — our children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, students or friends — builds a strong emotional foundation for children that will last a lifetime. On Saturday, families from around the region are invited to spend meaningful time together at the 14th annual Downtown State College Fall Fest.

The Downtown Improvement District, Communities that Care and other community partners will team up to offer a day of fun activities which will give adults and kids an opportunity to take a break from their busy lives. America’s Day for Kids activities, organized by CTC, will be offered as a part of the Fall Festival.

Since 2001, Day for Kids activities have been offered in communities across the country to drawn attention to the importance of fostering stronger relationships between adults and children. Research shows meaningful time spent between adults and children helps kids develop a positive self-image and a sense of belonging, usefulness and purpose.

Unfortunately, the demands of today’s busy lifestyles can make spending meaningful time with children a challenge. Most kids spend six to seven hours per day in school and five to seven hours per day in front of a screen, such as a TV, computer or video game system. And then there is homework, sports, lessons, clubs, camps and more. Adults have their hands full trying to juggle the demands of home and work. Too many of us are falling into the “busy trap.”

KidsHealth.org recently surveyed more than 800 boys and girls between the ages of 9 and 13. Ninety percent of the kids admitted they were stressed because they were too busy. Another study found that in the past two decades, kids’ free time has dropped by 12 percent. Playtime is down three hours a week and unstructured outdoor activities like walking and hiking are down by 50 percent. The American Academy of Pediatrics warns that many kids are overscheduled these days and need more down time.

At the Day for Kids event, families can choose a free pumpkin to decorate together, make Halloween masks or fall leaves, or stop by the Discovery Space Children’s Science Museum. At Memorial Field, State College Area School District will feature fun physical education activities. A Community Resource Fair along Allen Street will offer families information about the many services available in Centre County.

Kids can enjoy crafts, face-painting and tricks by magicians, or shake hands with McGruff the Crime Dog. Parents can cheer on their kids as they scale a climbing rock wall.

While you’re there, don’t miss the dessert contest where chefs of all ages are invited to enter their homemade desserts. Not a cook? Stop by to sample the entries. Whatever activities a family engages in, making memories at the annual festival will give Centre Region’s parents and children a way to bond.

Dawn Taylor is the community mobilizer for Care Partnership Centre Region Communities that Care. This weekly column is a collaboration of Centre County Communities that Care serving Bald Eagle, Bellefonte, Penns Valley and Philipsburg-Osceola area school districts, and Care Partnership: Centre Region Communities that Care serving the State College Area School District.

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