Youth Services Big Play
THE BIG PLAY DATE
A program that can be scheduled for your library as often as you are comfortable with crowds of very young children!
- Every child or family unit of baby/toddler with siblings MUST have parent or caregiver accompany the youngest participant.
- Set up an entire area with “stations” for play – from a sensory corner to a “grocery store.”
- In each station, have instructions and prompts for parents and caregivers. Also, stress safety issues for each activity.
- Here are some other ideas for “stations:” four zones: baby, active, blocks, and activity tables, each zone will have about 4-5 different activities. An example of each includes sensory crawl in the baby zone, a sticky wall in the active zone, cardboard boxes in the block zone, and pipe cleaner/colander sculptures on the activity tables.
- Still more ideas: sensory bins filled with rice, beans, or cooked spaghetti; as well as the messy and HUGELY popular “Un-Sand Box” a shredded paper-filled blow up pool.
- Sensory floor mats: tape together rug pieces with different textures from soft to rough; bubble wrap; shiny silver mailing envelopes.
- Activity center: drawing paper on the wall with crayons, markers, stickers all on the eye level of babies and toddlers.
- Sticky wall – tape contact paper with the sticky side out for kids to put items up on the “board” and see all the things that stick from cardboard shapes to paper towel rollers, egg cartons (cut-up), buttons (large ones!), pom-poms, lots of leftover craft supplies.
- Have a group of board books easily accessible to everyone. You might have large pillows in a corner for the board book corner.
The ideas are limitless – it is space and imagination.
- Start small, and let it grow by how it is received in your community. If it is all positive (including from staff and janitorial staff), think about scheduling it more often. There is nothing wrong with making it only an annual or quarterly program.
- Use some of your regular storytimes to include one or two of the activities, depending on what activities you include each week. The hand-out “recipe” cards are perfect for people who want more. The “recipes” are very simple for parents to do at home.
Here are many resources that were used for MVLS’ “Baby Steps” program.
BIG Play = BIG Fun!