Playtime program can be beneficial for youngsters

‘Tis the season of giving, and Tiffin-Seneca Public Library is excited to be on the receiving end of that generous spirit this year. We were selected as a recipient of a grant from the 2017 Marathon Classic, with grant money to be used to enhance the program Playtime @ the Library.

Playtime @ the Library provides youngsters, 18 months to 5 years, the opportunity to participate in creative, unstructured play with their caregivers and other children that attend. A variety of open-ended toys and activities that encourage imaginative play and movement are set out. This is a drop-in program offered 10 a.m.-noon one Friday a month during the school year.

Currently, we have acquired items such as a play kitchen, dolls, doctor kit, blocks, rice table, tools, balls and a puppet theater. These items were purchased with a portion of the proceeds from the Tiffin Crawl or are used toys donated by staff. With the new grant money, we are to purchase toys such as a tool bench, small basketball hoop, dress-up clothes and pretend play sets. These new toys will allow us to offer more variety to guests. The money will also be used to purchase Early Learning backpacks, which are full of books and activities such as puppets, puzzles, games or instruments that relate to a specific theme. These backpacks are available for checkout and will encourage caregivers to continue the educational play at home.

We are grateful to be able to offer this program to patrons because we believe free play is very beneficial for young children. During play, they can develop gross and fine motor skills. Children build language skills as they pretend and do role-playing. They build their self-confidence as they try new things. Social development also occurs as children learn to listen, negotiate and compromise with playmates and it helps them learn there are differences in people around them.

Playtime @ the Library also is a great opportunity for parents and caregivers to have social interaction. Participants often have conversations in which they share helpful child-rearing tips and lessons learned, as well as events going on around the area for families. Especially in the colder months, getting out of the house and around new people and new experiences can be a welcome break for adults and children alike.

Another benefit of attending Playtime @ the Library is our partnership with Help Me Grow, a program that promotes healthy growth and development for babies and young children. A representative from Help Me Grow is available during Playtime to answer questions or provide appropriate resources if a participant is concerned or has questions about their child’s growth and development.

If you are interested in bringing a child to Playtime @ Your Library, there is no need to register. Just stop by on one of the following Fridays anytime from 10 a.m. to noon and have some fun with your little one: Jan. 5, Feb. 2, March 2, April 6 and May 4.

For other events at the library, visit www.tiffinsenecalibrary.org or find the T-SPL on Facebook.

Becky Oswalt is early childhood programming specialist at Tiffin-Seneca Public Library.

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