I don’t remember the library being this cool when I was a kid. But ever since becoming a parent, I’m a frequent patron of various Anne Arundel County libraries.
When my oldest son, James, was just a few months old, I attended the “Babies in Bloom” story time with the exuberant and incredibly patient Ms. Suzanne at the Annapolis Library. I was nervous going at first because I hadn’t been out much with James, who was a pretty fussy baby. The first few weeks, he didn’t do much except sit in my lap and gape at the bustle of energy going on around him. But I enjoyed being around other parents, and honestly, some days that story time was the only thing that got me up and out of the house. Once I had two kids, it became even more crucial to get out with them, and the library literally has something going on for children almost every day.
When James started preschool this year, I had a few hours to kill with my younger son, Luke, so we started attending the preschool story time at the Edgewater Library. It’s been more challenging finding time to do things with just Luke. He has always just tagged along wherever his big brother was going. So I absolutely adored spending this one-on-one time with him on Thursday mornings.
He was very shy at first, sitting on my lap and barely talking to anyone. But after a few visits, the leader, Ms. Michelle, totally won him over. I was amazed that she remembered his name when we’d sneak in a few minutes late after dropping James off at preschool. She had a great knack for keeping the toddlers and preschoolers engaged and interested throughout the stories and activities.
There was a simple craft at the end that corresponded with the theme of that day’s story time. I loved how Luke would always take his finished craft up to Ms Michelle, so proud to show it off to her. I feel like it’s been a great preparation for preschool. He’s learned to sit still, listen to an adult and interact with other children. Plus after each story time, we would go out into the children’s section and spend at least an hour playing with the activities there. He played games on the computer and picked out as many books as we could carry. I have also found some great shows and movies on DVD there.
It’s incredibly easy to check items out of the library. A personal log-in on the website also shows me all the things I currently have checked out and when they’re due back.
At a recent visit, I picked up their latest “Happenings” newsletter and have already filled my calendar with all the free events for kids and families this summer.
Programs range from magic shows to martial arts. Themed story times include teddy bear picnics, zoo stories, Winnie the Pooh birthday parties, dancing, blocks and even yoga. A Community Helpers Day with firetrucks, police officers and more is held for families who can also check out seasonal activities for Fourth of July, Father’s Day and back-to-school or watch free movies. The summer reading club even has weekly prizes. Kids can take free introductory lessons in ballet, music, Zumba, acting, karate and more. Lastly, there are homeschool book swaps, game nights and a healthy eating workshop where kids can make their own smoothie.
Thanks to the library, I don’t have to search Pinterest to find fun things to keep my kids occupied on hot or rainy days this summer. I just need to head to my closest library.
Check out all their awesome activities on the Anne Arundel County Library website.
Mandy Watts is a stay-at-home mom who lives in Crownsville with her husband, Justin, who runs their family business, and their two sons, 4-year-old James and 2-year-old Luke.