Creativity, community service behind upcoming Southampton library activities

southamptonThe Southampton Free Library wants kids to think for themselves.

That’s a theme running through a few of the upcoming kids’ activities the library has over the next few months.

“They’re open-ended and geared toward self-discovery,” explained Heather Soltroff, youth services librarian at Southampton. “The children learn through doing.”

Through grants from the Institute for Museum and Library Services as administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Education through the Office of Commonwealth Libraries, the library is hosting a “block party” starting Jan. 28 and continuing the first Monday and third Thursday of each month from February through May.

In each hourlong program, children ages 2 and up are given building blocks and toys including vehicles, people and buildings. They’re encouraged to build something they imagine, then build upon it at subsequent meetings.

“It’s an open space that allows them to experiment and bond with other children and adults,” said Soltroff. “That’s very important for this age group.”

A similar grant also funds the Leap Into Science: Air Is Everywhere event, also on Feb. 18. A fixture in Philadelphia libraries for a few years, Leap is coming to Bucks for the first time next month.

In this program, children can try out different experiments and create structures that teach how air is all around them, and how air pressure and wind can move objects.

“It’s really geared toward experimentation. They’ll go to different stations and discover things on their own,” explained Soltroff.

The library is also bringing back Reading Goes to the Dogs with Nor’Wester Readers. Here, anyone can read books to therapy dogs. It’s a practice especially beneficial to children learning to read or people with learning disabilities.

Reading to the dogs increases relaxation, as they listen attentively, don’t judge or criticize and allow readers to move at their own pace.

New this year is Valentines for Vets, a program Soltroff discovered when the Bensalem Public Library launched it last year.

From Jan. 17 to Feb. 2, the library will provide supplies for people to make their own  Valentine’s Day cards that will then be delivered to military veterans through the Bucks County Veterans Center in Bristol.

“It’s a good way for people to give back to the community that all ages can participate in,” said Soltroff. ••

If you go:

The Southampton Free Library, 947 Street Road in Southampton, will host the following free events:
Valentines for Vets. Tuesday, Jan. 17 to Feb. 2, during regular library hours
Block Party. Saturday, Jan 28, from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m., then each first Monday from 1 to 2 p.m. and third Thursday from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. through May.
Leap into Science. Saturday, Feb. 18, from 2 to 3 p.m.
Reading Goes to the Dogs. Saturday, Feb. 18, from 11 a.m. to noon.
For information, call 215.322.1415 or visit southamptonfreelibrary.org.

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