Eisley Martin quietly plays pretend during Henderson Mom and Tots Playtime. Martin and other littles played and enjoyed activities during the new program.

HENDERSON — Living Hope Church’s Family Center was special place for moms and young children Friday morning, marking the first installment of Mom and Tots Playtime.

“We don’t have anything in our community for young kids and moms during the winter,” said Joanne Haidle, who helped start the recurring event. Haidle and fellow Henderson mom Laura Jost saw that need in the Henderson area, and started Mom and Tots Playtime.

“We both have small children and during the winter months the days at home can get long and lonely,” Haidle said. “We thought other parents must be feeling the same, so we decided to plan something to reach out to stay-at-home parents.”

Mom and Tots Playtime is geared primarily towards children ages 0-5, but older children are also welcome. The morning playtime starts with free play, which gives parents time for connecting, too. Babies, toddlers and young children played with a variety of toys – from doll houses to mini racetracks, while moms shared conversation and coffee.

A planned activity and snack are also provided, plus another special treat. “We’re going to have some reading time, too,” Haidle said.

“Since we don’t have a public library in Henderson, we thought this would provide a bit of structure and learning opportunity plus a space to run and play,” Haidle said. “We also hope for community building among moms in the community.”

Mom and Tots Playtime is held 9:30 a.m. until 11 a.m. Fridays in January and March, at Henderson’s Living Hope Church Family Center. There will not be a Mom and Tots Playtime session Friday, Feb. 14.

Henderson Living Hope Church was known as Henderson Mennonite Brethren Church until recently. Haidle said the name change – and Mom and Tots Playtime -- help share the church’s mission. “The motivation was out of a desire for connectivity and removing barriers within the community,” she explained. “Mom and Tots Playtime aligns with [Living Hope Church’s] broader desire to love, serve and connect with our community in practical ways.”

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