The Land O’ Lakes Branch Library, 2818 Collier Parkway, recently hosted a food-themed sensory playtime geared toward toddlers and preschoolers, where playing with food and making a mess was encouraged. The event, ‘Food, Glorious Food!’ is part of the library’s ‘Play, Make Discover!’ program, which encourages learning through playing. Karen Allen, the library’s youth services librarian, spearheaded the program three years ago. as a way for children to indulge in their senses, by touching, feeling, smelling — and sometimes tasting— different types of foods and textures. It also allowed experimentation with materials and activities that perhaps would not be allowed at home. About 200 people took part in the hour-long program that featured 18 different food stations. Participants, who were encouraged to ‘dress for a mess,’ had plenty of activities to experience, such as grinding coffee beans, sifting flour, playing with pasta and smashing Cheerios with a mallet. The library also gave away a packet, filled with ideas and instructions on how to create your own food discovery stations at home.
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