The Early Childhood Council, Child Development Services, and Otero, Crowley, and Bent County Health Departments cooperated to create an Early Childhood Fair at Inspiration Field. Kidron Backes, case management director at Inspiration Field but also a member of the La Junta School Board, invited anyone who is interested to attend the meeting of the Early Childhood Council, held the first Thursday of every month at noon at Inspiration Field.

In support of the aim of the Early Childhood Council and the other participating agencies supporting the ideal of helping families and their children, our future citizens, this fair was prepared to show the many opportunities for providing experiences that will broaden their horizons. The grownups were shown tools to improve their learning and social environment, such as the Tri-County Family Center and Otero Junior College courses and events.

The children came, too, and they were greeted with a variety of playthings that intrigue and entertain. Who doesn’t remember playing “Go Fish” at the county fair or a school festival? At the carnival, your duck had to have the winning number, so as to get more coins from your parents. At the school carnival, every duck had a winning number, and you always won a prize. Either way, you hold the stick in your hand, and you have to make the catching device, whether it is a magnet or a small sieve, catch the floating duck. Voila! Eye-hand coordination as a game.

There were also disks to spin around in - better models than the trash can lids we used as sleds on the snow - these actually spin around on smooth floors. Plus they’re made of high-impact plastic, which is smooth and doesn’t harm most floors. There are wooden puzzle-mazes where you move your play car around so you develop skills that will one day help you find the store where the good flooring is sold at a low price, even if it is not on the main thoroughfare.

Colorful balloons decorated each separate booth, giving a gala look to the fair. Also, did I mention the cookies?