When it comes to keeping children entertained, parents can spend more money than they realize. Everyone wants to provide fun, engaging experiences for their children, but they also want to be wise in their spending. As a parent to young children myself, it can be challenging to keep my kiddos entertained, especially as cooler temperatures approach. Thankfully, the area in and around Tippecanoe County offers several rich, memorable, and educational programs for children to enjoy throughout the year. Listed below are some of my top picks:
Tippecanoe County Public Library – Downtown location
The library is a great place to visit for any age, but the TCPL Downtown location has some great programs for preschoolers you won’t want to miss. Every Tuesday and Wednesday morning from 11:00-11:30, the library hosts Preschool Story Time, which is designed for children from 3-6 years of age. During the half hour time slot children will enjoy stories, songs, finger plays and book-related fun. If you are unable to visit the library during the work week, TCPL also offers Stories Under the Sculpture every Saturday morning from 10:30-11:00. Children of all ages are welcome to enjoy listening to old favorites as well as new titles under the Heartland Odyssey sculpture. Check out the TCPL website to register for programs
and for more information on upcoming kid/family events at www.tcpl.lib.in.us.
The Home Depot Kids Workshop
Every Saturday morning, The Home Depot hosts a hands-on learning Kids Workshop from 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM. During the workshop, you and your child will work on a specific DIY project together, which usually includes building a small object, painting and decorating your project. Each child gets to keep his/her project, and receives a certificate of achievement, a Workshop Apron, and a commemorative pin. Each workshop is different and requires your name and email address to sign-up. Check out www.thehomedepot.com for more information. Click on the DIY Projects & Ideas tab near the top of the page, and select FREE DIY Workshops to find out what the next project will be.
West Lafayette Public Library
The West Lafayette Public Library offers similar programs as the Tippecanoe County Public Library. Every Tuesday and Friday morning at 10:30, the library hosts Preschool Story Time in the Children’s Activity Room. In addition, WLPL also offers a fun program called the Lego Builders Club, which meets the first Saturday of each month from 1:00-2:30 PM. Children in preschool through grade 6 have the opportunity to build with the library’s collection of Lego blocks. The children’s structures will be on display in the cases on the first floor of the library, near the elevator, for three weeks following each program. Check out the WLPL website for more information on the various kid/family programs offered at www.wlaf.lib.in.us and to register for events.
Barnes & Noble Story Time
Every Saturday morning at 11:00, Barnes & Noble hosts a children’s story time. After the book reading, children are invited to participate in literacy related activities. You can visit the Barnes & Noble website to see all of the upcoming story time book reading selections. Visit, www.barnesandnoble.com and click the “Stores & Events” link located near the top right corner of the webpage.
Columbian Park Zoo
The Columbian Park Zoo is not open during the winter months. However, it’s a great summertime experience for children of all ages. It is free to the public and is open during the Spring, April 22-May 26 from 10:00 AM – 4:30 PM; during the Summer, May 27-August 13, from 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM; and during the Fall, August 14-October 14, from 10:00 AM – 4:30 PM. The zoo is a great place for children to learn about and interact with various animals. The Kiwanis EdZOOcation Station, located next to the Family Farm exhibit in the zoo, is a place where patrons gather for interactive and educational animal presentations. Children will encounter many of the zoo’s current residents, including exotic birds, snakes, and various mammals. Check out the zoo’s website at www.columbianparkzoo.org for its daily schedule.
Each free program offers a variety of educational benefits to your child. During a Home Depot Kids Workshop and the West Lafayette Public Library’s Lego Builders Club, children will be practicing and improving their fine motor skills. At the Columbian Park Zoo, children will be learning about animals and their habitats. Participating in the various reading programs offered by the Tippecanoe County and West Lafayette public libraries, and Barnes & Noble book store, will expose children to fun, rich literature, which will improve speech/vocabulary, listening/focus, and comprehension skills. I hope you are able to enjoy one or all of these free programs throughout the rest of this school year. Your children will not only have fun, but they will also be receiving many educational benefits. But perhaps, the most important take-away of all, your child will have a chance to spend quality time with you, a benefit that can never be replaced.
By: Bethany Sallade K4 Teacher, Faith Christian School