Niagara University is offering free, Halloween-themed educational events for children and families in various Niagara County locations in October.

Funded by the United Way of Greater Niagara, and titled “Books, Balls and Blocks,” the program’s activities are designed for children between the ages of 4 months and 6 years old.

In addition to Halloween-themed games, art activities, interactive stories and more, families will be offered early childhood development and early literacy screenings.

The events feature active parent involvement as well, which research indicates is linked to a child’s school readiness. Studies by the Harvard Family Research Project show that greater parent involvement in their child’s learning positively affects the child’s school performance, including higher academic achievement.

“As a nation, we are beginning to recognize the integral value that play has on brain development,” said Patti Wrobel, executive director of Niagara University’s Rev. Joseph L. Levesque, C.M. Institute for Civic Engagement. “‘Books, Balls and Blocks' presents rich opportunities for family engagement, learning, early developmental screenings and to help young children build those foundational skills.’”

Schedule of events:

Saturday, Oct. 14 | 1-3 p.m.
Niagara Falls Public Library (1425 Main St, Niagara Falls, N.Y., 14305)

Thursday, Oct. 19 | 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
Niagara Falls Public Library (8728 Buffalo Ave., Niagara Falls, N.Y., 14304) 

Wednesday, Oct. 25 | 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Lockport Public Library (23 East Ave., Lockport, N.Y., 14094)

Thursday, Oct. 26 | 4:30-6:30 p.m.
Niagara University Family Literacy Center (Academic Complex, Room 125)

Refreshments and book giveaways will be provided.

“Books, Balls and Blocks” is a partnership with the Niagara County Early Child Care Quality Improvement Project, Help Me Grow Western New York, and Niagara University’s College of Education Family Literacy Center, which are all part of Niagara University’s Rev. Joseph L. Levesque, C.M. Institute for Civic Engagement.

To register and/or obtain more information, please call 716.286.8309 or visit

To learn more about Niagara University, please visit

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