As cruise director of your kiddos’ summer fun ship, you may be on a desperate hunt for new ways to keep the dreaded “I’m bored’s” at bay. LA’s local libraries are an invaluable resource for parents, offering a wide variety of fab (and totally free) activities for littles throughout the year – everything from magic shows and drag queen story hours to movie screenings and a chance to read to pups. Here’s our round-up of creative library offerings that go way beyond the norm.

photo: photo: Los Angeles Public Library

Dodgers Storytime

Take me out to the library, take me out to the books! Pint-sized baseball fans will go peanuts over Dodgers Storytime. The LA Dodgers have partnered with the LA Dodgers Foundation to do “LA Reads” – a literacy campaign designed to motivate local youth and help them develop a lifelong love of reading. Beloved Dodgers players visit local libraries around town to read to kiddos and challenge them to grow into “Dodgers Reading Champions.” After storytime, kids are invited to snag autographs and take pics. For the next event happening near you, be sure to check out the calendars and wear your Dodger blue!

Los Angeles Public Library
Online: lapl.org

LA County Library
Online: lacountylibrary.org

ADVERTISEMENT

photo: photo: Los Angeles Public Library

Budding Builders

LA libraries offer crazy cool activities to inspire the future Frank Lloyd Wrights and Richard Meiers in your abode. Library employees supply everything from Legos and cardboard to building blocks, depending on the day’s activity and encourage kids to create structures beyond their wildest imaginations.

Los Angeles Public Library
Online: lapl.org

Santa Monica Public Library
Online: smpl.org

photo: photo: Jennifer O'Brien

Magic Shows

Tots will magically stop whining when you take them to the library for a little hocus pocus fun. Many of LA’s top magicians perform shows at local libraries year-round – entertaining families with amazing sleight of hand, illusions, and comedy that will make you wonder, “How’d they do that? And where’s my wallet?” We kid. We kid. But they really are great shows, so skip the Magic Castle for now and catch some tricks for free.

Los Angeles Public Library
Online: lapl.org

LA County Library
Online: lacountylibrary.org

Santa Monica Public Library
Online: smpl.org

photo: photo: Los Angeles Public Library

Arts, Crafts & Origami, Oh My!

Local libraries feature a wide variety of arts and crafts activities so everyone in your group is bound to find something they dig. Maybe you have a kiddo who’s dying to learn the art of origami – they have that! Maybe you have a little one who wants to make space aliens out of recycled materials – yep, they have that too! All materials are supplied by the library, saving you a run to Tar-jay.

Los Angeles Public Library
Online: lapl.org

LA County Library
Online: lacountylibrary.org

Santa Monica Public Library
Online: smpl.org

Big Bubbles

If gigantic bubbles are your jam, then you should definitely hit up the LA libraries for their outstanding bubble artist performances. The city’s top bubble masters teach kids the science behind bubbles in a visual show filled with color, light and wonder in motion. Additional events include bubble painting parties and opportunities to stand inside your very own bubble.

Los Angeles Public Library
Online: lapl.org

Santa Monica Public Library
Online: smpl.org

Movie Screenings

If you want to pry the kids out of the house to catch a movie, but don’t feel like battling the Arclight crowds, why not treat your brood to a flick at the library? On select afternoons, myriad LA libraries host free matinees of kid-friendly faves like Wonder Park, Lego Movie 2, The Goonies, Ralph Breaks the Internet and so on.

Los Angeles Public Library
Online: lapl.org

LA County Library
Online: lacountylibrary.org

photo: photo: Los Angeles Public Library

Jam Sessions

On any given day, one of your fabulous local libraries is likely hosting some of the most outstanding musical talent in town (hello, no cover charge). From guitar soloists and college a cappella groups to jazz trios, and Beatles tribute bands, their pitch-perfect performances will thrill music lovers young and old. Most shows are mid-afternoon or early evening, so be sure to check the calendars for one that suits your family’s schedule.

Los Angeles Public Library
Online: lapl.org

LA County Library
Online: lacountylibrary.org

Santa Monica Public Library
Online: smpl.org

photo: photo: BARK Reading to Dogs

Read to Dogs

Libraries around LA offer kids amazing opportunities to boost their reading confidence by reading to pups. Wonderful organizations like BARK, Paws 4 Healing, and Paws for Life bring trained therapy dogs to the library on selected afternoons and give kids a chance to snuggle up and read a favorite tale or two out loud. May we suggest Go, Dog, Go

Los Angeles Public Library
Online: lapl.org

LA County Library
Online: lacountylibrary.org

Santa Monica Public Library
Online: smpl.org

photo: photo: Drag Queen Story Hour

Drag Queen Story Hour

You better werk that book, honey. Drag Queen Story Hour is a fantastic program that’s been happening in LA for quite a while now. If you haven’t brought the kids yet, we highly recommend it. Fantastical drag queens (are there any other kind?) read progressive stories to tikes, infusing them with humor, glamour and straight-up sass. The sessions provide a fun opportunity to teach children about empathy, acceptance and fabulous individuality. Crafts are often provided afterward and post storytime photos with the queen herself are more than welcome. Check these participating library calendars for dates and times.

Los Angeles Public Library
Online: lapl.org

LA County Library
Online: lacountylibrary.org

Santa Monica Public Library
Online: smpl.org

photo: photo: LAPD Community Relationship Division

LAPD Read Along

The LAPD Read Along program was created by the Los Angeles Police Department’s Community Relationship Division to help promote child literacy and build positive and inspiring interactions between police officers and young people. Uniformed LAPD officers pay weekly visits to the Eagle Rock, Arroyo Seco, Cypress Park and (coming soon) Los Feliz library branches to read to kids and tackle any questions they may have. It’s a wonderful way for kiddos to form lasting bonds with the police and get psyched about reading at the same time.

Los Angeles Public Library
Online: lapl.org

To see what Red Tricycle Editors are up to this month, follow us on Instagram!

–Jennifer O’Brien