Celebrating Library Week at 3 “Play and Learn” Spaces

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestEmail this to someone

When the term “library” comes to mind, the action word “read” probably follows. Most likely the word “play” does not follow (perhaps because, at least in my family, playing is often a rowdy, non-library-friendly activity). However, according to the developers of various “Play and Learn” sites installed at several Twin Cities-area libraries, play is paramount when it comes to children’s reading readiness. Did you know that? I hadn’t thought much about it until I started researching libraries for this article. But it makes sense. Play is essential in supporting storytelling, which boosts vocabulary and uses their imaginations to work out real world experiences. My preschooler and I observed National Library Week by visiting three libraries in the East-to-SE Metro that have been recipients of these “Play and Learn” grants to see what kind of enrichment they’re offering:

Stafford Library - play and learn

Library: RH Stafford Branch of the Washington County Library | Woodbury
Space: Smart Play Spot designed by the Children’s Museum of Minnesota
Details: Shop at an alphabet outdoor farmers market, camp out with cuddly critters in a tree house, drive a motor boat and explore Washington County Parks. The Smart Play Spot incorporates the six domains of Minnesota’s Early Childhood Indicators of Progress (reading, playing, singing, writing and talking) with imaginative play opportunities.

Park Grove Library - play and learn

Library: Park Grove Branch of the Washington County Library | Cottage Grove
Space: An interactive “Play and Learn Space”
Details: Small, quiet spaces encourage letter and number recognition, a cozy place to curl up and read, and a collection of manipulatives specially designed for infants and toddlers.

South St. Paul Library - play and learn

Library: South St. Paul Library
Space: An indoor space to promote imaginative play experiences
Details: My 3-year-old loved the play cafe, navigating with the pretend rocket ship, and choosing books in “The Little Room”, a space dedicated to youngsters.

These are just three spaces carved out at local libraries for kids to work their imaginations, plump up their vocabularies, and prepare or enhance their reading success. Do you have a favorite branch that promotes play? Let us know so we can share!

Additional libraries with Play and Learn spaces:

Hopkins Library | Hennepin County Library
Maplewood Library | Ramsey County
Mississippi Library | Fridley, Anoka County
North Regional Library | Minneapolis, Hennepin County
Rondo Library | St Paul Public Library
Sun Ray Library | St Paul Public Library
Wescott Library | Eagan, Dakota County Library

01/24/2017 Update: George Latimer Central Library has introduced new Early Literacy Toys to its children’s room. Beginning in January, they’ve added a veterinary clinic just for little ones, including vet tools like stethoscopes and blood pressure cuffs, an exam table, and even an x-ray station. The library encourages parents to enjoy this opportunity to learn and play with their little ones while building skills to begin kindergarten.

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestEmail this to someone

About the author

Anne Kingston

If we left it up to Anne to write her own bio, it would never get posted. She doesn’t enjoy talking about herself, but Anne does love exploring the Twin Cities with her family and sharing her finds here. She, her husband and their four kids are lifelong residents of St. Paul.


Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

© 2016 Family Fun Twin Cities LLC. All Rights Reserved. 1786 Carroll Ave, Saint Paul, MN, 55104, USA

Read previous post:
2 Monday Flash Giveaway Family Conference Passes

Conferences-everywhere I turn there is another conference. And guess what!  We have two giveaways happening today. You can enter Moms...