Green River Star -

By Becky Iwen
Sweetwater County Library System 

Discussing the power of play


Curiosity drives learning, and one of the most effective ways for children to explore new ideas and concepts is through play. At the library we believe in encouraging a lifelong joy of reading and learning for all, especially children. We strive to inspire children to explore the world around them. The need that children have to discover is an important step on the journey to higher-level learning.

Because children learn through play and discovery we are excited to help by fostering an early learning environment here at the Sweetwater County Library.

Some of you may be wondering why “play” in libraries? Aren’t libraries for books and information?

When trying to determine how we can help foster a child’s natural curiosity and desire to explore the world around them I noticed a frequent theme in many publications. The idea of play opening up possibilities and inspiring a sense of discovery. Play can help foster a large variety of skills including, but certainly not limited to cognitive, physical, social and emotional.

With the support of the Sweetwater County Library Foundation I have had the opportunity to research and purchase a variety of new toys for our library. The Sweetwater County Library Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to building a foundation of lifelong learning. The foundation raises funds to help support programs and services above and beyond what our community tax dollars are able to support.

The next time you visit your library be sure to stop in at the Youth Services area. There you will see our new reading nook. Kids can create their own house, construction site, theater stage, or quiet space for reading.

You will also find a variety of toys on the shelves to either side of the reading nook. Explore the puppets, wooden blocks, puzzles, magnetic blocks, and sorting toys, each accompanied with a book. Pairing books with play items promotes reading and makes rich learning connections.

Grab a “Pete the Cat” book and puppet. After reading the book let your child give you a puppet show.

One of my personal favorites is the Build-a-Bouquet set. It includes interchangeable pieces that can be stacked to create bright floral arrangements. Kids are encouraged to play while you read them one of our many books about flowers. Perhaps you will read one of my person favorites, “Planting a Rainbow,” by Eric Carle.

We also purchased new items for our toddler play area. Spill and Fill toys are multi-textured toys that rattle, jingle, squeak and crinkle in little hands, and are made with ultra-soft materials. These clever activity toys help develop fine motor skills and hand/eye coordination, plus stimulate tactile senses in delightful ways.

These are just a few of the different play items that you will find in the library. I invite each of you and your children to visit us soon and to learn through play.


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