Kids listen to stories every Friday at the Arboretum

Published 7:00 am Saturday, July 6, 2019

Kids gathered to read at the Crosby Arboretum Friday morning for Story Hour with Kimberly Blackburn, a consultant with Usborne Books and More.

After well-attended Story Hours in June, the event went from bi-monthly to weekly, said Blackburn. The story hour does not have a cap on age, and the oldest participant so far has been 12, while the youngest was 18 months, Blackburn said.

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The weekly gathering begins with a welcome song, followed by out loud reading, a second sing along and ends with craft time, Blackburn said. Crafts are themed to pair with the storybook—like brown paper bag monsters on a day the children read Nibbles the Book Monster, Blackburn said.

Story time can help create a love for reading and learning at an early age, Blackburn said. Blackburn chooses interactive books that teach positive ideas, such as children can be what they want to be when they grow up, she said.

The program is a good place for children to read books and have fun, said participant Julian Blackburn.

“It’s very super cool,” he said.

Story Hour gives kids an opportunity to visit the Arboretum, but spend time indoors during the hot summer months, said Arboretum Director Pat Drackett.

“We plan programs to bring people in that might not normally think about visiting the Arboretum,” Drackett said.

Not everyone has an interest in gardening, Drackett said, so they might not think to visit the Arboretum. Programming like Story Hour changes that, she said.

Sherri Lowe and Kim Johnson created Story Hour at the Arboretum to engage more kids, Drackett said. In a past version of story time a volunteer came with books and let kids read for an hour, Drackett said. People can always come to the Arboretum’s library and read, Drackett said.

Potential volunteers interested in holding a Story Hour at the Arboretum can find volunteer forms on the Arboretum’s website or at the Welcome Center, Drackett said. People who want to volunteer with the Arboretum have a range of tasks they can take on, including running a story time, raking pine straw, painting, maintaining the pollinator garden and working in the library, Drackett said.

Story Hour is from 10 to 11 a.m. every Friday and is $2 for non-member’s children and free for member’s children. The cost goes toward the Arboretum. Blackburn said she expects the Story Hour to continue every Friday through August. The Arboretum can be contacted at 601-799-2372.