Monday, March 20, 2023
Today is the first day of spring! Woohoo!
While here in Minnesota, it feels like spring is still weeks away,
we are, nonetheless, eagerly enjoying the hint of its arrival!
Today we are excited to share the first post of a regular feature we call
We love going on adventures with our Littles!
There are so many fun places to explore together,
building shared memories along the way!
Today Laurie will share her thoughts on the topic
as she highlights one of her favorite places to visit with Littles…
I love to take Littles out and about in the community!
It started many years ago when I was taking care of great nieces and nephews.
I discovered having a Little with me made everyday errands so much more exciting.
Now I enjoy it with my own granddaughter!
I love pointing things out, asking for an opinion on what I should get,
letting them hold and scrunch items going in our cart!
Littles love the lights and colors and shapes they see around them
and all that chatter leads to wonderful vocabulary building, too!
Sometimes I fear people might think I’m a bit crazy…
especially when out with babies still in their car seats.
They see this older woman chatting away.
and think I am having a Grand conversation with myself. 😂
One of the places I love to go to the most with Littles is the library!
I have so many fond memories from my own childhood,
riding my bike to the library and coming home
with a bag full of books - new worlds to enjoy!
If you haven’t been to the children’s section of a library
since you were a Little yourself,
you are in for a treat!
I started taking Little D to the library when she was quite young.
There are usually children’s sections in libraries
which contain LOTS of books
but also puppets, games and small activities.
Most libraries have baby to school age programs that are free. This past winter as Little D became more active, I was delighted to find Baby Storytime at a local library offered on the same day of the week that I take care of her. We meet in a separate room in a circle led by a children’s librarian. We read books together (we each get our own set to use during the reading so those little eyes can focus easily on the pictures). We spend time doing rhymes and songs for about 15 minutes, and then bins of toys (that are cleaned and sterilized after each session) are pulled out for playtime.. At this age we typically see parallel play (playing next to each other, but not necessarily engaging with each other) but this experience is such a nice exposure to socialization, and the moms, dads, and Grands all love the chance to focus on their own Little and to chat with other adults, too!
After story time, Little D and I spend some time in the children’s library.
There are building toys, a grocery story, train tracks, puppets,
fun chairs, magnets, coloring sheets and more!
Of course my favorite part is the opportunity to explore new books with Little D
and have her see other Littles and adults enjoying books and reading.
And, I do have to admit,
a big plus for a new walker
is the large space for them to walk safely and explore in cold and rainy weather!!
I always can count on a good nap for Little D
after the excitement of the trip to the library!
Always take your Little’s lead! It took awhile for Little D to appreciate the main focus of the library - the books! There was so much for her to explore and do. Now we are finally at a point where she loves to pick out books and read with me.
Look on-line for programs and activities at your library! I love to pick up a seasonal “brochure” at the library, and circle things that I think Little D’s mommy and daddy could do with her on Saturdays and Sundays, too. There are many fun activities for all ages!
When you arrive, check in with the librarians!. Our library has a weekly “search” game in the children’s section. For example, one week the theme was dinosaurs. Little D was too little to take the sheet and mark off the dinosaurs, but she loved looking around and was very excited when she found one. I also know the librarians are happy to hand out stickers and stamps and bookmarks when you engage with them!
Do not worry if you have loud, busy Littles! I have discovered most libraries have their children’s section separated from their adult section. Of course you want to teach your Littles to have quieter, respectful voices, but don’t stress… like everything else, it is a process to keep working on!
Check out books! It’s free and a great way to keep your own collection revolving! However there is nothing more exciting for Little D than when she finds the same book at the library that she has at home!
Introduce your Little to the place they are visiting by reading about it ahead of time! This week while volunteering in a kindergarten class, I found that the children were working on these two books in Language Arts. I could only find A Visit to the Library by Rosalyn Clark in my search (the other must be owned by a curriculum company), but there are plenty of books out there to choose from. Personally I prefer sharing nonfiction books when introducing these kinds of adventures.
Here are links to two songs you could sing with your Little, too, to set the stage before heading to the library!
Going to the Library by The Kiboomers
I Went to the Library by The Wiggles
Model enthusiasm! Thursday was always my library day at school when I was teaching and I would begin the day by saying “I am SOOOO excited for today! Why??” and the kids would all yell “Because it’s LIBRARY DAY!” And I do like to say that I had one of the best book return rates at my school because the kids knew how excited I got when I saw their new books. 😍
Give yourself grace! As a teacher and book lover myself, I’ve spent too much time trying to convince Little D we were at the library for books. I finally realized “Hey, it is a fun morning out of the house, I get to look around at a lot of things and it’s a quiet(ish) and warm place to spend a winter day. It’s all is good!” Plus, Little D loved it!! We have finally reached a point where Little D has finally figured out that all those books (as well as the puppets, baskets of play food, magnets, cool posters and really fun chairs to climb on) are pretty awesome!
If you have older Littles in your life
don’t overlook an outing to the library together!
Older Littles can be more independent when enjoying time at the library.
Some may be totally engaged looking at and reading books on their own!
Others may welcome some direction. Here are 3 fun options:
#1 - Picture Book Scavenger Hunt!
This scavenger hunt will help your Littles discover all different kinds of books
as they explore the library and all it offers!
Feel free to use this graphic or
you can create your own list of book topics
to include In a scavenger hunt.
NOTE: Younger kids can bring you the books once they are found.
Older kids can write the name down of each book found.
#2 - A Note of Kindness!
We read about this idea and it sounded like such a wonderful way
to practice kindness with our Littles and then pass it on to others!
Before heading to the library,
spend some time writing a few encouraging messages
on post-its or post cards!
Ideas include, “I hope you like this book.” or “Wishing you a nice day.”
When you are at the library, look through the books
and choose a few of your favorites.
Stick a message inside each one!
Imagine how fun it would be to discover such a note
in a library book you’ve checked out!
#3 - I Spy with My Little Eye!
Littles love to play the game, I Spy, so it is a great choice for a quiet game
to play at the library!
Find a spot where you can see a lot of book covers and you can talk softly together.
One person is chosen as the leader,
looks around and then picks a book without letting anyone know what it is.
Then he/she offers clues while the others guess.
Here are some ideas…
I Spy With My Little Eye
• a book about dinosaurs
• a book that has a sun on the cover
• a book that shows lots of colors
Others guess what book the leader is thinking of..
This is a fun way to look at a variety of books while using our skills of observation!
As a reminder…
if you and your Littles have moved books
from their library shelves while doing an activity or two,
be sure to be respectful and return each one “to its home!”
It’s the kind thing to do!
We hope this post provides some inspiration for you
as you find yourself on the go with your little ones!
And, of course, neither of us can think of a better gift to give your Littles
than sharing your love of books with them!
Wishing you all lots of adventures ahead!
We’d love to hear about your adventures with your Littles!
Please consider sharing in the comment section below!
We wish you a great week ahead as you welcome spring into your world!