If I had to choose, I think my favorite part of the day is that time just before my son goes to bed for the night. In those precious 20 minutes or so, my 2-year-old carefully selects a mini stack of his favorites, climbs up on my lap and settles in for a series of bedtime stories. It’s a rare quiet moment together and it’s when I feel my most consistently present as a parent. While it usually means reading “Goodnight Moon” for what feels like the millionth time, there’s nothing like watching him excitedly turn the pages to point out everything he’s learned. It’s easily become the part of our daily routine that I look the most forward to, and I’m sure many parents out there can relate.
But, like any sane person out there, I also find that reading the same story over and over, night after night, and often multiple times can also leave me with a major case of storytime fatigue. One minute, I’m savoring these fleeting moments with my kid and the next minute, I’m quietly judging the décor in the great green room and finding myself a little saddened by the fact that the old lady whispering “hush” only gets her goodnight after (literally) nobody and a bowl full of a mush. I mean, what is that all about? (Read “Goodnight Moon” again and this time, I dare you not to over-analyze it).
So, while I can appreciate that our bedtime book routine is all about spending quality time my kid, I still crave variety. I need newness. I also don’t have a lot of time on my hands to scour the interwebs and carefully cultivate my own list of the latest and greatest in children’s literature. Even if I could, “best of” lists tend to be subjective. How can I blindly place my trust in a random, positive review and know that it won’t lead to my own bad borrowing or purchasing decision? It might now sound like a big deal, but all it takes is a few bunk Amazon or GoodReads review for one mom’s all-time favorite story recommendation to turn into my own Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day on repeat nightly.
So, what’s the solution? Enter storytime! In addition to fostering what I hope will be my son’s future love of books and sharpening his listening skills, it offers a fun, free way to keep my kid entertained for an hour or so. It’s also my chance to scope out new reads and see what my son is the most drawn to at the moment. To me, nothing beats holding something tangible in my hands to see how it stacks up against the rest of our budding board book library. And, if we pick up a book while we’re at storytime, we also just supported a local business offering cool things for kids to do in the area. Win-win.
Plus, have you been to a storytime in Logan Square lately? It’s so much more than a story these days. Expect sing-a-longs, instruments, finger plays and more at these fine locations:
2523 N Kedzie Blvd.
Conveniently located near Lula Café (get brunch, then books!) City Lit is just across from the Logan Square Monument and the Logan Square Blue Line stop. Expect read-alongs, sing-alongs and more. Storytime is held Saturdays from 10:30-11:15 a.m., and is free and open to kids of all ages. Featured storytellers rotate weekly. Pro tip: Don’t miss The Lucky Trikes for a super-animated session with live music accompaniment.
3109 W Logan Blvd.
This cheerful little kid’s toy/book/gift shop is just a short walk from the Logan Square Blue Line and right off the Milwaukee Ave. bus line. Storytime is free and held on Tuesdays at 11 a.m. On nice days, the group take it outside to read on the square. Expect stories, sing-alongs and sip-alongs (I made that last one up, but New Wave Café is right next store if you need help to power through your morning). Just make sure you get there a little early to secure your spot because space is limited.
3030 W Fullerton Ave.
This local branch off the Fullerton bus offers three, free storytime options to meet a variety of ages, interests and schedules. Paid parking is available on Milwaukee and Logan Blvd.
On Mondays, from 10:30-11:15 a.m., catch Bilingual Story Time. Conducted in English and Spanish, this 45-minute session may include songs, finger plays and other activities geared towards children 2 to 3 years old. Caregivers are asked to participate.
On Wednesdays, from 10:30-11:15 a.m., drop in for Toddler and Preschool Story Time. Geared towards children ages 2 to 5, expect lively storytelling tying back to seasonal topics, finger plays, songs and other activities. Caregivers are asked to participate.
On Fridays, from 9:30-10 a.m. get ready for Mother Goose on the Loose. This is a 30-minute program is intended for children ages birth to 3 years old and their parents/caregivers. Expect songs, rhymes and instruments.