I am kicking myself for realizing this a decade into parenting, but FREE library story times are the BEST. And also? They are FREE. Dorothy and I have been going every Monday since the beginning of school, and we both love it. We had to take a couple of Mondays off because story time moves in 6-week chunks with 3 weeks off in the middle. This coming week is our last one until after Christmas, and Dorothy is not handling the pending change in routine very well. We found a few things to fill the late October-early November gap, and I think having the big kids home will help her cope with the December-early January absence, especially because there are a few holiday-themed library events on the horizon.
Have I mentioned that I LOVE our local library? It's a gorgeous building, and they have a huge collection of new releases available on a walk-in basis and a great statewide computer network through which I can request books for delivery. I love going there by myself to do work on days I don't need to drive all the way to the office. I love taking the kids there on rainy afternoons after school so they can read in the castle or play on the computers and iPads or play with the play kitchen or the puzzles or the trains or the slide. And of course we all love coming home with armloads of books.
Story time, though, is the best. Every week the librarian picks a theme and reads a stack of books about the theme with rhymes, stories on the felt board, and songs between each book. The kids review colors and numbers on the felt board, learn interactive rhymes, and do silly dances. She asks them good questions about the stories she is reading, and they chime in with adorable answers, and at the end of the 30-minutes, everyone does a small craft that she has prepped ahead of time. The story time room is cozy with little plastic circle cushions for the kids to sit on, huge windows that look out on trees and prairie, low hooks for them to hang their coats, and a darling little craft counter with tiny stools under it that runs all around the perimeter. Dorothy hasn't made any fast friends, but she does like hanging out with a rotating group of kids every week who laugh and dance together and share glue sticks. And when story time is over, we grab a few books for Dorothy and Cooper, pick up my teetering stack of library holds, check out (where Dorothy always stamps herself a million times up and down her arms), put some coins in the wishing well in the lobby (because Dorothy loves to watch them roll down the sides) and go get Cooper at school. It's the perfect way to pass a morning.
Working on her family tree craft after listening to books about families: