Activities & Tips

All seasons and spaces for play

girls playing in libraryAs fall weather sets in and we get news of that rare thing called rain, it gets harder to plan for outdoor play with your child. How about stopping at your library?

Check out our kids events listings for storytimes for your baby, toddler, or preschooler...or just come in play with them in our picture book areas, where you'll find comfy floor space and toys near the picture books.  Ask the librarian for a new book to read with your child--though it's good for them to hear their favorites over and over, it's also good for them to hear you having fun with a story.  

We also offer all kinds of out-of-school activities for your school-age child, from art to chess to knitting to button making.  Or, you can just visit us online and Discover and Go with free museum passes available to you with your library card.

Oakland is lucky to have pretty welcoming winter weather, so your outdoor play shouldn't suffer too much.  But we're happy to be a dry and warm place for your children to play with their brains, with their hands, with each other. Stop by, even if it's just on your way to the park. 

Your librarian plays at Fairyland, circa 1974

 

 

Make a 90 Second Newbery Video!

Book CoverThis past Sunday I went to the East Bay Mini Maker Faire at Studio One Art Center, where I saw kids making new clothes out of of old clothes, rockets out of toilet paper rolls, giant milk crate structures (while strapped into a harness in a crane), terrariums, butter, and more. 

So who is primed and ready to make a "90 Second Newbery" video?  This online contest and festival is starting up its third year.   Upload your video and share it (check out the instructions here) before December 10, to be considered in this year's contest.  Screenings of the winners will take place around the country. 

My current favorite from past years?: From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankeweiler...in Legos. 

To choose which book you're going to retell, you can look at the whole list of Newbery winners hereAnd... you know where to get them

Therapy Pets Dogs Help Children Learn to Love to Read

Child reading to dogIs your child shy about reading out loud? Is he or she shy about reading at all? Join us on Wednesday afternoons in October. Therapy Pets in Oakland is bringing dogs to the Lakeview Branch to give your child a easy way to practice reading. These gentle dogs do not judge children; they only love them. Research has shown that children gain ease in reading when they read to dogs.

Sign up for a 20-minute session at Lakeview

LEGO Mania!

Did you know that you can play with Legos (R) at Oakland Libraries? Six of our branches have monthly Lego parties. We don't even care if the children make noise!

Dimond Branch - First Fridays at 3:30 

Eastmont Branch - First Tuesdys at 4:00

Lakeview Branch - Second Fridays at 3:00

Main Library/Children's Room - Second Thursdays at 3:00

Piedmont Avenue Branch - First Fridays at 3:00

West Oakland Branch - Third Fridays at 3:00

Children have fun at these events, but the truth is, playing with Legos is also educational. Here are four fun facts about playing and its effect on children:

  1. Play is a timeless feature of human societies, and when combined with 21st Century learning it provides children and adults with opportunities to experiment with their surroundings as a form of problem solving.
  2. Through play, children explore and develop their multiple senses, which creates more brain synapses. This in turn contributes to a child’s overall intelligence.
  3. While playing, children can stretch and bend reality. All rules can be broken and all kinds of new rules can be invented.
  4. When children play with adult family members, it creates a stronger bond between them.

Playing with Legos (R) is a perfect way to experience all these benefits.

Museum of Children's Art Weekly Workshops

MOCHA at Main Children's RoomCome join us as we create art with MOCHA. The programs, for children from 3 to 18, travel to OPL libraries every Wednesday at 2:00 pm. MOCHA's brand new home is not opening until November, but you can do art with their fabulous artists at four of our branches right now.

81st Avenue Branch

Eastmont Branch

Main Library- Children's Room

Martin Luther King, Jr. Branch

MOCHA artist workshops have been weekly events at OPL branches for over three years now. The programs have been very popular at all the sites. Last year the students at two of our branches - 81st Avenue and Elmhurst- created winning projects in the annual ReCreate Art Competition developed and sponsored by Oakland's Public Works Department.

We are pleased to begin another year with MOCHA and its artists. Join us!

 

Every Child Ready to Read - Singing

Every Child Ready to Read Logo

Songs are a wonderful way for children to learn about language and pick up new words. Singing also slows down language so they can hear the different sounds that make up words. This helps when children begin to read printed language. There are some easy and fun things you can do with your child with songs and music.

  • Sing the alphabet song to learn about letters
  • Sing nursery rhymes so children hear the different sounds in words
  • Clap along to the rhythm in songs so children hear the syllables in words
  • Sing your own favorite songs so your child can share your passions

You are your child's first teacher, and your home is where your child begins to learn. Help your child get ready to read by providing early literacy opportunities around your home. In addition to singing, you can talk, read, write, and play with your child to help him/her get ready to read.

Talk and listen to your child as you prepare meals, do household chores, get ready for bed - any time is a good time for conversation.

Read books. Have them within easy reach. Make a special spot for books somewhere in your house. Come to the library often and find new books to make reading fun. Show your children how important reading is by reading yourself.

Draw & write. Keep paper and crayons or markers on a table where children can return again and again. Use magnetic letters on the refrigerator to spell words and messages.

Play. Have a prop box with inexpensive items that children can use for imaginative play. Bring out a box and pretend it's a spaceship or a train or a volcano and play with your child.

Read to Your Baby!

It is never too early to start reading with your baby; she will associate the security and pleasure of your lap with reading and will want to learn to read when she is older. 

