Parents can find all kinds of resources to enrich the lives of their children on Saturday at The Childrens Trusts annual Family Expo.
The daylong festival draws thousands to the Miami-Dade fairgrounds for information on schools, as well as all kinds of health and social services and giveaways. There are fun activities for the kids, too, including face painting, magicians and character appearances.
Early literacy is a big focus of the event, as about 50 percent of third-graders in Miami-Dade struggle to read at grade level, said Childrens Trust spokeswoman Emily Cardenas.
New this year: Several authors will read from their books, including Lisa McCourt ( I Love You Stinky Face series), Dr. Cheryl Holder ( Pumpkin Soup is for Sunday), Lucia Gonzalez ( The Storytellers Candle and The Bossy Gallito) and Katherine Magnol ( The Adventures of KatGirl series).
On four stages in two halls, families will find childrens stories, performances and popular characters like Nickelodeons Dora and Diego, Ronald McDonald, Madeleine and Curious George.
Miami-Dade parents will also be able again to sign up their 3-year-old children for the Childrens Trust free Read to Learn Book Club. Each member will get a free book and parent guide every month by mail in English or Spanish, Cardenas said.
Free backpacks and composition books will be distributed to school-age children while supplies last.
The two exhibit halls will hold about 250 booths distributing information about education, after-school programs, nutrition, safety, and programs for children with special needs and other issues.
Kids will also be able to try fresh fruits and get recipes to bring home. They can experience a creepy-crawl science adventure or do sports at the Indoor Sports Fun Zone, as well as climbing outside and the recreation area.