By JB Clark/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Hundreds of children and parents got their hearts beating faster and their brains working harder while celebrating HealthWorks!’ fourth birthday Saturday.
To celebrate, the HealthWorks! staff opened the facility for free to members and for a $4 fee for non-member families.
Children participated in an inflatable obstacle course, played physically demanding video games and dodged digital dodgeballs while learning about healthy choices.
Dakota Seboldt, 8, was running around a screen in the floor. On the screen was a ball and if he let the ball hit his feet, the animation exploded and he lost the game. He jumped and dodged as the one ball split into two, making the dodging harder.
“It’s called dodgeball and it’s on beginner,” he said. “We’re playing with some other people. It’s really fun. You can’t let the ball touch you.”
Stacey Loden, conductor of creative chaos at HealthWorks!, said they put on special educational events every hour Saturday for the 225 visitors.
Linda Stokes, known as the chaos queen, said more than 100,000 children have visited the center over the past four years.
“In 2009, through our school health centers, we realized childhood obesity and children’s health is a big issue in our area,” she said. “We felt like this was something our region needed, something for our kids to do that’s not only fun, but also teaches them about health.”