Each week you spend time imparting early literacy skills to children at story time. But what happens when the children go home? Are they going home to environments that support early learning and development? Do their parents realize the importance of interacting with their children? Do parents feel prepared to work on early learning skills at home?
Love Talk Play is a resource from Washington state that “aims to surround parents of children birth to age 3 with simple messages about three key things all parents can and need to be doing with their children every day: love, talk and play.”
Love Talk Play offers handouts you can share with parents on the importance of interacting with their children. They also provide a list of suggested activities parents can do with their children. You can print the activity sheets to pass out to parents. Parents can also sign up to receive a weekly tip via email.
In North Dakota libraries, many story times focus on the 3-5 year old pre-school age group, rather than the 0-3 year old baby and toddler age group. However, kids never get too old for attention from their parents, and many of the 3-5 year olds at your story time may have younger siblings.
If you have a lot of children attending story time with a day care provider instead of their parents, perhaps the day care would be interested in sending home information with the kids. It would be a great way to remind parents that their child visited the library that day and to encourage them to visit the library with their kids.
What resources do you share with parents at story time? Share your suggestions in the comments!
Many libraries have started LEGO programs. LEGOs are popular with kids and can be a big draw. When programs are so popular, it can be easy to focus on the excellent attendance and forget that block play is also educational. LEGOs aren’t the only kind of block either. If you don’t have LEGOs at your library, that doesn’t mean your patrons have to miss out on all the block playing fun. You can use other types of blocks or building materials to get the same benefits.
Children learn many skills playing with blocks, and there are seven developmental stages of block play. You can read about the stages in the articles “Block Building: Opportunities for Learning” and “Building Blocks? Brilliant!” If you are preparing to offer a block play program, Nancy P. Alexander has a helpful article “All About Unit Block Play” that includes what children learn through block play, tips for play time, and a checklist for your play area.
Here are some ideas for other building programs you can offer at the library for a variety of age groups:
Does your library offer block play or other building programs besides LEGOs? Tell us about your ideas and suggestions in the comments!
This month I’ve rounded up some ideas for self-directed library clubs. No, not your typical book club. These are clubs anyone can join just by visiting the library, and they are designed to encourage families to visit the library.
These ideas are all from Marge Loch-Wouters a children’s librarian in Wisconsin who blogs at Tiny Tips for Library Fun. You can tell clubs are a successful programming tactic at her library, since she has multiple ideas. Why not give it a try at your library?
- Reading is Key: A program for babies and toddlers designed to bridge the breaks in the story time schedule.
Have you hosted a self-directed library club? Did it increase the number of visits to your library? Share your stories in the comments!