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The Angle, August 2019 – LA Story Time: Maximize the Remaining Days of Summer

Summer means just one thing to children everywhere: Fun! But as parents and educators, we’re thinking about how to help those young brains transition to a focused learning mode from their relaxed vacation mindset.

One of our favorite ways to bring the fun (along with a gentle nudge toward school readiness) is to build an outing around an organized story time event. These kid-centric gatherings can be found in numerous LA neighborhoods and are usually free-of-charge. In addition to listing our favorites, we’ve gone a step further by pairing just-for-fun companion activities—you know, to preserve that carefree summer vibe for as long as possible.

Children’s Book World

This award-winning specialty bookstore in West LA has been a go-to source since today’s parents were children themselves, known for an incredible selection (including an abundance of foreign language and bilingual books) and knowledgeable staff who guides your child to their next favorite book. Each week their “Saturday Morning Stories” series features engaging stories told through author readings, interactive live music and other performing arts. The free events will keep your kids engaged, and help inspire a lifelong love of reading, language, and books. Coming up August 24: urban poet and hip-hop musician Mista Cookie Jar tells stories through his “kindie rock” performance.

While You’re in the Neighborhood:

There are quite a few places for some sweet treats down the road. Whether you’re in the mood for some frozen treats to satisfy your summer cravings, there’s Cold Stone, and just next door – Atticus Creamery & Pies, which has non-dairy and vegan creamery options! Another place worth exploring is Chocolate Bash – with, you named it! Lots of chocolaty options, from crepes, to waffles, to fruits!

Los Angeles Public Library

Our city’s public library system is a treasure, especially when it comes to programs and services for young readers. August is the perfect time for families to discover (or re-discover) what a safe and welcoming haven the local library is. (Added bonus: air conditioning!)

Wherever you live, there’s a branch nearby with its own rich schedule of events: the picturesque Central Library downtown offers a packed calendar that includes STAR (Story Telling and Reading) Volunteer Story Time on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays; Baby Story & Playtime (Mondays at 11:00 am); Preschool Story Time (Wednesdays at 11:00 am); and Back-to-School Story Time (Aug. 17 at 11:00 am). Programs for babies and toddlers/preschoolers feature stories, songs, and rhymes focusing on the five Early Literacy Practices (talking, singing, reading, writing and playing) that will help prepare your child to read.

While You’re in the Neighborhood:

Bring your swimsuits along so after story time you can kick-off your shoes and beat the summer heat with a refreshing romp in Grand Park’s “splash pad.” Set in the shadow of City Hall and the Music Center—and completely free to enjoy—this interactive oasis offers a cooling respite amid the concrete jungle.

Story Time in the Galleries (LACMA)

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art invites us to “take a reading journey into a world of folk tales and colors” each Friday afternoon at 2:00 pm. Join Education staff in the Boone Children’s Gallery (enter through the back of the Hammer Building, on Level 2) where you can relate the stories to the art in the galleries in a comfortable space suitable for families and children of all ages. Admission is free, and there’s a basket of children’s books available in case you want to continue reading together in one of the museum’s courtyards. For aspiring young artists, the Boone Gallery also provides art-making tools and materials in their dedicated activity space.

While You’re in the Neighborhood:

Step back into the Ice Age next door at the La Brea Tar Pits, where gooey prehistoric tar oozes to the surface at the world’s only active fossil dig in the middle of a city. Tickets are required to enter the onsite Page Museum, but there’s plenty to see outside, right here on Wilshire Boulevard. Replica mastodons, saber-toothed tigers and pterodactyls are “caught” in the slick pit, while informational plaques explain how this sticky ecosystem evolved. Shaded green spaces adjacent to the tar pits feature kid-friendly climb-on dinosaurs, along with picnic-ready lawns and benches.

Return to The Angle, August 2019