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Free toddler story times

Toddlers ages 2-4 or so are in a league all their own. Activities may need to be on the shorter side due to nap times, attention spans, or a mix of both. It’s important they socialize with other children their age, and learn something (colors, numbers, animals) while they’re at it. These story times (and let’s face it, in a toddler’s world, these are almost as important as snack time) are free.

Nature Discovery Center, 7112 Newcastle, Bellaire, in Russ Pitman Park. 713-667-6550.

Nature Story Time is offered every Wednesday at 4 p.m., along with a kids’ craft and nature walk. Little ones can expect to see live animals that they can observe and touch. The center is closed most holidays. If you are coming with a moms’ group or playgroup, please let center staff know in advance for craft material supplies, to be sure no one is left out!

PRESCHOOLER PLUS: The Center offers free printable activities for kids at http://www.naturediscoverycenter.org/kids-printables

Houston Public Library, Heights Neighborhood Branch, 1302 Heights Blvd. 832-393-1810

The HPL has separate story times for small children’s groups. Babies aged 6-18 months, for example, get a time all their own which includes all their favorites: songs, finger plays, and play time. Toddler Time features stories, songs, crafts and play time. It’s tailored for the 18-36-month set. Preschool Story Time is for children 3-5 years old, and is a great chance for them to hear songs, stories and rhymes. The HPL also has a multisensory play group open to babies, toddlers and their caretakers. Ages pre-natal to 4 years old. For the calendar of events, click here.

PRESCHOOLER PLUS: The multisensory playgroup is available in English and Spanish.

Museum of Fine Arts Houston, 1001 Bissonnet, and at the Beck Building, 5601 Main St. 713-639-7300

Sundays from 1-4 p.m., it’s Sunday Family Zone + Studio at the MFAH. Children can come by for a storybook circle at 1:30 p.m., work to imitate a featured work of art using similar materials at the Creation Station, and have gallery adventures with a museum educator guiding families through books, games and activities. Admission’s free for museum members and kids 12 and under. Adults are free with museum admission.

PRESCHOOLER PLUS: There are activities to do at the MFAH that don’t cost extra, so if you take advantage of a free Sunday Family Zone day, see what else is going on at the same time.

They just see it as fun, but you know it’s a great way to build early literacy, interact with other children, and spend time together as a family. Free story times are a great community resource.

Susan Shalhoub |www.PlumEditorial.com

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