Libraries really are a frugal mom’s (and dad’s!) best friends. You can check out a childhood worth of bedtime stories. You can find classes and storytimes for both babies and big kids. You can visit play areas stocked with toys, books, and computers. All for the low, low price of, well, FREE.
We dropped by the library last Saturday after I discovered via their really useful (to borrow a phrase from Boo’s favorite tubby and top-hatted railroad controller) website that there was a drop in (which means you don’t need to register in advance) “Playgroup Plus” class at 10:15 a.m. I’m always happy to find a library activity scheduled on a Saturday morning because Boo now has preschool three mornings a week (which also happens to be prime library class time). Plus, it means I can
drag invite hubby along with us so he can help me juggle the kiddos and the camera 🙂
The flyer said to expect “stories, songs, and group playtime.” Sounded like a perfect way to spend a Saturday morning to me! Note: Playgroup Plus will continue on most Saturdays and Wednesdays for the remainder of 2013 (click here for dates); be sure to check the library’s calendar to see what the schedule will be for 2014.
Incredibly, we actually arrived early to the library (I know; true sign of the apocalypse, right?), so we had a chance to look around a little first.
There is a large parking area in front of the building, as well as additional parking around the sides.
The entrance is right up those stairs in the middle. There is also a ramp in case you have a stroller with you.
Once inside, you will notice the information desk on your left, and a staircase on your right. The children’s area is down those stairs.
There is also an elevator just to the left as you enter the library. You can take that down to the children’s area too.
Boo and I headed for the stairs while hubby took the stroller with the little guy (sorry, I promise to come up with a blog name for him soon; it’s harder than I thought!) down the elevator.
I should mention that if you go down the elevator, head left to go to the main children’s area, and right to go to the playgroup room. If you go down the stairs, you will be right in the middle of the main area, but if you keep walking straight ahead down the hall, you will find the playgroup room. Am I making any sense?
Fortunately, the library staff is very friendly and they are more than happy to point you in the right direction or answer any questions. And you know I ask a lot of questions.
Seeing as we were early (insert gasp here), we decided to take a look around the main children’s area. Wow. This place is amazing! It’s like the playroom you’ve always wanted. Lots of engaging activities for the little ones. Lots of comfy seating for you 🙂
As you can see, the space is HUGE. I love that it’s so wide open, not least because it makes it really easy to keep an eye on your kiddo as he/she runs around playing.
There are several distinct play areas, each with their own theme. Here’s the play kitchen.
Here’s the ever-popular train table.
There’s this cozy LEGO building area.
And a puzzle nook.
Getting there early was a great thing until we had to try to coax Boo away from his new favorite play area to go to Playgroup Plus. Fortunately, I had taken a sneak peek at the room beforehand, and I could promise him that there would be trucks.
Now, let me be clear that this little Playgroup Plus class is about 90% “playgroup” and 10% “plus” (meaning the storytime activities). But that is just fine because once the kiddos land their eyes on those mounds of colorful toys, 10 minutes of structured activity is going to be more than enough 🙂
Today, there was a short song, a brief story, and a little poem (the theme seemed to be “spiders”). Just right.
Then it was playtime!
Even the little guy seemed to be enjoying himself.
There were only a few other kids there, ranging in age from baby to preschooler. It’s a giant room though, so even if there’s a crowd there will be plenty of room to play.
On our way into the children’s section, I had noticed this sign.
Of course we had to see what this was all about. Turns out there is often a (free) craft project available, but visitors are not always aware of it. So today they were trying to get a little more attention with the sign. If you don’t see a sign though, ask at the desk.
The craft room is located just beyond the desk, in the corner. It’s adorable.
All the supplies for today’s project–pine cone turkeys–were set up on the tables, including a sample pine cone turkey for reference.
We got our pine cone at the desk and got crafting!
Then Boo recited The Very Hungry Caterpillar for us with the help of these wall decals 🙂
Of course, we couldn’t leave until I had scoped out the bathroom. I did find a changing table (and a diaper pail!) in the women’s room, and although I did not get hubby to peek in the men’s room, that koala changing station icon is on the door, so I bet there is one.
After playing, and playgroup, and crafting, it was time to head home. But you can be sure we’ll be back. With winter days right around the corner, I have a feeling this is going to be my new favorite hangout!
What’s your favorite library for the kiddos?
Current Hours (October – April):
Mon – Thurs: 10-8
Fri & Sat: 10-5
Click here to see summer hours, special September hours, holiday and other closings, and for the most up-to-date information.
Playgroup Plus Class (2013):
10:15 am -11:30 am
- Nov 6, 13, 20
- Dec 4, 11, 18
- Oct 26
- Nov 2, 9, 23, 30
- Dec 7, 14, 21
Tips & Things to Bring:
- The library is very stroller-friendly, with ramps, an elevator, and wide open spaces.
- Check out the library’s calendar for all their events and activities.
- You can also check out the list of museum passes offered by this library here.
- Children’s section has play kitchen, train table, LEGO table, puzzles, bead maze, computers, comfy seating for parents and kids, and of course, books.
- Free WiFi available; ask at the desk for the password.
- The Playgroup (family playtime) program should continue on Saturdays after the new year, they are just not sure which ones will be “Playgroup Plus” yet.
- Either way, it’s a great (and don’t forget FREE!) opportunity to get out, meet other local parents, and give your kiddo(s) a chance to play with other children.
- Restroom with changing station.
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- The Independent Day School – Located on a rural campus in Middlefield, CT is a private pre-school, elementary and middle school, serving families from over 20 communities.
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