Westmont Library offers play-and-learn opportunities both here at the library and to take home for kids of all ages.
You may have seen our Playspace, designed with children 0-8 and their caregivers in mind. Our fully stocked play kitchen, dolls, doctor kit, and toolbox offer opportunities for dramatic play. The Lego wall and other building toys give a chance to test out your engineering skills. Put on a puppet show, give the animals a home in the red barn, or practice your manual dexterity with one of the magnetic wooden mazes.
Research confirms that play is an important component of a child’s growth and development. Passing through our Playspace each day, we consistently see and hear evidence of this. As two preschoolers played doctors to a toy dinosaur, they practiced language skills, cooperation, sharing, and imagination. When a caregiver enthusiastically watched a puppet show put on by their young child, they encouraged narrative and storytelling skills which will be helpful when that child starts to read.
For a worry-free digital experience, try a game on our AWE Early Literacy stations. These safe and secure computers are loaded with fun and educational content for children 2-8 years old. The interactive games allow our youngest patrons to practice digital literacy skills while playing on computers designed just for them.
It is important to remember: play is not only important for young children but for children of all ages!
The most recent addition to Westmont’s play opportunities is our awesome light table. Fun for all ages, this captivating table draws children into play and offers them the chance to experiment with light and color as they continue to enhance motor skills, such as hand-eye coordination. Concentration and focus are made easier with the addition of light to the play space.
For those looking for slightly older play options, check out our Wii U. Although many parents worry about the negative effects of video games, studies have shown there are also benefits to playing them: they can have positive effects on basic mental processes such as perception, attention, memory, and decision-making.
Our Wii U comes loaded with games targeted at children 8-12, including Super Mario Brothers, Dr. Mario, LEGO City Undercover, Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards, Monkey Pirates, Ice Cream Surfer, Wind-up Knight 2, Plenty of Fishes, Flower Works HD Follie’s Adventure and Bubble Gum Popper. Although we are not set up to allow games from home or games that are available for check-out, we are positive you will find something fun to help pass the time.
For your playing comfort, we provide a sizable monitor on which to see the games play out as well as hand held controllers which are available for check out while you’re here – all you need is a library card! Comfy chairs to sit in while you play round out the experience. How cool is it that you can come to the library and play video games?
We also provide more traditional gaming experiences with our board game collection that you can pull out and play with friends or family while you are in the library. Apples to Apples, Hedbanz, Guess Who, and Bananagrams are just a few of the games that are available for your enjoyment.
When it’s finally time to head home and you are looking for books and movies to take home with you, don’t forget our circulating collection of play activities. For the youngest children, we now offer Play and Learn Kits for check-out. Each kit includes three books and a toy, along with ideas for maximizing the play experience. For families with school-aged children, pick out a board game from our wide selection of games that can be checked out on your library card. For those who enjoy video games, be sure to browse for your old favorites and the latest releases in our Wii, Wii U, PS2 and PS3, and Nintendo DS game collections.
Whatever age your child is, we hope to see you soon, enjoying our many opportunities to play!
Contributed by Adrian Litwin and Karen Kleemann.