The Lehighton Rec Center was filled with giggles and laughter last week. It was the sound of learning.

Nearly 350 children attended the 24th annual Children's Health Fair, hosted by Blue Mountain Health System. The health fair was open to children from preschool through second grade.

"We want to give the children a good start, by teaching them healthy habits," said Mary Lou McGeehan, community education coordinator at Blue Mountain Health System. "We try to make it fun and interesting. They're learning about health and safety, but in a fun way."

The theme for this year's health fair was "board games." Students were treated to a board game-themed activity as they rotated through each activity station.

Popular games such as "Twister," "Chutes and Ladders," and "Monopoly" all made an appearance at the fair. A "Twister" theme was used to teach students about different colored fruits and vegetables at a station hosted by Rep. Doyle Heffley's office. Children also used the colors on the Twister game to do a short dance, hopping from color to color to music from the "Ice Age" movie series.

In the "Chutes and Ladders" station, hosted by the Blue Mountain Health System rehabilitation services, students hopped, crawled and did other physical activities through a life-size game board to learn about the importance of physical fitness.

Children also tested their poison knowledge at the "Trouble" station, trying to tell the difference between poisons and regular food products, like rabbit pellets and rat poison, or Comet and Parmesan cheese. Children were reminded to use "Mr. Yuk" stickers on all dangerous products. The station was hosted by Carbon County Safe Kids.

Other activity stations included "The Lady Bug Game," teaching children about good and helpful insects (Penn State Master Gardeners); "Checkers," the effects of tobacco and cigarettes on the body and lungs (Carbon-Monroe-Pike Drug and Alcohol Commission); "Don't Break the Ice," which taught the importance of stretching before exercise (Pyramid Sports Complex); "Candy Land," sharing healthy snack options (BMHS Nutritional Services); "On the Shore," sharing healthy and unhealthy choices (AmeriHealth); "Puzzles," which focused on cancer support services and removing fear and confusion over treatments (Cancer Support Community of the Greater Lehigh Valley); "Life," teaching children about bullying (Domestic Violence Service Center); "Operation," sharing information about the hospital emergency department (BMHS emergency services); and "Bugs and Company," where students learned about the viruses that make us sick and vaccines that can prevent illness (BMHS laboratory services).

While this year's program was attended primarily by students in local school districts, the health fair is also open to home-schooled students. McGeehan encouraged parents to look for information about next year's program and to consider bringing their children to the 25th annual health fair.