The Ann Arbor District Library (AADL) offers many great programs for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers. While the classes are offered year round, they offer a fun indoor activity during the winter months. They offer a baby playgroup session each weekday, preschool story time from Tuesday through Friday. There are several music and art programs that recur throughout the year on a less regular schedule. Additionally, AADL offers special events throughout the year. Not only are the AADL events fun, they are FREE!
Baby Playgroup at AADL
Baby Playgroup is held each weekday at one of 4 AADL Branches (the 5th Branch, West does not have program space). Baby Playgroup is for babies from birth through 24 months. They request no older siblings so that the event can focus on the babies and toddlers.
Currently (Winter 2016), the baby playgroup schedule is:
- Mondays – 10:30a at Downtown Branch
- Tuesdays – 10a at Malletts Creek Branch
- Wednesdays – 11a at Pittsfield Branch
- Thursdays – 6:30p at Malletts Creek Branch
- Fridays – 10:30a at Traverwood Branch
The schedule has not changed for a couple of years. However, I anticipate the schedule changing when the West Branch reopens in mid-2016 with a new event space.
My daughter and I were regular attendees at Baby Playgroup from the time she was 5 months old until about 20 months old. At the time, the playgroup operated in 6-8 week sessions and then would take a few weeks off before resuming. Now, the program operates weekly and only takes a break on holidays when the library is closed.
The playgroup consisted of 15 minutes of interactive songs and stories followed by 30 minutes of play. The playgroup would conclude with toy cleanup and a final song. My daughter is now 10, but I doubt that the format of the playgroup has changed significantly. Typically we attended playgroup a couple of times each week. We would see other families rotating through the sessions as well. It was a chance to meet others with kids the same age as yours. We stopped attending at 20 months because my daughter didn’t like the younger kids and was more interested in exploring the library than hanging out with the babies.
Preschool Storytime at AADL
There are 8 Preschool Storytime Sessions at AADL from Tuesday-Friday. Preschool Storytime is for ages 2-5 and siblings (older and younger) are welcome.
Currently (Winter 2016), the preschool Storytime schedule is:
- Tuesdays – 10-10:30a – Downtown Branch
- Tuesdays – 11-11:30a – Traverwood Branch
- Wednesdays – 10-10:30a – Malletts Creek Branch
- Wednesdays – 11-11:30a – Downtown Branch
- Wednesdays – 6-6:30p – Traverwood Branch
- Thursdays – 10-10:30a – Traverwood Branch
- Thursdays – 7-7:30p – Pittsfield Branch
- Fridays – 10-10:30a – Pittsfield Branch
The schedule has not changed for a couple of years. However, I am expecting the schedule to change when the West Branch reopens in mid-2016 with a new event space.
We did not attend many Preschool Storytimes when my daughter was young. When she first outgrew the Baby Playgroup, she wasn’t ready to sit and listen to 30 minutes of stories. She would last maybe 10 minutes and then be ready to explore the library. I found it easier to just bring her to the library at another time when it would be less crowded than right before or after story time. By the time she was old enough to sit for story time, our schedule was busier with classes and preschool.
Other Baby & Toddler Events at AADL
There are several recurring series of events that AADL holds throughout the year for kids of various ages.
The Dancing Babies are weekend programs for kids ages 0-5. Each session features a guest host (typically a local music teacher) and includes music and motion.
KinderConcerts are an outreach program by the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra that are held 3 times each year. These programs are just for kids ages 2-5. During the program a musician from the symphony brings their instrument for the kids to learn about. In addition, there will be stories, songs, and motion with Kathryn Goodson on piano and Gari Stein leading the stories and motion.
Ann Arbor District Library also holds other programming for babies and toddlers. Some upcoming examples include First Six Months, Just Babies!, and Sensation Stations. Be sure to check the Ann Arbor with Kids Event Calendar or the Events List on AADL’s website.