Food, games and fun rule during annual play day

Saturday, June 7, 2003

The gymnasium at Alma Schrader Elementary was packed wall to wall with screaming, jumping kids and smiling parents, while the aroma of hot dogs filled the air at Blanchard Elementary during each school's annual play day Friday.

Instead of their usual classroom routine, students spent their second-to-last day of school having fun and playing games.

About 300 children at each school, from kindergarten through fourth grade, participated in the activities, which were also open to parents and other family members.

"We have races organized by the physical education department and a carnival with games, face painting, crafts and prizes," said Ruth Ann Orr, principal at Alma Schrader. "The kids get to eat pizza, hot dogs, hamburgers -- all those things they can't always eat during the regular school year."

At Alma Schrader students took part in a cakewalk, tic-tac-toe game and expended energy by jumping around in an inflated rubber room known as a bounce pit.

'The best part'

"The games are the best part," said Alma Schrader second-grader Kyle Edmonds. "The jumping is my favorite."

The bean bag toss, egg and spoon race and tug-of-war were popular games at Blanchard. The opening ceremony for the games featured remarks by Cape Girardeau Mayor Jay Knudtson, and the Cape Girardeau Police Department was on hand, running radar on speeding baseballs thrown by the children.

"This year we've changed it to where all the kids are winners," said Blanchard PTA member Jerra Hutson. "The kids are rewarded for just participating, and each kid takes home about four or five ribbons."

For students at Blanchard, games were coupled with movies for a complete day of fun, said Hutson. Half of the day was spent playing, while the other half was spent enjoying a movie on a big-screen television and eating popcorn, she said.

Each class at Blanchard also designed their own flags, complete with bunnies, monkeys, hand and foot prints and Hawaiian hula dancers.

"The flag presentation at the opening ceremony was great," said Teressa Johnson, Blanchard PTA member.

But the best thing about the day was the break from the schoolwork, said 9-year-old Blanchard student Jessica Eudy. "I like the hula-hooping. But I really like that I don't have to do any papers."

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