We’re entering one of the best times of year: the holidays! In our city, that means great Kansas City holiday traditions like the Country Club Plaza Lights, the Mayor’s Christmas Tree, the Crown Center Ice Terrace and more.  It also means time off from school. But the sound of kids cheering “hooray!” over the excitement of being off can quickly turn into a chorus of “I’m bored!” heard across the city. And there are only so many times parents and caregivers can shell out big bucks to take kiddos to yet another movie. But you don’t need to open your wallet three times a day to keep the little ones happy. All you need is a trip to the Kansas City Public Library. The Library is THE place to visit during your child’s time off this winter, and during their time on, with some great holiday-themed programs.  Did we mention they’re all FREE?

Why not welcome the holiday season by skipping the stores on Black Friday, and joining us for Bright Light Friday! Jim “Mr. Stinkyfeet” Cosgrove holds a special holiday show, Friday, November 25, at 10:30 a.m. at the Plaza Branch, 4801 Main St. He’ll help everyone burn off Thanksgiving turkey by getting your family dancing, wiggling, and moving to the beat. Mr. Stinkyfeet will also collect winter clothing items for the nonprofit Artists Helping the Homeless the day of the show. Bring new and gently used outdoor clothing items for all sizes

Enjoy a holiday classic with a free screening of The Polar Express at the Plaza Branch, Friday November 25th. The movie starts at 6:30 p.m. as part of the Library’s Friday Night Family Fun series

Let the kids leave their mark on the Library…literally! Art Starts at the Library is December 2, 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. at the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St. In addition to the library’s ongoing exhibits, we invite children of all ages to visit the Genevieve Guldner Gallery with a colored pencil or two, to unleash their inner artist on the white walls (the gallery is due for a paint job, so we decided to turn it into a giant canvas before we paint).  There will be holiday music, and hot cocoa and cider

See a holiday favorite in a new way, when StoneLion Puppet Theatre performs “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” on Friday, December 2 at the Plaza Branch. Santa’s workshop comes alive with intricate toy marionettes acting out the beloved Clement C. Moore poem “A Visit From St. Nicholas.” The show starts at 6:30 p.m.

Want to know what it’s like to dance like a sugar plum fairy? The Kansas City Ballet will take part in the Library’s December 6 story time with a Nutcracker Workshop at the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St., at 10 a.m. A teacher artist from the ballet will present an educational workshop that brings the story of The Nutcracker to life through movement, music, and a magical costume show-and-tell. Recommended for pre-K and early elementary-age students.

Kids can put their LEGO skills to the test on Wednesday, December 28 at the Trails West Branch, 11401 E. 23rd, for the KC Kids Create: LEGO session. From 4 p.m. to 5 p.m., come see who can build the tallest building, design the fastest car, and come up with some unique creations. Appropriate for ages 5 -12. Duplo blocks will be available for younger kids.

The Library offers story times at each branch, geared towards different age groups. From babies to kindergartners, kids can read, play, and sing with their parents while librarians read from a selection of age-appropriate children’s books. During Winter Break, there will be two extra special Tuesday morning Story Time sessions at the Plaza Branch: Christmas stories will be featured on December 20th. Then, on December 27th, the session will showcase Missouri Building Block Picture Book award nominees. Kids can vote for the winners.

Got a gamer in your house? The Library holds Teen Gaming Nights several times a week at different branches throughout November and December. They are designed for ages 12-18. Every week, the library has the newest gaming equipment available to test out. Gamers are invited to check out the new generation of consoles as well as the HTC Vive. In addition, there are classic game systems like Play Station and Xbox.

If you can’t make it to one of the highlighted activities listed above, don’t worry. The children’s section at each library branch is open daily during regular library hours. You’ll always find a selection of great children’s books, entertaining toys and arts & crafts projects, family-friendly DVDs (they are free for up to a week!), and a knowledgeable and helpful staff of some of the best children’s librarians in the region. For a full list of activities, visit www.kclibrary.org.

 

Courtney Lewis is the Media Relations Coordinator for the Kansas City Public Library. A previous career as a TV news producer brought her to Kansas City from her native New England, but KC’S architecture, people, and food have kept her here. She will also always ask you what you are reading.

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