Exciting events are happening this fall with Lend & Learn Toy Libraries! While it looks different than we expected, we are STILL HERE giving support to our community in a multitude of ways. Here’s a quick look at what’s coming up!
First Chance for Children has moved to a new building at 1002 Fay St! The new office is right across the parking lot from our former space. When you visit, enter the Main Entrance door and ring the doorbell for staff to assist you. Our hours of operation are Monday through Friday 9:00am-3:00pm.
Why did we move?
We are growing! The new space has a lot more room. We have a larger area to play in Lend & Learn, a dedicated infant room, a kitchen and snack area, two accessible family restrooms, and a checkout closet. There’s a large outdoor play area that will be fenced in on all sides. Additionally, we have a utility room with on-site washer & dryer, a community meeting room, expanded office space, a Baby Bags diaper bank room, and volunteer workspaces. You can make an appointment to tour the new building starting in September by emailing Charity Quinn, Lend & Learn Coordinator, and firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, mark your calendars for our Open House event on Monday, September 27 from 8:00-10:00am where we will be doing a ribbon cutting and launching a week full of community events for National Diaper Need Awareness Week!
When will we reopen Lend & Learn in Columbia and Centralia?
Everyone wants to know when we will reopen the Lend & Learn play spaces. We wish there was a reopening date on the calendar, but unfortunately the date is still to be determined.
Safety is the number one priority as we serve families. In March 2020, Lend & Learn temporarily closed our indoor play spaces in Columbia and Centralia at the beginning of the Covid outbreak. Since then, our team has created new ways for families to play and learn at home with monthly activity kits. While the hope was to reopen this fall, a recent surge in Covid cases in our community has caused us to delay reopening plans. Meeting in indoor and crowded spaces has been proven to increase risk of exposure and spread of the virus. When the levels of community transmission come down, we will have the indoor play areas ready to go for families to play with strategies in place to continue to protect your safety.
Pop-Up Lend & Learn
While our indoor play spaces are closed, we have decided to take Lend & Learn outdoors to parks all over Columbia! Families with children ages 0-5 are invited to attend Pop-Up Lend & Learn play events this fall! Your family will be able to explore different parks, play on the playground, participate in fun learning activities, socialize with staff and other families, eat snacks, and take home a book and small activity pack.
Each event has a fun theme and play activities for your young child! We’ve chosen outdoor parks in different areas of Columbia which are accessible for wheelchairs and strollers and have open restrooms on site. We also have one Pop-Up Lend & Learn event in Centralia. Activities alternate on Wednesdays and Thursdays, including one evening time. All events are free and open to the public. Come and go as your schedule allows.
To reduce the risk of spreading illness, families are asked to avoid crowding together, frequently wash and sanitize hands, and stay home if you are ill or have been in close contact with an ill person.
Watch our facebook page for any changes due to weather or Covid.
Lend & Learn Home Visits
Have you ever wished for a little extra support as a caregiver? Someone to talk things through with? Someone to bring new play ideas and materials for your child? Our Lend & Learn Coordinator is offering in-home and virtual visits to share support, tools, and resources that will strengthen your family. We can help with play activities, social and emotional growth, language and motor skills, family stress, transitions, child development screenings, mental health resources, and more! Reach out today!
Toy Set Checkout
Pretend, play, learn, and explore at home with our Lend & Learn Baby and Toddler Toy Sets! Each toy set comes with a handout that shows you how to extend your child’s play and learning. You may view and reserve the checkout items online at the following links:
The toy sets may be borrowed for two weeks and then returned or exchanged for a new set. Use the main entrance at the First Chance for Children building (1002 Fay St) and ring the doorbell for assistance. We ask all adults to wear masks when entering the building.
Contactless, curbside pickup and return is available on Tuesdays 9am-3pm and Thursdays 1-3pm or by appointment. Text/call Charity at 573-340-1341 when you arrive in the parking lot, and she will bring the checkout items to your vehicle.
NEW! Hiking Backpack Child Carriers
Do you enjoy the outdoors? Did you hike before children, or have you been thinking of introducing your little one to a new outdoor activity? We can help!! Starting this summer, we have five backpack child carriers for hiking that will be available at no cost for checkout through the Lend & Learn Toy Library!
The child carrier is for children weighing between 16 lbs. to 40 lbs. A child must be at least six months and able to sit upright unassisted. Checkout is for one week to allow for many families to utilize the carriers. Learn more