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Ease kids back into school through library offerings

I was at the playground a few days ago with my friend Traci, and we talked while our daughters played. All of a sudden it hit us – summer is almost over.

Then there was a more chilling realization: We hadn’t made our kids practice in their summer math and reading workbooks nearly as much as we had planned to.

Suddenly we were torn between two last-ditch options: soak up the last bits of sunny freedom with our kids or scramble to get their brains back in shape for the upcoming school year.

Later that day, I thought of a compromise that would allow us to coast just a little bit longer. Would you like to join us?


Here’s what we’re going to do: We’re going to ease the kids (and ourselves) back to school by starting them out with fun activities at the library. We’ll stimulate their brains, but they’ll be having so much fun they won’t even realize it. And then before you know it, they’ll be back at school. It will be like the frog boiling in the pot of water – one minute they’re making crafts with their favorite librarian, the next minute they’re memorizing times tables at school.

The best part? It costs nothing. Here are just a couple of my favorite options.

• Puppy Tales Storytime. Celebrate National Dog Day by listening to doggy-themed stories, making a doggy-themed craft and enjoying a visit by Phoebe the dog. It takes place at Hamburg Public Library, 102 Buffalo St. in Hamburg. Call 649-4415 to register.

• We’re off to kindergarten. Starting kindergarten can be a magical and special thing. The North Tonawanda Public Library will host a program for children entering kindergarten in the fall. Children will listen to fun stories about going to kindergarten, sing songs and make a craft. You can even bring something for show and tell. What great practice!

Afterward, parents can bring their kids into the meeting room and help them choose from a display of back-to-school books to be checked out. It takes place from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday. Registration is required, by calling 693-4132.

• The Launch Pad. This “MakerSpace” looks more like something you would find on the set of a Nickelodeon show than in a library, but there it is on the second floor of the Central Library next to Fables Cafe, smacking you in the face like, “Welcome to the future.”

You want STEM? They got STEM. In this space, there are the technology and instructors to help your kids do 3-D modeling and printing, augmented reality books, interactive puzzles, circuit building, robot creating, audio recording and more. You can also learn book art, origami, drawing and other arts and crafts.

There are always lots of other great exhibits and activities going on at the central branch of the Buffalo library, too. Right now, there’s a history of the Purple Heart military medal display, “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” is playing at 1 p.m. Monday and there’s a “Milestones of Science: Books that Shook the World” exhibit of first-edition and rare books. And that’s all just in one day. The place is amazing. Call for more information, 858-8900.

• Niagara University Repertory Theatre. The student actor troupe will perform children’s theater at the library at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday.

It takes place at the Clarence Public Library, 3 Town Place in Clarence. Call 741-2650 to register.


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