  • Read with your baby every day.
  • Try board books. Board books are books with hard pages your baby can throw, bite, and hit.
  • You don’t need to read the words at all. Just point to the pictures and talk about them.
  • Have him flip the pages. Let him play with the book.
  • Comment as you read. Connect what you read to what's happening in her life.   
  • Keep their board books in the same place as toys.
  • Let your child see you reading for yourself and enjoying it.
  • Come to the library often! Find new books and come to storytime.  

Read to Your Baby!

It is never too early to start reading with your baby; she will associate the security and pleasure of your lap with reading and will want to learn to read when she is older. 

  • Read with your baby every day.
  • Try board books. Board books are books with hard pages your baby can throw, bite, and hit.
  • You don’t need to read the words at all. Just point to the pictures and talk about them.
  • Have him flip the pages. Let him play with the book.
  • Comment as you read. Connect what you read to what's happening in her life.   
  • Keep their board books in the same place as toys.
  • Let your child see you reading for yourself and enjoying it.
  • Come to the library often! Find new books and come to storytime.  

Reading is Soooooooo Delicious

Join 10,000 Oakland children as they eat, er, read their way through the summer. We'll have prizes, entertainment, crafts programs, free lunches, and even books! The fun begins Saturday, June 15 with celebrations at libraries throughout Oakland and ends August 10. 

Children have fun keeping track of stickers and watching performers, but parents know that they are helping their child avoid "Summer Reading Slide" by encouraging reading for pleasure. Children who complete eight hours of reading will choose a book to keep, receive coupons for local attractions, and be entered in a raffle for even more prizes.   

This summer we will host performers: The Bubble Lady, Buki the Clown, Chiquy Boom! , Busy Bee Dogs, Dan Chan the Magic Man, Dance Arts of India, East Bay Vivarium, SaveNature.org (Insect Discovery Lab and Edible EdVentures), Magical Moonshine Theatre, Mr. Shap, the Oakland Zoo Mobile, Owen Baker-Flynn, and last, but not least XTreme Science Magic. Check our events listings, or ask your library for details.

Free lunches for children ages 0-18 will be provided at eleven branches. The Main Library will serve lunches Monday-Friday; the branches Tuesday-Friday. Call your branch for meal times. Participating locations are: Main Library, 81st Avenue Community, César Chávez, Dimond, Eastmont, Elmhurst, Golden Gate, Martin Luther King, Jr., Melrose, Temescal, and West Oakland.

 Stay tuned or go to our summer reading site for the most up-to-date information and instructions for playing the game.

_______________ 

Major funders: Friends of the Oakland Public Library, Fentons Creamery, William G. Gilmore Foundation, Union Pacific Foundation, and The Bernard Osher Foundation.

Donors: Alameda/Oakland Ferry Services, Chabot Space & Science Center, Children’s Creativity Museum, Children’s Fairyland, Grand Lake Theater, Hometown Buffet, Lake Merritt Boathouse, Lawrence Hall of Science, MOCHA, Oakland A’s, Oakland Ice Center, Oakland Museum of California, and Pasta Pomodoro .

Free lunch is offered in partnership with the Alameda County Community Food Bankd and City of Oakland Department of Human Services. 

Reading is Soooooooo Delicious

Join 10,000 Oakland children as they eat, er, read their way through the summer. We'll have prizes, entertainment, crafts programs, free lunches, and even books! The fun begins Saturday, June 15 with celebrations at libraries throughout Oakland and ends August 10. 

Children have fun keeping track of stickers and watching performers, but parents know that they are helping their child avoid "Summer Reading Slide" by encouraging reading for pleasure. Children who complete eight hours of reading will choose a book to keep, receive coupons for local attractions, and be entered in a raffle for even more prizes.   

This summer we will host performers: The Bubble LadyBuki the ClownChiquy Boom! , Busy Bee DogsDan Chan the Magic ManDance Arts of IndiaEast Bay Vivarium, SaveNature.org (Insect Discovery Lab and Edible EdVentures), Magical Moonshine TheatreMr. Shap, the Oakland Zoo MobileOwen Baker-Flynn, and last, but not least XTreme Science Magic. Check our events listings, or ask your library for details.

Free lunches for children ages 0-18 will be provided at eleven branches. The Main Library will serve lunches Monday-Friday; the branches Tuesday-Friday. Call your branch for meal times. Participating locations are: Main Library81st Avenue CommunityCésar ChávezDimondEastmontElmhurstGolden GateMartin Luther King, Jr.MelroseTemescal, and West Oakland.

 Stay tuned or go to our summer reading site for the most up-to-date information and instructions for playing the game.

_______________ 

Major funders: Friends of the Oakland Public Library, Fentons Creamery, William G. Gilmore Foundation, Union Pacific Foundation, and The Bernard Osher Foundation.

Donors: Alameda/Oakland Ferry Services, Chabot Space & Science Center, Children’s Creativity Museum, Children’s Fairyland, Grand Lake Theater, Hometown Buffet, Lake Merritt Boathouse, Lawrence Hall of Science, MOCHA, Oakland A’s, Oakland Ice Center, Oakland Museum of California, and Pasta Pomodoro .

Free lunch is offered in partnership with the Alameda County Community Food Bankd and City of Oakland Department of Human Services.