Young Children – Free Play Opportunities

Manheim Township Public Library provides Free Play activities every day. Some are scheduled and some are ongoing. Just drop in and check out our offerings!

Scheduled Free Play

Market Mondays

A time for family play! Gain “shopping” experience in our weekly play market: make a shopping list, borrow a basket or child-sized shopping cart, collect your play food, and “pay” with play money at toy registers. Your child begins to learn about economic literacy through play. No registration required.  Each family group must include a responsible adult. Mondays from noon to 4:30 in the Story Silo. (Ages 3 and up)

Dramatic Play Tuesday

On Tuesday afternoons, our Silo becomes a Post Office, Veterinarian’s Office, and a Diner.  Dramatic play encourages self control, teaches conflict resolution, provides an emotional outlet, and helps with language development.  Children will have a great time as they become postal workers, veterinarians, and chefs.  No registration required.  Each family group must include a responsible adult.  Tuesdays from 12:30 to 4:30 in the Story Silo. (Ages 3 and up)

DUPLO™ Free Play

Build with the Library’s DUPLO™ bricks. Your child learns math and physics through play. No registration required. Each family group must include a responsible adult. Wednesdays from 11:30 to 12:30; Thursdays from 11:30 to 12:30 and from 2:00 to 4:30; Fridays from 12:30 to 4:30; Saturdays from 12:00 until 3:30, as room use permits, in the Story Silo. (Ages 2 and up. Babies and younger toddlers are welcome but must be closely supervised by a responsible adult to prevent injuries.)

Wee Build Free Play

Free building and imaginative play with varied kits of toys to stack and interlock! Including plastic alphabet blocks, interlocking fish, waffle blocks, monkey and butterfly chains, more!  No registration required. A responsible adult must accompany each family group. Wednesdays from 2:30 to 3:30 in the Story Silo. (Ages 9 months and up. Younger babies are welcome but must be closely supervised by a responsible adult to prevent injuries.)

Some Wee Build toys are available for ongoing, unscheduled Free Play in the Children’s Library. Toys provided through a grant from the Office of Commonwealth Libraries.

Ongoing Free Play

Coloring Station

Boxes of crayons and coloring pages related to the weekly story time theme encourage children to learn how to hold and use writing instruments, to learn their colors, and to express themselves artistically. Turn the page over and draw on the blank side for more original self-expression!

Play Kitchen

Dramatic play enhances the development of your child’s imagination and executive function in the familiar form of a hardwood child-sized kitchen with play food, cookware and dinnerware.

Costume Corner

Your child can act out future careers as a fire fighter, airline pilot, astronaut, police officer, and more, using a pint-sized costume collection with a shatterproof mirror.

AWE Early Literacy Stations

Five touch-screen computers with games, read-to-me stories, and other activities preloaded, give young children, ages 2 to 8, the opportunity to practice computer skills. An index gives adults an overview of age-appropriate computer activities focusing on reading, art, science, music, math, and more. The AWE stations are not connected to the internet. Computer sessions automatically end after 20 minutes, allowing adults to begin another 20-minute session or to end the child’s screen time in favor of other activities.

Bead Floor Toys

The youngest Library patrons love these large floor toys. They can observe the workings of gravity, spin beads to watch the laws of motion, and learn about interlocking gears while developing control of the muscles in their tiny fingers.

Train Table

Our wooden train set and table provide countless opportunities for building important skills. Play with train sets help children learn problem solving, increases creativity and imagination, improves fine motor skills and dexterity, and encourages cooperation with others.

Puzzle Table

We offer a combination of peg puzzles, chunky puzzles, and easy jigsaw puzzles.  Putting puzzles together builds three basic skills, physical (hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills), cognitive (shape recognition and problem solving), and emotional (setting goals and patience).

Discovery Patio

Our patio offers many ways that children can learn and discover.  Planters allow children to observe plants throughout the seasons.  They can also use the magnifier to look at parts of the plants.  Our picnic tables allow families to enjoy a snack on a nice day.  We also have loose parts tables filled with items such as pine cones, shells, and rocks.  Children can sort, create patterns, and freely explore the materials to invent unique ways to play.

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