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Next week, April 10-16, marks the Week of the Young Child and the Gothenburg Early Childhood Learning Coalition is excited to have a number of celebrations planned.

A family block party will kick things off this Saturday, April 10 in front of the Sun Theatre. Events are planned from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and include a free hot dog lunch, treats from Tropical Sno, colorful magic by Bruce, and an opportunity for kids to explore a fire truck. There will also be games, activities and music to entertain children of all ages.

At 1:30 on Saturday afternoon the kiddos are invited into the theatre for a free showing of Kung Fu Panda. Each movie-goer will also receive a free small bag of popcorn, and beverages will be available for purchase from the concessions counter. Masks are required in the theatre and are highly encouraged while outside at the event.

The family block party is being provided free of charge thanks to the generosity of local sponsoring businesses. Those sponsors are: Sun Theater, Peterson's Supermarket, City of Gothenburg, Gothenburg Fire Department, Gothenburg Public Schools, Gothenburg Chamber of Commerce, Pony Express Chevrolet, Schaben Sanitation, Tropical Sno, 1st State Bank and Flatwater Bank.

Early childhood providers, parents and children are being encouraged to wear the designated colors each day of the Week of the Young Child, and local businesses and residents are invited to join in. The community color days are: Monday - wake up yellow; Tuesday - beautiful blue; Wednesday - rockin’ red; Thursday - groovy green; and Friday - poppin’ pink or purple.

The GECLC is also partnering with the YMCA at Gothenburg Health for a healthy kids and families event on Thursday, April 15. Also free, Healthy Kids and Families will be held in the YMCA gym from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Healthy families are the most important part of supporting healthy kids, and that starts early. This event is designed to give families ideas and tools to help them build strong bonds and healthy relationships.

Families are invited to visit the circuit of activity centers to learn together and collect goodies provided by GECLC. Individually wrapped healthy snacks will be available, provided by the YMCA. There will be an outside Gaga Pit courtesy of Camp Comeca, and parents are encouraged to bring their phone to take a picture of their little one with a princess.

All Week of the Young Child events are free to everyone. For more information on any of these activities contact GECLC Community Coordinator Nichole Hetz at 529-8784 or geclc.coordinator@gmail.com.

Contact Ellen Mortensen at ellen@gothenburgleader.com or call 308.537.9498