BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Dozens of children received a surprise visit from Santa Claus as they participated in a day of fun and learning.
The 7th annual "Come learn with Santa" event helped Gulf Coast families prepare their children for school. The activities at the event are designed to improve motor and cognitive skills that are necessary for academic success. Of course, the day was filled with the spirit of Christmas.
"We are excited because our children have the opportunity. They do designated, age appropriate activities," said Susan Hunt.
Hosted by Biloxi Excel by 5, the event is geared towards children until the age of six.
Hunt described, "We're trying to get our children better prepared for kindergarten. Reading aloud to your children can be so very important. Just singing and dancing and enjoying the season is one of the things that we like to do."
Parents like Adam Gradyan were pleased with everything available to the kids.
"It's really nice to see, especially my little girl because she just started walking not too long ago, so it's really cool to see that she's not crying and actually really happy about it. My son loves all the crafts and stuff," Gradyan said.
There were activities that ranged from making ornaments and decorations to face painting and a visit from Santa.
Even Biloxi councilman Paul Tisdale joined in on the fun with an enthusiastic reading of the Night Before Christmas.
Gradyan believes it's a good environment to help kids learn how to interact with others they may not know. He explained, "It's good interaction, it's always good to meet new people, especially because that's a good development for kids."
Each child in attendance was able to go home with a new book from Excel by 5.