Please note: This post was written in 2017, and while it should still give you a good overview of the experience, please be sure to check their website for the most up-to-date information, especially about program dates and times.
I first wrote about my local library, the Welles-Turner Memorial Library in Glastonbury, CT, about five years ago when my big guy (we used to call him “Boo” then, but somehow that nickname no longer seems to suit my now 6-year-old–oh well!) was still itty bitty. We explored the children’s section together and also took a storytime class (which they still offer!) called One is W-One-derful.
Since then, we’ve continued to spend time at the library whether it’s for participating in new storytime classes, checking out books, attending one of their fabulous drop-in programs or celebrating occasions like Dr. Seuss’s birthday (they even have cupcakes!).
About a year ago, I started taking my younger son (then 2) to a new program being offered on Friday mornings called Tinkerlab. This drop-in program was focused on toddlers and preschoolers and provided all sorts of fun and experimental activities for them to explore. It was also a nice chance for me to catch up with other mom friends in a relaxed and unstructured environment 🙂
I don’t know why I never thought to bring my camera and snap a few pics of this event for the blog (maybe I was enjoying myself too much!), but the year came and went and before I knew it my toddler was a preschooler and no longer free on Friday mornings to attend Tinkerlab with me.
Then, I discovered that for Take Your Child to the Library Day this year (which was Saturday, February 4th), there would be a special session of Tinkerlab! So of course I jumped at this second chance to feature one of my favorite library programs on the blog.
As you can tell from the above flyer, Tinkerlab is only offered at certain times of the year. This current session runs until March 3rd (2017), so you still have a few Fridays to check it out.
You can find all the logistical details about the Library in my earlier post. I think things are more or less the same from that perspective.
Tinkerlab is a drop-in program, which means that you don’t have to register in advance and it’s open to everyone. It meets in the Story Room (also called the “Children’s Program Room”), which is in the Children’s Room. So you’ll want to enter the Library from the lower parking lot.
The Story Room is directly to your right as you enter the Children’s Room.
When Tinkerlab is in session, there are different stations set up with engaging activities for the kiddos. The activities vary from session to session, so there’s always something new to explore. Here’s a sample of what we found on this visit:
Translucent blocks are way more interesting when stacked together on a table lit from beneath.
An experiment with magnet wands and magnetic (and not magnetic) items.
And a space for building.
There’s no real structure to this event. The kids can just wander from one activity to another and spend as much time as they like. Parents are encouraged to explore with their kiddos, but even if you’ve got a little Miss or Mr. independent, you’ve still got to stay in the general area (no drop-offs at this drop-in!).
Of course, outside the Story Room, other highlights of the Children’s Room include the playhouse:
The train table:
And now, this new prehistoric resident!
A visit to the Library is also a great opportunity to see what other programs are being offered 🙂
So mark your calendar for the next few Friday mornings, and drop into Tinkerlab with your toddler. You’ll be glad you did!
Tinkerlab at the Welles-Turner Memorial Library
Children’s Department: 860-652-7718
Tinkerlab meets on Friday mornings from 10:30am-12:00pm. The winter 2017 session runs from January 13th through March 3rd. Check their calendar for additional dates.
Mon, Tue, Thu 9am-9pm | Wed 12pm-9pm
Fri 9am-6pm | Sat 9am-5pm | Sun 1pm-5pm
(Closed Sundays, mid-May – Labor Day)
Stroller Friendly: YES, you can also take the elevator to access the Children’s Room.
Coffee Mug Friendly: NO
Baby Changing Station: YES
Food for Sale: NO
Outside Food Allowed: NO
Cash Required: N/A
Dress Code: N/A
Age Recommendations: Tinkerlab is recommended for kids ages 5 and under.
Evening/Weekend Hours: YES
Birthday Party Venue: N/A
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