I recently had the opportunity to visit the new Early Learning Center at the Waukegan Public Library, and was I ever glad we went! Some of my preschooler’s favorite places include the library, children’s museums and play places, and the Early Learning Center was like all that, but all rolled into one. We’ve visited a lot of libraries, but never have I seen one offering what is here. It is truly amazing!
When you first enter the Early Learning Center, you walk into a beautiful art studio room where everything is so neat and organized. I can only imagine what fun things will be going on in here in the upcoming months.
Across from the art area is a phenomenal theater room, complete with a little stage and bench seating. It is absolutely adorable!
The theme right now is “Blast Off,” all about outer space, and the library got really creative with it. Some of the especially cool things they have include an entire wall that is magnetic with tons of different magnets to stick to it. My daughter loved this immensely, so it was hard dragging her away when it was time to go!
Children will find new iPads loaded with learning games and activities.
A colorful space ship nook invites children to nestle in with a book to read.
In another area, there is a Mars rover vehicle for the kids to sit inside and climb on!
For the tiny tots there is a safe (baby only) area where they can crawl all around, with some toys to play with, without the worry of being trampled on by the older kids.
Be sure to try your hand at the “fishing” area, where you can use a fishing pole to fish for rocket ships. This is a cute spin on the traditional fishing games that I’ve seen at some other children’s museums. This was another favorite area that I couldn’t get my daughter away from!
I loved the big star-shaped activity tables for kids, with lots of activities to choose from!
Space blocks, puzzles, space toys and bear dominoes were some of the fun playthings that we saw during our visit.
Nearby there was a Lego station with green Lego mats permanently fastened to the table and wall with bins full of Lego pieces.
Dispersed throughout all this awesomeness, of course, were books! Special displays feature space books to fit the theme, and bright bookshelves held all the other great books. My daughter and I could have easily spent the entire day here. The new Early Learning Center is certainly at the top of our list to visit again, as we will be back to spend some more time here. If you are not in the Waukegan area, it is definitely worth the trip to check this new area out.
Also, be sure to look at all of the current program offerings (all free), but some require registration. Programs include Babies and Books, Storytime, Apple Crafts, Numbers and Counting Fun, and more.
Waukegan Public Library
Early Learning Center
128 N. Country St., Waukegan | (847) 623-2041