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Play group to start in Belfield

Press Photo by Linda Sailer Jenny O'Brien of Belfield pushes swings for her daughters, Elizabeth, left, and Delilah, right in College Park at Dickinson on Friday morning. As outings become limited with the cold temperatures, O'Brien is helping organize a community play group in Belfield.

A community play group for children is being organized in Belfield as a way to meet new friends and get out of the house for several hours every week.

Taking care of her daughters Elizabeth and Delilah, Jenny O'Brien has met other moms at the Belfield swimming pool and city parks this summer, but the social opportunities are more limited in the winter, she said.

"We've noticed a lot of stay-at-home moms are coming in -- a lot of the husbands work in the oil fields," she said.

She contacted the Belfield Park Board to support her idea of a community play group.

"We're hoping to meet once a week at the Great Plains National Bank," she said.

The play groups will meet at 10 a.m. on Wednesdays. The first meeting is Nov. 3.

"We'll do some simple arts and crafts, maybe read some books," Jenny said. "I'm so excited about it."

An adult must stay with the children, helping them with the crafts or the reading.

"Grandmas, grandkids -- they are all invited," she said. "It doesn't have to be just moms. Other people with kids at home during the day need to get out of the house."

The gatherings will end with a simple snack -- maybe animal crackers and juice boxes.

To raise funds for the crafts and snacks, a bake sale is planned during Belfield Park Board's Halloween party on Sunday, Oct. 31. The party is from 1-4 p.m. at the St. Bernard's Parish Center, 404 Third Ave. NE.

As a stay-at-home mom, O'Brien said, "I think for me it's a whole lot less stressful. The kids aren't rushed out the door in the morning."

Jenny is working with Kristen Dye to organize the play group.

Kristen and her husband, Darin are the parents of a son, Kooper. Coming from Idaho, they arrived in Dickinson in July 2009 and recently moved into Belfield.

"A community play group is definitely a place for children to expel energy and for mothers to gain some sanity," said Kristen.

She anticipates the play group will include games and crafts.

"When we moved here a year ago, we didn't know many people -- it's nice to meet more," she said.

Registration is appreciated so enough craft supplies are available. Call 701-575-8401.