Sometimes we get so caught up in our lives that we forget the simplest, cheapest, and funnest places to take our children. One of those is the library.
“J” and I go to circle time at our local library almost every week, but we rarely think to go on other days and just explore the space. We went a few times when he was smaller, and he spent the whole time clinging to me and/or pulling every book in the children’s department off the shelf and throwing it on the floor.
We are fortunate enough to live in an area rich in libraries, so we don’t have to travel far to find a variety of different choices. I love our local library, but it’s not set up as play-friendly as some of the others nearby. I’ve discovered that some have whole play areas with toys (baby dolls, trucks and cars, the proverbial wood block with beads on it, etc.), as well as comfortable seats for little ones and accessible board books so that they toddlers won’t pull down so many of the other books. It’s actually pretty amazing.
Today we ventured to a nearby library that had a nice but not outstanding play area. Nonetheless, J had a fantastic time, and it was all for free! There were several other kids near his age who showed up, and they all played together quite well. There were some plastic magnetic letters they all seemed to enjoy, as well as bins to put them in and a magnetic board that happened to have a fun “pass-through inside it” (well, a pass-through only large enough for a child under 2!). J also really loves books right now and enjoyed having me read him a few. It was nice to get a little change of pace from the same few favorites he has at home.
Libraries are pretty amazing places. They have so much to offer, especially for children, and they are designed specifically to build literacy and help your child become a lifelong reader and learner. And they are free! You can’t get much better than that.