Day two of "Week of the Young Child": Story Time
The local Parks and Recreation department in my town has free story times for toddler to preschool aged children twice a week at the community center.
Calling it "Story Time" is really a misnomer. Our story teller, Miss Mary, usually reads one or two books and then gets the kids get the sillies out through music and dancing.
She doesn't play the "usual" kids music but has fun, upbeat, music from artists like Laurie Berkner, Jim Gill, Ralph Covert and various other musicians. The music gives the kids a chance to run around -- they are toddler to preschool age after all -- sitting still is just not on the agenda!
There is usually a "theme" for each week and occasionally she has something special planned. For example, when she does the "Teddy Bear Picnic" theme all the kids bring their teddy bears and we have a Teddy Bear Parade. Sometimes she has children's authors come and read their books to the kids. On Halloween the kids come in costume and parade around the community center. Occasionally there is a craft of some type.
I know I'm very lucky to live in an area with a fantastic Parks and Recreation department and that they are able to provide free story times is wonderful!
However, if you don't have something like this offered in your area, you can find free story times through your local library and most of the major book store chains have them as well (that's how our story teller got her start). Some coffee shops have story times as well. Sometimes you can find story times advertised in local papers or community publications.
And Story Time is an activity that can span age groups as well. I started bringing Josh to Story Time when he was 2. Sam has been going his whole life. This was a great activity for the both kids to enjoy when Sam was a baby and Josh was not in school full time.
And story time isn't just for the kids. I've met most of my friends here through story time or they can be connected to story time some how. It's a great (free) social activity for parents and children alike.