One of the best things about the library is that it truly is for all ages, whether you’re over 100 or under one. Speaking of the latter, if you happen to have a very small person in your life, you might occasionally get the urge to leave the house or lose your mind. When this happens, I almost always think first of going to the library. Here are ten tasks that you can do with even your littlest library loves that will drive away the boredom, get you into good routines for encouraging your child’s growing imagination and creativity, and make you feel like you both had a productive and fun-filled day.
1. Liger’s Den: The Liger’s Den is your number one library stop for littles. It has a window that kids love looking outside at, a puppet theater with a basket full of puppets to put on shows with and make silly voices for, rocking chairs, little tables, and chairs, and our recently added wall of toys for babies to interact with. And also board books, which can be pulled off the shelves and put back in completely random order because kids worship chaos.
2. Storytelling Wing: When there isn’t a program going on, the space is very open and toddlers love using the colored squares to play tag, the ground is lava, and other games that probably will not make sense to you. It’s also a nice, out of the way place to just let out some energy, practice tummy time, sing to your baby, chase and tickle your kiddo, or socialize with other parents and kids.
3. Storytime: Storytime is a great way to get your baby’s energy out before naptime and to learn some fun stories, songs, fingerplays, etc. to try out at home. Plus you get to socialize and laugh at your baby’s reactions to the storyteller and the other kids. Laptime is generally for a younger audience and storytime is more for pre-school ages, but I have brought my baby to both if she’s in a good mood because the more you learn, the more you can absorb and work on at home. Another perk is that although laptime/storytime are only three days a week, there are different storytellers each day! There is also a Music & Movement class (Mondays at 10 am), which is best for 18-month-olds and those with a slightly longer attention span. For the complete schedule, click here.
4. Activity Day Calendar: Every month the librarians print out a stack of calendars with reading/learning activities to do on each day (they are on the bookshelf in the Liger’s Den). The activities are simple, easy, and once again give you that satisfying feeling of having been productive and totally rocking the whole “raising a human” gig. I put one on our fridge at home for when we need ideas. Grab one next time you’re at the library or get one online.
5. Stained Glass Window: At some point, your child is going to fall in love with the stained glass window art, “Windows to the Imagination.” It is destiny. When that happens, be ready. Ask the librarians for books about the fairy tales featured on the wall and make sure you know them—really know them, not just the Disney version. The librarians can even give you a sheet of paper with the history of the stained glass window and an activity sheet that gives you a list of featured fairy tales, characters and objects to find on the windows (my favorite is “dismembered fingertips”), and some conversation-starting questions.
6. Lego at the Library: Have you heard about our new Lego at the Library program? If not, check out the details. My baby is much too young to play with the Legos they use in the class, but we have played with the bags of Duplos that are available to check out at the Children’s Desk while Lego at the Library is going on.
7. 1000 Books Before Kindergarten: This library program started here almost two years ago and has been great fun for our little patrons and their parents. The idea is very simple—keep a book log and try to read 1000 books before kindergarten. You also get small prizes to celebrate milestones and an annual party at the library for completing the program. Sign up and get a brochure/book log at the Children’s Desk.
8. Summer Reading: You probably already know about the children’s summer reading program at the library, but did you know that we also have a baby summer reading program for kids under 2? All you have to do is set some reading goals and if you keep them every week, you get to have your brochure stamped and receive board books for prizes. You also get to attend a special storytime for kids under 5 in the Liger’s Den while the regular summer reading programs are going on.
9. Check Out All the Things: It’s surprising how much more enjoyable reading to your baby becomes when you’re reading something besides the same fivebooks over and over. But there’s a ton of stuff to check out for your babies besides books, including DVDs from our “Very Young” section, kits that containa collection of items related to a theme (such as nursery rhymes, wordless books, 123s, ABCs, holidays, and many more), and CDs that are great for dancing, learning rhymes and rhythms, and expanding your musical repertoire.
10. Take Pictures: Take a picture of your baby at the library and post it online and tag us. You should be taking pictures of your baby all the time anyway because it’s a great way to pass the day, it creates memories, and your baby is cute as heck. Tag us @OremPublicLibrary on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and we will like it and likely share your photo or include it in a future blog post and you will feel famous.
BONUS REASON: One more thing to do before or after your Library visit is to stop and play at the All-Together Playground, which was finished just last year and is full of cool playground equipment for all ages and abilities.
Happy Library Travels!