Connecting families to make sure children have a great start. That was the goal of the Play, Learn, Explore Early Childhood Resource Fair.

The fair took place at the Kent Career Technical Center on April 23. Hundreds of families came to see more than 60 preschool and child care centers and 20 vendors that serve families with young children. There were free resources for families to learn about health, dental care, maternity health, children’s development, and more. It was fun for kids too, with plenty of activities, crafts, music, food, and more!

Kids got to visit with mascots from the West Michigan Whitecaps and Grand Rapids Griffins along with Clifford the Big Red Dog and Curious George. The United Dairy Industry of Michigan was there with easy snacks you can make it home that pack a nutritional punch with dairy. The Kent County Oral Health Coalition talked to families about importance of oral health and access to dental care they have through Healthy Kids Dental.

John Ball Zoo spread the word about family memberships and classes for kids ages three up to high school age. Bethany Christian Services talked to families about being refugee parents. Michael McLeieer of E.S.C.A.P.E. Inc. and Operation Save a Life educated children about fire safety and the importance of smoke alarms. And Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital’s Injury Prevention Program focused on three safety measures – making sure kids are in proper car seats, wear helmets when riding bikes, and never leaving kids unattended in or around water.