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Beyond books: Spring Break recommendations from the Ottawa Public Library

This post is part of a series of monthly blog posts by Ottawa Public Library children’s librarians! We hope you enjoy today’s post and remember to check back every month for great children’s books ideas. by Angela Madore, Children's Librarian, Greenboro District Branch

Do you have a child, or possibly more than one? Will he, she or they be at home driving you bonkers this March Break? Are you trying to figure out how to keep them entertained for a couple of hours without taking out a second mortgage?

If you’ve answered yes to any of these question-but especially if you’ve said ‘heck, yes!’ to all of them, you should check out your local branch of the Ottawa Public Library. We’re teaming up with some pretty amazing people and organizations this year to bring you some fantastic programs for all ages. Plus, they’re free! Yes, I’ll say it again-they’re free!

Not convinced? Check this out...

The Billings Estate Museumwill be on hand to teach the kids about fossils and they’ll even be able to make their own to take home. Now, if you’re like me you may be wondering what the connection between the Billings Estate museum and fossils is-right? Well, apparently Elkanah Billings was Canada’s first palaeontologist. Who knew?

CKCU radio station will show your kids how to make and record a radio ad-how cool is that? The Currency Museum will be on-hand to teach them how to play fan-tan, a Siamese game of chance and to show them how to make their own tokens. Aboriginal Experienceswill show them how to make petroglyphs or rock art and folks from the Ottawa Lumière Festival (love it!) will help them decorate their own lanterns.

Wait, there’s more…

Staff from Pinhey’s Point Historical Sitewill show the youngsters how to do paper quilling while the Cumberland Heritage Museum will show them how to create their own print and teach them about printing technology from the 20’s. Magician Elliott Smith will astound the kiddies with his nimble hands and trusty scissors (rocks and paper will also be involved) and Darcy Whyte will show them how to make their very own rubber-powered paper planes. Apparently they can fly up to 4 football fields in length. Pretty impressive don’t you think?

And to kick it all off, Surfsidewill be hosting an RPS (Rock, Paper Scissors) tournament, for kids and teens up to age 18, at our Nepean Centrepointe branch on Saturday March 12 @ 2. The winner of the tournament will walk away with a pretty sweet skate deck.

And just so you don’t think that we’ve brought in loads of presenters in order to get out of doing our own programming, here’s just a sampling of some of the fine things that our library staff have in store for you.

We have music-based programs, dance programs, origami programs and puppet theatre programs. We have paper doll programs, writing and drawing programs, family storytimes and gaming programs-yes, we have Wii! I’ve always wanted to say that!

Some of our branches are also offering great programs for teen including gaming, crafts and anime. There is also a babysitting course at Cumberland and two career-themed programs at Nepean Centrepointeas well as a button making program and Wii tournament at Greenboro.

Now that we’ve completely won you over, here are some important things to keep in mind when browsing through our programs database. First of all, not all of these programs are offered at every branch. To make it fair, we’ve tried to offer a few at each branch. Also, because we are a bilingual organization, many programs are offered in French. Check out our website for specific details like program times, dates and locations.

Oh yeah, one more thing: Don’t despair if the programs at your local branch have already filled up. See what other branches still have openings and try somewhere different. There really are many interesting and varied branches in and around the City. Just think of it as an adventure. You may be very glad you did. And the library is always a great place to visit, browse and choose some great reading. See you during the break!