Nearly 100 pre-kindergarten age children and their parents gathered at Specker Field House, Friday to enjoy a couple hours of learning, make-believe and good, old-fashioned fun during Army Community Service’s Play Morning.

Sponsored by the Belvoir Family Advocacy Program, Play Morning is a free, bimonthly gathering for active-duty, retired military and DoD civilian parents and children, ages 5 and younger, that includes social interaction and structured play. Children participate in crafts, story time, play and music, while under the supervision of their parents.

“It’s an opportunity for parents to meet other parents and network and socialize, and the kids can interact with other kids,” said Brianna Crawford, FAP support assistant. “We have crafts, music free play and story time. It’s really a popular event; on average, we have about 100 participants.”

After a quick stop at the sign-in table, the children dispersed in all directions to visit some 20 fun stations, including hopscotch mats; building blocks and fort-building materials; miniature basketball hoops; tea parties with make-believe snacks; stuffed animals; hula-hoops; cars and wagons, and a variety of games. A highlight of the toy selection was a fully appointed kitchen, where the kids could load up shopping carts from cupboards stocked with cups, plates and flatware to prepare “meals” they shared with their parents.

According to the parents, the event was yet another rousing success.

“The kids love it and they really look forward to it,” said Elizabeth Laborce, who attended Play Morning with her daughters, Ana and Ariella. “It’s really good for moms, too, but the kids get a chance to be with other kids, especially because they don’t go to school yet. I enjoy it because there are a lot of other women here. We don’t get to see each other often, because we’re at home. It’s awesome getting together like this.”

“We’ve been here three or four times, now, and I love it; I think the program’s awesome,” added Janay Bullard, who came out with her daughter, Aria. “It’s great for Aria, with all the arts and crafts. I brought my older kids here, last year, before they went to kindergarten and they loved it.”

“We come almost every Friday, and it’s great, especially in the wintertime when the kids can’t really go outside,” said Julie Wallace, who enjoyed the Play Morning with her son, Ronan.

Upcoming Play Morning dates are Feb. 7 and 21; March 6 and 20; April 3 and 17; May 1, 15 and 29; and June 12. Play Morning does not meet on days that Fairfax County Schools are closed. If schools are closed due to weather, Play Morning is canceled.

To register for ACS Play Morning, call 571-231-7028

For more information about Play Morning and other ACS family events, call 571-231-7001 or visit belvoir.armymwr.com