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Making Something Out Of Nothing #2: Library At Home

We are a one-car family in Southern California, which anyone from SoCal can tell you is a feat. We have been for 7 years, since well before we had kids and I switched to working at home. It saves money, gas, waste, pollution, etc., so we make it work. Some mornings my husband works at home too, so I can use the car to take the boys on outings. The library and local coffee shop are my tot's favorites (aside from the park, which we can actually walk to).

Photo taken while holding baby-so baby toy is dangling in shot. :)

This week, the work schedule and weather have kept us pretty housebound. My tot missed storytime at the library on Monday and was pretty bummed about it. We love our public library so much! Plus, he likes going to our local coffee shop, where they have puzzles and books. 

So, Wednesday when he woke from his nap, I had a surprise waiting for him: a car for him to drive was parked outside of his room...

His toy dresser became a book display area.

...the living room was transformed into the library... 

I pulled out many library books he hadn't seen yet from our trip last week, as well as books that are usually tucked away because they are heirlooms/antique or delicate so there were lots of new books for him to choose from.
Here's the library "computer" for learning and games, since our local public library has a great children's section with computers just for little ones that have lots of games. He doesn't really play any games yet when we are at the library, but he likes watching other children play games. It's really cute.

...and the hallway was turned into the coffee shop.

The baby gate between the hallway and kitchen were the barrier for the coffee shop counter.
He loved his at home "outing!"

Picking books at the "library."

Using the "computer" by moving letters from the bottom cookie sheet to the top one. 
Scanning and checking out books.

Making his selection and getting his money at the coffee shop.
Enjoying cookies and puzzles at the coffee shop. I put the puzzles inside the pantry where we keep the towels, since he has to go "find" the puzzles at the coffee shop, which are on a special shelf marked "kid's section." He loved looking inside the pantry and finding the puzzles, especially because these great Melissa and Doug puzzles had been out of toy rotation for awhile, so they were new and exciting - making his experience even more special (along with the cookies-a rare treat).

Reducing emissions and driving less is something we can all do for the Earth, so for Earth Day consider giving a normal family outing a twist -- recreate the outing at home (you could transform your home into your favorite restaurant: decorate the dinner table, replicate the meal at home and pick a family member to be the waiter) or take a family walk or bike ride to a place you normally drive to (if it is safe and reasonable to do so). 

You might also like:  

Learning with Letters
Ugly Duckling


  1. Wow! Love that Creative Play~ What a great Mommy :-)

  2. I would have never thought to put that together but what a wonderful playtime for you little one.

  3. Cute blog and post. I'm not sure how to follow you. I'm on KBN too.

  4. My neighbor's boy stands on the driver's car seat and pretends to drive but they have stopped him from hitting the horn! I think I will share your idea with them. :-) I can even provide the box! I think this is so clever. Carolyn

  5. What a great example of setting up to "play out the story!" Do you mind if I link your post on this to my blog? This is a great topic to discuss when setting up dramatic play!

  6. Heather - You can definitely link to my post from your blog. I would be honored!!

  7. I love this post! What a great way to get creative with every day items from your home!
    Thanks for linking to Kids Get Crafty! ~ Alissa and Maggy

  8. I love all the levels of creativity! I'm loveing the remote control book scanner. Looks like he had a great time. I love it when my kids get carried away with an idea like this one.

  9. ooh, great pretend computer! And also love the library "scanner." Fabulous use of everyday materials for imaginative play :D


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