Remember summer play as a kid? You would wander outside and see who was around. You’d start a game of some kind, other kids would join in, and you would adjust the rules as you went along. If it was a good game, it would continue after lunch and again after dinner, and sometimes it might even span several days.

Some games were competitive, pitting individuals or teams against each other to see who could go farthest, last longest, or score the most points. Other games were borne out of curiosity, like seeing what things you could burn a hole through with a magnifying glass and a bit of sunshine. Others were collaborative, like building a fort or creating a secret club. Some were creative, like pretending to be superheros, racing drivers, royalty, and rock stars.

Sometimes summer play was solo play. You might challenge yourself to finally learn to back flip or ride a bike or swim the length of the pool. Or you might find a bit of wood and some tools and figure out how to make something. You might teach yourself how to embroider. You might read the entirety of The Chronicles of Narnia.

This is free play. It arises spontaneously and when it has runs its course, it fades. Its process is discovery, and its only standard of measurement is how much fun it is.

At the library, we believe in free play and self-directed learning through discovery. We hope you’ll join us!

Free Play & Food Trucks   Starting March 19, every Monday afternoon at 4:30 we will have toys, games, art supplies, and space for families to hang out and play. You can meet up with friends. You can sit and chat while the kids play or play along with them. You can hike the Madrone Trail. You can bring your own entertainment. You can have a snack from the food truck. Come and remember what summer play used to be like.

Free to Learn   Peter Gray, author of Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life, will speak at Laura’s Library on April 26 at 7pm. This is the second talk in a 3-part series he is delivering here in Austin.

Discovery!  Every Wednesday at 4:30 at Laura’s is discovery hour – a time to try something new. On March 21 we have Lego Free Play and on March 28 we have juggling with Matt Tardy.d

Let’s Play! Summer Discovery Program   This summer we will have loads of fun for the family with discovery-based programming. Kickoff is on May 26.  Watch for the Summer Discovery calendar in early May.