The parking lot of Lawrence’s Community Health Facility building was abuzz late Thursday afternoon with activity.
Toddlers were giving Big Jay high-fives, climbing through cardboard boxes and jumping rope.
About 120 children participated in “Kickin’ It With WIC,” an annual event that aims to teach families budget-friendly ways to stay physically active.
“We are really trying to show parents that there are a lot of easy activities that they can do with their kids to really encourage physical activity for younger children,” Trish Unruh, WIC nutritionist, said.
There also were informational booths on topics that ranged from seat belt and fire safety to dental health.
The event was sponsored by the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department’s WIC program and the Douglas County Community Health Improvement Project. It was for families who are enrolled in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children — commonly known as WIC.
WIC serves pregnant and postpartum women, and children up to 5 years of age, who meet income guidelines. It provides nutrition counseling and vouchers to purchase healthy foods. It serves about 1,550 people in Douglas County.
Allison Ouellette, Lawrence, has been enrolled in the program since she was pregnant with her oldest daughter, Gwendolyn, 2. She also has a daughter Jocelyn, 18 months. She said the program not only helps her family financially, but also provides a wealth of resources.
“WIC has always provided us with a lot of information on health and play activities, so I was really excited about them having this event,” Ouellette said, as Gwendolyn watched rubber yellow ducks float in the water fountain.
Ouellette said she was glad that “Kickin’ It With WIC” offered activity ideas for a wide range of ages. Games ranged from hop scotch to throwing a ball in a cut-up milk jug to sidewalk chalk. She said she was looking for something that her two girls could do together.
“It’s been great,” she said, of the event. “Who can beat coloring on the ground?”