Dozens of things to do for you and your whole family.

It's that time of year again. Backpacks are flying off the shelves, and Facebook pages are brimming with photos of well-scrubbed kids heading back to the hallowed halls of learning. Yep, back-to-school is in full swing (and shockingly early for those of us from the post-Labor-Day-school-start days).   

Despite those photogenic first-day smiles, it's fair to say that most kids are less than thrilled with the idea of leaving summer behind. So instead of letting them pout, give them a reason to party! Make after-school time a fun zone with snacks and silliness before buckling down for homework, sports, or after-school activities. 

Pull out a stack of board games and go to town playing a game or two of Uno, Jenga, or Hi-Ho-Cherry-O. If you're feeling super creative, lay out a game board on the living room floor with pieces of construction paper and make yourselves the game pieces. You can make up your own game or play an existing game on a vast scale. CandyLand works well for this one, especially if you use real candy props.  

Make up goofy back-to-school stories.  Check out websites with interactive games like this silly fill-in on National Geographic Kids or these  Mad Libs games from Boston Children's Museum.

Get outside. Take a walk, ride bikes, kick a ball or play classic games like jacks, hula hoops, or hopscotch. Or try a new twist on an old game!

Shout It Out Hopscotch: Use chalk to make a hopscotch board on the driveway or sidewalk. Write a subject in each box on the board, like TV Shows, Things that are Purple or Famous Monsters. Roll dice, then hop according to the number rolled. When kids land on a box, have them shout out something from that category. 

Once you've got the wiggles out, hit the books. Now, the fun doesn't have to end just because it's homework time. Take this daily task from drudgery to delight with a simple location change: 

Spread out a blanket in the middle of the floor and call it the "Isle of Homework." Or, host "Camp Homework" on a blanket under a shady tree in the yard. Sip frozen lemonade from tall glasses with umbrella straws and pretend that you're on a study trip to an exotic locale.   

Make frozen strawberry lemonade: Put a handful of frozen whole strawberries into a blender. Cover them with lemonade and give them a whir. When everything is blended up smoothie-style, it's ready to sip!

Take your show on the road:  Head to a coffee shop like Bean Town in Sierra Madre or a fun ice cream shop like Handel's in Pasadena or Moo Moo Mia in Monrovia (and Montrose). Order milkshakes, smoothies, or a snack to share, then tote your backpacks to the library or park, being sure to lay in some time for fun reading or play breaks. 

If your kids' stock response to the question "How was your day?" is "Great. I'm starving!" then a little after-school snack planning goes a long way. Start with a pantry snack stop.  Stock a plastic bin with easy-to-grab snacks: small bags of pretzels or crackers, fruit leather, granola bars. Let kids grab from the box as soon as they walk in the door. Be sure to include fruit in the mix. Put a bowl of tangerines or grapes in a prominent place, so kids can graze as they go. 

Have a popcorn bar.  Pop a big bowl of popcorn and set it in the middle of the table. Put out small paper bags for mixing and surround your bowl with toppings like mini M&M's, chocolate chips, small pretzels, cheese crackers, dry cereal, seeds, nuts, shredded cheese, or mini marshmallows. Put out a shaker or two of seasoned salt, spices, parmesan cheese, cinnamon sugar, cocoa powder, or brown sugar. Mix and match to your heart's content, placing popcorn in a bag and layering on toppings. Shake it all up to get just the right ratio of toppings to popcorn, then enjoy.

If it's hot after school, make cool treats—store mugs or glasses in the freezer for a frosty drink. Keep a jug of refreshing lemon, mint, or cucumber water in the fridge.  

Make frozen fruit for munching.

Great grapes:

  1. Dip individual grapes in lemonade and roll them in sugar.
  2. Lay them on a tray and freeze them, then transfer them to a container or plastic bag.
  3. Keep frozen. 

Strawberry delight:

  1. Dip strawberries in vanilla yogurt.
  2. Lay them on a tray and freeze.
  3. Transfer them to a container or plastic bag.
  4. Keep frozen. 

Bananas Fair:  

  1. Make a treat reminiscent of the state fair by melting chocolate chips. 
  2. Then dip in a banana.
  3. Freeze and enjoy!


Enjoy your back-to-school time!




Sew It Begins: Adjustable Aprons

Your teen seamstress can follow along to learn how to make an adjustable apron. This two-part lesson is on August 30th and 31st, from 3:30 PM till 5:30 PM. Spots are very limited at the time of writing, so check out the requirements and register now!

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the orange cat bookshop
You can find The Good Egg, and other books listed in the orange cat in our custom bookshop. (Psst, our bookshop supports Vroman's.)
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Family Fun Films

Villa Parke Community Center Branch Library invites your whole family to join them on Thursday from September 2nd through 30th, from 3:30 PM till 5:30 PM. Call the library at 626-744-6510 for specific titles.


Book Talk: 10/10 Picture Books

You and your littlest ones (ages 0-5) can join virtual book talks to learn about new books in a fun and entertaining way. The Monrovia librarians cover picture books and chapter books on the library's YouTube channelHere's the schedule:

Picture Books: September 4th, October 2nd, November 6th

Chapter Books: September 18th, October 16th, November 20th


Little Listeners Storytime in the Park

Parents, little ones (ages 2-5), and their siblings can join the Monrovia librarians for engaging stories and songs for your listeners. The reading fun happens in Library Park near the playground (weather permitting) on Wednesdays, from September 8th through November 24th, from 10:00 AM till 10:45 AM.



A Day in the Life of the Natural History Museum: Careers in STEAM

Do you have a Tween or Teen who might be interested in working at the Natural History Museum? If so, this is for them! On August 31st at 3:30 PM, join a video trip behind the scenes to see how the museum operates and the different available careers. Registration required.



Saving Wildlife at Kidspace

Kidspace members can join a presentation by Saving Wildlife International and their animal ambassadors to learn more about what it means when an animal is endangered, threatened, or extinct. Learn more and see the presentation schedule online.


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NOTE: Story times are subject to change. Please check the sites. Recorded story times are generally available on library YouTube channels.

Teen Inspiration

Check out Altadena Library's Teen Instagram account for BTWN TiTLES, their biweekly posts of book reviews, creativity experiments, and more.

Pasadena Public Library regular storytimes:

Social Media Storytime: Preschool on Mondays at 10:30 - 10:50 AM on Facebook Live and Thursday at 3:00 - 3:20 PM on Instagram Live


Social Media Storytime: Toddler on Tuesdays at 10:30 - 10:50 AM on Instagram Live


Chinese Mandarin Storytime on Wednesdays at 3:00 PM on Instagram Live


Social Media Storytime: Hora de Cuento en Español on Wednesdays at 4:00 - 4:20 PM on Facebook Live


Social Media Storytime: ASL (American Sign Language) on Friday at 4:00 - 4:20 PM on Instagram Live

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