By DEB SULLIVAN
On the Shelves
Summer is one of those funny times. As parents, we look forward to having more time with our kids over summer vacation.
The stress of getting everyone up and moving for school is gone for a few months. It’s a chance to slow down. You can kick around, go to the park, swim, even have a picnic lunch on the back porch. The daily rush goes away.
But alas, as the days pass, the gentler pace becomes a challenge as the kids don’t quite know what to do to fill their time.
My best advice to forgo the summer doldrums is to head to the York County library closest to you. It is by far the best entertainment bargain around.
Don’t have a card? Simply sign up to gain free access to a summer packed with shows, activities and, of course, awesome books.
York County Libraries and Get Outdoors York hosts an annual summer reading club and physical activity program that keeps around 12,000 kids busy all summer long. We sneak in some learning and help kids avoid the summer slide (the loss of reading skills) — and did I mention it is fun for parents, too?
Starting June 1, kids up to 18 years old can visit one of our 13 library locations and pick up this year’s “Gardener’s Journal” — the official guide to the summer program. It has everything that’s happening at the libraries and contains the clues to find 30 “Garden Plots” (rubbing posts) that are hidden at area parks.
This year’s theme is “Dig Into Reading! GO and Dig It Up!” And if you haven’t guessed already, gardening and what’s underground are both going to be a big part of the summer’s focus. All of the posts are named after fruits and vegetables and the GO York! program is highlighting produce that is grown right here in York County.
Our libraries have books on everything from gardening to insects to dinosaurs, and the free programs will be just as diverse.
Entomologist Ryan Bridge, who kids know as “The BugMan,” is bringing real insects and arthropods to our libraries for everyone to see up close. He’ll be talking about what kind of bugs love dirt and live underground and why they can survive in a dark and dirty environment.
Geologist Jeri Jones and storyteller Lisa Schmittle are digging up a little pre-historic history. Jones will share an actual dinosaur fossil and get kids thinking about how dinosaurs walked and what we can tell from their footprints. And Schmittle will tell dinosaur tales and allow kids to create their own dinosaurs to take home.
Annual worm races return at several of the libraries, including the Mason-Dixon Public Library, which held its first race 14 years ago. Kids each bring a worm or borrow one from the “bookworm corral” to see which worm can cross the finish line first.
Gifford Pinchot State Park Naturalist Beth Kepley-McNutt will introduce even more kids to “The Wiggly World of Worms!” at the Dig It! Faire July 13 at the park. She will be joined by Jesse Rothacker from Forgotten Friend’s Sanctuary when he presents an “Undercover Reptiles” show as part of the day’s free entertainment.
How it works
Registration for the York County Libraries Summer Reading Club and GO York! Physical Activity Program begins June 1 at all 13 York County library locations and online at www.yorklibraries.org. It is free for kids up to 18 years old. Kids can sign up for the program anytime during the summer as it runs until Aug. 18. Most participants start in June to have more time to read and to discover the hidden posts at area parks. As participants reach goals, they win prizes donated by area companies. Kids and families participate at their own pace, attending programs that fit their schedules and planning trips to area parks. Kids and teens use the “Gardener’s Journal” to record the posts they find and to track reading minutes, which they ultimately log online.
Don’t miss these events
- Summer Reading Club & GO York! kick-off event—10 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 1 at the West Manchester Mall, 1800 Loucks Road, West Manchester Township. There will be lots of entertainment and activities including magician Dave Rojahn and Skeeta the Clown.
- Dig It! Faire — 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. July 13 at Gifford Pinchot State Park, 2200 Rosstown Road, Warrington Township. The annual mid-summer fair is packed with great entertainment, make-and-take crafts and more. Highlights include Jesse Rothacker, puppet shows by the Paul Smith Library of Southern York County, storybook favorite Pete the Cat, park naturalist Beth Kepley-McNutt and GO York! Bring a chair or blanket, and pack a picnic lunch or visit food vendors. The event is held rain or shine.