Doodlebugs in action (photo: Hocking County Early Childhood Program)

Doodlebugs To Display Artistic Talents At Bowen House

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For the last six months, the youngest artists in the neighborhood have been exploring their talents and pushing the boundaries of expression through foot-and hand-print designs. After much hard work, the fruits of their labor are scheduled to be showcased at The Bowen House during the last three weeks of February.

The Doodlebugs program, which began in August, is an opportunity for babies to get out and gain experiences in a structured and organized environment. Under the guidance of the program leaders, the little ones have had a chance to create fantastic works of art.

“It is an art program that is free to the community that is targeted for newborns, infants and toddlers,” explained Stephanie Brausey, Central Coordinator for Hocking County Early Childhood Programs.

The program is geared towards helping the youngsters develop their social and sensory skills, giving the child exposure mediums that they might not have a chance to play with at home at such a young age, like paint and glitter. It also gives them an opportunity to develop socially, giving them time to interact with other children as they all work on their projects.

“I’ve also noticed that the parents have been socializing as well,” shared Brausey. “Some of them have become friends, they’ve started coming together and using each other as support systems. Also, they will bring up topics to talk about, and I’ll over hear them and support them if I can. Like, one parent was having a hard time getting her child to eat fruit, so we started exploring smoothies, and how we can do that.”

The program also gives the parents and leaders a chance to keep an eye on the children developmentally, watching for any signs that special attention might need to be given. By noticing that a child is having difficulty picking up a puff-ball to glue onto their paper, leaders and parents might be able to identify that perhaps that child may be in need of physical therapy, or a child may not be seeing or hearing as well as they could be. According to Brausey, sometimes those developmental delays can be detected through programs like this, and Early Childhood Programs does have an early intervention program to help.

Primarily, however, Doodlebugs is about learning through fun and play. Together, the little ones have actively participated in creating bright and colorful pictures with their parents. Since its inception, the program has grown by leaps and bounds, starting with 20 children and peaking at approximately 55 children before inclement weather deterred some parents.

The art show at The Bowen House will feature the adorable pictures that they children created during that time, including pictures of turtles, lady-bugs, penguins, owls, snowmen, butterflies, fish, birds, and bumblebees, among other subjects.

This is an opportunity for the little ones to show off their skills, and all of the artists have been invited to attend on opening night. Neighbors are warmly invited to attend and appreciate the talents of the children, who can be identified by their nametags.

Opening night is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 7 from 2 to 5 p.m., with punch and cookies available. Following opening night, the exhibit will be available during regular business hours at The Bowen House until the end of February. For more information, contact the Hocking County Early Childhood Program at 740-380-1315.