A Plethora of Preschool Possibilities (at the Library!)

You won't believe some of the things you can find at your local library that are just perfect for preschoolers!

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I've shared before how we're just a little bit in love with the library around here (be sure to read this post on 15 Reasons to Love the Library if you haven't already!), so it only makes sense that I target all the great resources you can find there that are perfectly tailored to meet a preschooler's needs!

The library's a playground for a preschooler!

Some of these ideas will probably seem pretty obvious, but I'll bet there will be just a few that will surprise you!


There are plenty of preschool programs offered by the library. Although occasionally you'll find a few with a nominal fee to cover supplies, most often the offerings are completely free:
  • Plays (Our library system brings in a professional company for these once a month -- we're looking forward to the "Prince & the Pea" next!)

Last month's production of "Goldilocks & the 3 Bears."

  • Story Time (Often weekly and involve stories, fingerplays, and songs as well as fun tools like parachutes, bells, shaker eggs and felt boards. Some libraries even offer bilingual story times, as well!)

We have a great relationship with the entire staff at our library, but we especially love our "Miss Carol!"

  • Bedtime stories (A chance to wear pajamas & bring your favorite blankets for stories and songs)
  • Craft sessions (These usually match a particular book that's read before the kids are directed to a collection of supplies and shown how to complete a particular craft.)
  • Lego clubs (Our library calls this a "Block Party." Bins of Legos are provided and the kids create whatever their imaginations inspire!) 
  • Teddy Bear sleepovers (Gv's been looking forward to this since we learned about it last year. Kids bring their stuffed animal to the library for a sleepover. The next morning, everyone enjoys a breakfast of donuts as the librarians share photos and crafts from the night's antics.)
  • Reading incentive programs (Want to participate in even more? Check out this post on Great Reading Incentive Programs for more ideas.)
  • Dance (This ranges from informal, silly kid-song dancing to actual lessons from skilled instructors.)
  • Yoga (Often local yoga instructors volunteer their time to gently introduce basic yoga postures to youngsters.)
  • Weekly playgroups (A great way to meet other kids -- and moms -- that live in your area!)

Meeting friends at the library -- what could be better?

  • Opportunities to meet real authors and illustrators (These are usually local authors and artists, but often there's at least one or two big-names each year, too!)
  • Concerts (This is one of our favorite family activities at our "summer" library while camping!)
  • Family film nights (Usually the films shown come straight from the theater -- a great chance to see almost-fresh flicks for free!)
  • Magic shows and balloon sculptures (It's like bringing a birthday party to the library!)
  • Musician sessions (Jack Hartmann might be coming to your library, too!)
  • Special traveling programs (Our favorite was when the "Pig Man" came to visit with his pet pig that was treated just like a human baby!)


Everyone knows that a library is full of books, but there are many other neat things you can check out and take home, as well:

Gv's current stack of "all hers" books that she can read by herself!

  • Music (Remember my 31 Days of Great Children's Music series? We found all of those great tunes at our library!)
  • Movies (Libraries order movies well before they're released on DVD, so grab your spot on the "hold" list while the shows are winding up their theater run!)
  • Magazines (Magazines are often the best secret weapon to use with a child who's not all that interested in reading!)
  • Board games (There are so many games that are fun to play! See my 31 Days of Games a 3-Yr-Old Can Play series for ideas.)
  • Playaway Launchpads (These tablets come with preloaded educational games in the areas of STEAM, early literacy, science, critical thinking and more!)
  • Puzzles (I am always amazed at how these puzzle sets keep all their pieces! My guess is that not many people know about them and that keeps them whole.) 

A whole new world opens up to you, when you get your own library card!

  • Puppets (A fun way to mix up your read-alouds!)
  • Toys (I've found these are often big, expensive toys that you wouldn't want to purchase, but are awfully fun to play with occasionally!)
  • Instrument kits (Our library offers ukuleles along with books that teach you how to play them, but a nearby county even checks out violins!
  • STEM kits (These are amazing! Pick a topic and get everything you need in a bin to study it -- books, DVDs, consumable supplies, even a microscope! A homeschooler's dream come true!)
Can you get over how many things this STEM kit contains? Not only did it come with all the things you see here, but there were also little consumable "fossils" to break open and explore using a set of included tools!

  • "Theme" kits (Like the STEM kits, these include plenty of activities, but the theme kits usually center around one particular book.)
  • Museum passes (Usually found in big cities, these include free admission to local museums, zoos, and aquariums!)


Even beyond the many materials to check out and special programs to attend, your little one can find plenty of fun activities to engage in when you're tired of reading "just one more book" out loud:
  • Crafts (Often there will be a craft table set up somewhere, with rotating projects to try. At the very least, I bet you'll find some crayons and coloring sheets sitting around!)
  • Stuffed Animals (These include giant bears you can cuddle up in the lap of as well as book characters your child loves.)

  • Felt boards (Our summer library has this set up and it's always one of Gv's favorite things to play with there.)
  • Lego tables (Where a child can build and build and build...)
  • Special project displays (These are projects created by kids -- not usually something to play with, but imagine how tickled these children are to see their creations on display for everyone to see at the library!)
  • Board games, puppets, toys (Aren't these things always more fun and exciting when they're encountered outside the home?)
  • Computers (Even if you have a computer at home, often you'll find that your child can have a free subscription to a site while they use it at the library. abcmouse.com is one that I've seen in libraries all over the country!)
  • A chance to make a new friend (Several of Gv's friends have come from the library -- two of them even live on our same street! In this day of neighborhoods lacking groups of kids playing outside, it's great to connect with others in the community!)

Friends and books: a winning combination!

  • Playgrounds (Not all libraries include a playground, but they are often located next to one, making the library a convenient, one-stop shop!)
Not only does our local library share space with a park, but our "summer" library does, too!

Honestly, this list doesn't even cover all the great things a library has to offer! And the older your kids get, the more options they have to choose from (Chess club, sewing lessons, "Maker" rooms, and robotics classes, just to name a few). Be sure to include fantastic library activities like these on your summer bucket list (and keep them on, the whole year through!)

In our house, summer means lots of time for reading!

Also, don't forget -- it's a new month, which means I'm over at Pam Barnhill's site again sharing homeschool solutions for the preschool years.

My post over there is the perfect companion to this list here -- I've written all about The Bountiful Benefits of the Library for Preschoolers. Hop on over to read all the reasons why these fun programs, materials, and activities are so helpful for children at this important stage in their life!

Have you heard of all of these great library resources already, or were there a few that surprised you?  I'd love to hear!  Either leave a comment below or email me at lisahealy (at) outlook (dot) com.

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  1. Thanks for joining us at the Inspiration Spotlight party. I remember when my kids got their first library cards. So many great ideas. 😉

  2. We too LOVE, LOVE, LOVE our libraries! Especially after living without them overseas for over a decade, we will never take them for granted again! Thanks so much for linking this up at Booknificent Thursday on Mommynificent.com this week!

  3. Libraries are awesome! Our local one does lots of English/Welsh story times and singalongs, and there are so many reading schemes, etc, especially in the school holidays. When all the leisure centres and so on were council owned we used to run free swimming sessions if kids showed their library cards at the desk - there was always a huge rise in the uptake of library cards if the weather was good! :)