On the Same Page: New opportunities for play, discovery at Reedsburg Public Library

Reedsburg Public Library staff

Will and Claire use the new light table at the Reedsburg Public Library. (Submitted photo)

Reedsburg Public Library offers even more opportunities for creative learning with the introduction of a new play program, as well as the acquisition of a preschool light table center, and several innovative sensory kits.

RPL’s Youth Services Librarian Jess McCarlson has recently introduced a monthly MAP or Multi-Age Play Group. This program allows children of all ages to interact together under the supervision of their parents.

Older children may practice empathy and act as mentors for their younger peers, while others enjoy keeping up with “the big kids.” The program offers an experience not available to some families, or in most classroom environments.

Either in the scheduled play sessions or during visits with their families, children are encouraged to try out the new preschool light table center. The table is an electronic surface that can be illuminated to three levels of brightness. McCarlson remarks that the light table “engages a wider range of interaction” than the Awe Computer it replaced. Kits that can be used with the light table include a human x-ray set, where miniature x-rays can be viewed as if in a doctor’s office, and a plant and bugs specimen kit, where microscopic samples can be examined. Other kits include animal magna tiles, letter tracing cards and counting/sorting bears. These could be used on a regular surface, but are infinitely more fun on the light table!

A number of sensory kits have been added to the library’s in-house collection, which may be helpful to parents who are considering the purchase of such items. Manipulative objects, such as wooden fidget cubes and fidget poppers, can keep hands busy, while the mind is actively engaged in listening to a story. Similarly, a small weighted lap pad lends a cozy and calming sense to active children. Noise reducing earmuffs are now available for sound sensitive youth during busy post program library time, and an “emotional regulation mirror” helps kids identify and manage feelings.

Finally, useful to many families is the 10 Minute Visual Timer. This large hourglass makes the abstract “10 more minutes” easier to conceptualize.

Two new American Girl Dolls have also joined the library’s collection. Josefina and Bryant will soon be available for a two week checkout at the front desk. Each doll comes with an accompanying book and accessories.

If you have questions about any of the library’s new educational toys, sensory items or play groups, call the library at 608-768-READ (7323) or email info@reedsburglibrary.org.