UPDATE 1/28/16: This post was written in 2014 and while it should still give you a good idea of the overall experience of this activity, it is possible that some information may be out of date. Please be sure to check the South Windsor Public Library’s website for the most up-to-date information, especially concerning things like hours and schedules. And if you see something in this post that needs updating, please feel free to leave a comment on this post or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to make those updates. It takes a village, right? 🙂
Mandy and I have been singing the praises of our state’s public library system lately (like here and here), and today’s post is about yet another wonderful, weekly, and totally FREE program offered by the South Windsor Public Library: Family Stories.
This drop-in storytime event takes place EVERY Saturday morning at 10:00 a.m. (except in the summer months when it moves to Monday evenings; see Momsense for details). Like most library drop-in programs we have been to, it is open to residents of all towns (not just South Windsor). And that is where Boo and I ventured last Saturday.
The South Windsor Public Library is very easy to find. Coming from Glastonbury, I just hopped off 84E at exit 62 (Buckland Hills), hung a left, and then followed Buckland Road (the road that goes by Evergreen Walk) all the way until it crosses Route 30 and you see the entrance to the library (it’s the 3rd driveway on the right). If you will be coming from a different direction, you can find alternate driving directions here. In any event, the signage is excellent. Just follow the signs around to the right. You can’t miss the building or the parking lot.
That’s Boo posing in front of the building. He’s all about being in the picture these days 🙂
Parking was plentiful, convenient, and FREE. Another plus: If you’re wielding a stroller or herding a crew, the children’s section is practically right through those front doors on the lower level. You couldn’t ask for easier! Boo is especially fond of these powered doors. He’s always opening the door for me. Such a little gentleman 🙂
It was immediately clear to us that there were going to be lots of wonderful things to explore in this library. But first: Storytime.
We headed for the Program Room, which is to the far right side of the children’s library.
The Family Stories program is recommended for children ages 3 and up. Younger kids are welcome if they are able to sit (relatively) still and listen to the stories.
Today’s theme was “birds,” and it started out with a little question and answer session identifying some common avian characteristics (feathers, beaks, wings, etc.). This was great because it got the kids involved right away. Next, we heard a series of stories about, what else, birds! For one particularly colorful book, the librarian handed out copies to each child so he or she could follow along and enjoy the illustrations. For another book, the kids were encouraged to participate by making animal sounds when appropriate. We even took a break between stories to do a little penguin waddling 🙂
After the stories, we turned our attention to a coloring activity at the back of the room. (I especially love that picture of Boo at the bottom righthand corner. It’s like he’s totally spent from all that creativity 🙂 )
When Boo was finished coloring, we could have hung out in the room for longer and tackled some of the puzzles and other fun things we saw in there.
But of course, Boo had spotted the train table on our way in, so of course we had to make a beeline back to that!
The children’s library has so many fun nooks for reading, learning, and playing. And all of them have some type of seating for mommies and daddies too. Score!
Near this train table you’ll also find an adorable play house.
There’s also this cute corner for the preschool crowd with tons of toys, puzzles, and books.
The children’s library also has a dedicated young adults’ section, lots of tables and chairs for reading or studying, computers, puppets, inspiring book displays, and so much more.
While Boo was busy playing with the amazing doll house donated by the South Windsor Mom’s Club (love those ladies!), I snuck away to check out the restroom situation. I’m happy to report there is a family restroom (woohoo!) with a changing station located just behind the circulation desk in the front right corner of the children’s library.
For additional restroom facilities (no changing station), you can also turn left out of the children’s library and venture down the hall. You’ll see them on your left.
While you’re at the library, be sure to pick up a flyer with information about their other drop-in and registered programs for children and young adults, which are open to the general public (preference is given to South Windsor residents for registered programs, but if there is space, anyone is welcome to join).
Boo and I spent nearly two hours at the library that morning. It’s a fun place! And even though the weather wasn’t quite up to spring standards, we still took advantage of the relative warmth, and a surprise picnic table, and had a little outdoor snack before heading home.
It’s not often that Boo and I get to do anything just the two of us these days, and Family Stories plus a little playtime at the South Windsor Public Library was the perfect way for us to enjoy a relaxing morning out together.
You can also get directions from the library’s website here.
ph. 860-644-1541 (Main) 860-644-5404 (Children’s) 860-644-2302 (Hours)
Family Stories (2014): Saturdays (except during the summer) at 10:00 a.m. Last Saturday storytime before the summer 2014 hiatus will be Saturday, June 14, 2014. During the summer months, you can join Family Stories on Monday evenings at 6:30 p.m. from June 30, 2014 to August 11, 2014.
Friday 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Sunday 1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. (closed on Sundays during the summer)
- Stroller Friendly: YES! The children’s library is located on the lower level right where you enter from the parking area (there’s an elevator too if you need to get up to the upper level), and there is plenty of room to maneuver your stroller throughout the area. Folks have even been known to arrive toting their kiddos by wagon 🙂
- Coffee Mug Friendly: YES! Technically, there are no food or beverages allowed in the library, but the children’s library generously makes an exception for beverages with no-spill lids, and snacks can be eaten so long as they are contained in the children’s program room.
- Baby Changing Station: YES! There is a baby changing station in the family-style restroom in the children’s library (kind of behind the circulation desk in the corner).
- Parking: Very convenient parking directly in front of the library entrance.
- Food for Sale: NO
- Outside Food Allowed: See “Coffee Mug Friendly” section above.
- Cash Required: NO.
- Dress Code: Nothing special for you or the kiddos. But remember that you may want to sit on the floor with them for storytime.
- Evening/Weekend Hours: YES! The library is open Monday-Thursday until 9:00 p.m., Saturdays from 9:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. (until 1:00 p.m. in the summer) and Sunday 1:00 p.m.-4:30 p.m. (closed Sundays in the summer). Family stories takes place on Saturday mornings during the school year and on Monday evenings during the summer months. See the library’s calendar for more information.
Tips & Things to Bring:
- Family Stories is recommended for children ages 3 and up but younger children may attend if they are inclined to sit still and pay attention to the stories (basically, they don’t want your children racing around the room whooping like wild animals and being disruptive to other children who are trying to pay attention to the stories; some kids can do this younger than others (Boo is 3 1/2 and sometimes I still have to remove my little screaming banshee from the storytime room 🙂 )
- Family Stories is a drop-in event that is open to families from all towns; you do not need to be a South Windsor resident to attend.
- A parent or caregiver must attend with the child for Family Stories; no drop-offs.
- Family Stories lasts about 30 minutes and includes stories, music, and other activities.
- Check out the South Windsor Library’s other programs for children ages 6 months to 5th grade and beyond! Many of them do require advance registration, so be sure to check the library’s calendar for important details and registration dates. Preference is given for South Windsor residents, but children from all towns are welcome to register.
- Check out their other drop-in events like 2nd Saturday Matinee, when the library screens a G-rated movie at 2:00 p.m. (snacks are provided or bring your own). Check the library’s calendar to confirm dates and film titles.
- Free WiFi available for library patrons.
- There is lots of green space, several benches, and even a picnic table outside the library if you’d like to extend your outing with a picnic lunch.
- 4D Vision Gym – A vision training center located in Cromwell, CT where Dr. Juanita Collier, MS, OD and her staff show members how to utilize Vision Therapy to correct visual issues and make leaning and playing easier and more fun.
- The Independent Day School – Located on a rural campus in Middlefield, CT this private pre-school, elementary and middle school, serves families from over 20 communities.
- Kathryn Deane Photography – A natural light photographer located in West Hartford, CT and specializing in maternity, newborn, child, family, and senior portrait photography.
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