‘As long-distance grandparents who want to stay in touch, this was a big gift’

Person reading from and showing picture book with a bee

For the past four years, Oak Park library patron Lindsay Olson has hosted a weekly Zoom storytime with her granddaughters on the West Coast. “We were so grateful we had our storytime sessions in place when the pandemic hit,” Olson says. “Not seeing our family for two years was made easier by our Sunday storytimes.” … Read more

Learning through gardening: Videos & activities for early learners

Miss Shelley giving two thumbs up in the Maze Sensory Garden

By Shelley Harris, Children’s Librarian Have you ever explored the little side yard of the Maze Branch Library (pictured above)? It’s not exactly quiet, because it’s right next to the expressway. But it can still be a cozy place to curl up with a book, do some yoga on the grass, watch for butterflies in the … Read more

Kids summer reading: What to read, listen to, watch & do!

Summer Reading June 1-August 31: Oceans of Possibilities with two children reading and listening with headphones while riding a fish

By Children’s Librarian Eileen Saam Summer is here, and so is this year’s summer reading program: Oceans of Possibilities! The program runs all summer long, June 1-August 30. Here at the Oak Park Library, we are so excited about all the possibilities that the summer reading program provides for kids and families. Everyone is encouraged … Read more

Exploring social-emotional learning: A new virtual tutorial for caregivers & early learners

A side view of Ruthie the camel puppet

By Shelley Harris, Children’s Librarian At the library, we often hear from parents, teachers, and other caregivers that social-emotional learning (SEL) is important to you. What exactly is SEL? Let’s take a brief look and then dig in below. What is social-emotional learning? Social-emotional learning is a learning approach that helps people understand their emotions, feel those … Read more

Spring sensory play: Videos & activities for early learners

Toddler touching a flower on a bush

By Shelley Harris, Children’s Librarian Play is how kids learn. We say this so often because it’s one of the most important things for adults who raise or work with kids to remember. Librarians included! Babies, toddlers, and preschoolers learn best when they can explore the things and world around them in their own way and own … Read more

April is Autism Acceptance Month

Librarian Shelley Harris points to an AAC board

By Shelley Harris, Children’s Librarian Did you know that April is Autism Acceptance Month? This month devoted to celebrating autistic people and autistic experiences was created 11 years ago by advocate Paula C. Durbin-Westby. In this interview, Durbin-Westby explains, “The word ‘acceptance’ is much stronger than ‘tolerance,’ especially the begrudging sort of tolerance I saw so … Read more

Learn to cross-stitch: A virtual tutorial, in-person event, books & more for grade 4-8

Cross-stitching materials: a hoop, embroidery floss, needles, and a pencil on a table

By Children’s Librarian Hal Patnott If you’re looking for a relaxing craft that’s easy to learn, try cross-stitching! Once you know the basics, following a pattern is a lot like doing a paint-by-number. Even a beginner can create beautiful designs. Join us for an interactive crafting workshop, check out our virtual tutorial On April 28, … Read more

Nature fun: Videos & activities for early learners

Cartoon kids playing in tree outside

By Shelley Harris, Children’s Librarian Jenny and I are huge fans of nature programming at the library. We’ve offered nature classes for babies, toddlers, preschoolers, elementary-aged kids, and kids of all ages with disabilities, for years. That’s because nature allows us to expand learning in both reading and science! As Anne of Green Gables would say, … Read more

STEAM Discovery Kits: At-home learning & exploration for grade schoolers

STEAM written inside a circle and surrounded by different line-drawn icons: a laptop, a pencil, a paint brush, the numbers 1, 2, and 3, a compass, a microscope, and clouds, all with a square grid background

By Children’s Librarian Eileen Saam At the Oak Park Public Library, we are always looking for ways to foster learning experiences for the children who we serve. We have done lots of research into ways that we can emphasize STEAM learning in the resources that we offer our young patrons. In particular, we have developed … Read more

Women’s History Month: Videos & activities for early learners

Women's history BINGO card

By Shelley Harris, Children’s Librarian How young is too young to introduce kids to history? There’s no such thing as too young! There are so many delightful and age-appropriate ways to share information on fascinating people from all time periods. Below are some suggestions for videos, books, and activities to share with your early learners! … Read more

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