Thursday, September 13, 2018

Professor Jamie Brandon and the School of Nursing have a broad range of interactive activities planned for everyone attending Charlotte Kids Fest on Saturday, Sept. 22. All the events are centered on helping children maintain happy, healthy hearts.

 “We tried to design our station so that it would hit each of those elements,” Brandon said.

Kids Fest is an educational event designed for children age 10 and under and their families. The festival’s themes are create, learn, play and discover, and attendees should expect to be inspired and motivated by artistic, creative, educational and playful experiences. This free event is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Charlotte Research Institute at UNC Charlotte.

University City Partners, a nonprofit organization that helps drive development in the University City area, organized the inaugural Kids Fest last year in which about 4,000 people attended.

“Charlotte Kids Fest is an incredible regional event designed for kids and kids’ hearts to explore science, health, performing arts, reading, playing and just having good old fashioned fun,” said Darlene Heater, executive director of University City Partners.

Several UNC Charlotte academic units will participate, including the School of Nursing and the Anthropology, Kinesiology and Chemistry departments.

Brandon said pre-nursing and nursing students, as well as other faculty members, will participate in Kids Fest. She said the students developed the ideas for their Kids Fest stations.

Children who visit the nursing stations will watch a cartoon video about how the heart functions, listen to their hearts with a stethoscope, play exercise games, learn about nutrition and how to pick healthy foods as well as how their emotions can affect their heart’s health.

Brandon said children sometimes don’t know the words to express how they are feeling. As part of this activity, nursing students are making a “face scale” that will help them identify their emotions. Kids will make stress balls and talk about positive ways to manage their emotions, too.

Kids Fest is a learning opportunity for nursing students as well as attendees, said Brandon. Students will see the positive influence nursing has on the community, not just within the health care setting, she added.

The Charlotte Mecklenburg Library will sponsor a Festival Circle featuring a Story Time Stage where library staff will share stories with families, make crafts and play games. There also will be a dance party featuring a local DJ, and plenty of food will be provided throughout the event.

University City Partners has arranged for free on-campus parking for Kids Fest attendees. Also, families are encouraged to use CATS LYNX light rail; the J.W. Clay/UNC Charlotte Station is a short distance from the Charlotte Research Institute.