Remember the days when the library was colorless (besides white walls and grey or brown rows of books), super quiet and pretty boring for a kid? Oh, you still assume that’s the case? Chances are if you have kids under the age of five, you have been to the Traverse Area District Library (TADL) on Woodmere. Grey still exists because who wants light colored carpet as the kids run around and sometimes spill water or colorful crafts they just made during story time? My kids would stay all day if I let them – and I would too if they offered lunch and nap time. Wait, this isn’t what you remembered as a kid? Thankfully, libraries have changed drastically and have become sanctuaries for kids of all levels to grow, play and learn. TADL has adapted through the years and offers many practical ways to engage kids in learning, playing and becoming literate. Here are some of our favorite things about TADL.
Boat, Puzzles and Puppets
I have met other moms at the library for play dates because they have so much fun and it’s easy to keep track of them as they wander around. My kids love choices and getting to switch from playing with the puppets to climbing in the boat to putting together a puzzle to finding a book to checkout is exactly what they need. There are also tons of board books on the floor for babies and toddlers to touch and feel.
Save Time: Did you know that you can check out a story time kit? These kits are great because they are themed and include a book, craft and puppet. Someone else figures out all the details? Yes please!
The best thing about story time – both indoor and outdoor – is that the staff understands that kids need to move, sing and just be silly. Each program is a little different, based on the theme and location, but there are always fun stories, silly songs and toys to play with that go along with the story. This takes place inside at the conference room in the Youth Services section during rainy or cold days and outside behind the library on warm and sunny days. Check out the calendar on TADL.org for specific details about story time, including the day and time at different locations.
My kids run to the train when they see it. Their imaginations take over as they ring the bell, yell “All aboard!” and pretend to travel to fairy tale lands. It’s safe for kids of all ages to play and crawl on.
A few months ago I wanted to rent Trolls for my kids to watch at home since going to the theatre isn’t a great idea for my one-year-old. I assumed they wouldn’t have the movie and was surprised to learn that they did, but all copies were currently checked out. I was added to the waiting list and received an email a few days later letting me know we could rent it. How much does it cost? Renting movies is FREE (unless you forget to return them on time!).
1000 Books Before Kindergarten
This program was brought to TADL and the sister libraries last year and it has been a HUGE success. The goal is simple: read a 1,000 books to your kids before they start kindergarten. This may seem daunting, but it goes fairly quickly. Join the program to track your progress and earn some cool perks for your kids (and you too!). Youth Services does the work for you while you go through a reading list – 100 books at a time. Your kids get to write their name on the 1,000 Books wall after you complete each list as a family. Find out more information about the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten program by visiting TADL.org.
Recommended Book Lists
How often have you taken your kids to the library (or anywhere) and assumed you could figure it out when you get there? This always goes well because your kids are quiet and never wander. Huh? For real? Maybe my kids can learn from you. For the rest of us, checkout these awesome book lists. Trust the book experts in Youth Services. They deal with kids and books all day! Here are a few sample categories in the beginning readers section:
Save Time: As long as you have a library card, you can login to your account online and place a hold on the books you want to checkout. Then, you will get an email or text message when your books are ready to be picked up! Sounds like a great job for your significant other on their way home from work when you don’t want to mess up nap time.
I love reading books to my kids, but it can be time consuming since the errand, laundry and cooking fairies have yet to show up. We do read books, but I also discovered the magic of turning on a podcast while my kids are playing quietly. Need to send an email? It’s easy now that their minds are engaged while they play and listen. You can discover this magic too in the TADL.org @ Home section. You can also access digital magazines, ebooks, videos, articles and a ton of other cool stuff. It’s FREE and all you need is a library card.
The events tend to change season to season, so checkout the calendar on TADL.org for fun opportunities for your babies and toddlers, older kids over five and even teenagers.