There and Back Again: a Mom’s Tale

Part 2 in a series of the MacGregor family’s adventures finding summer recreation in the Indian Wells Valley

There and Back Again: a Mom’s TaleBy CHRISTINA MACGREGOR, News Review Correspondent

I have five children who are 8 months, 2, 4, 5, and 7 years old. On top of trying to juggle nap time, diaper changes, snacks, grocery shopping and the basics of being a mom, I also want to include fun activities that appeal to my children’s different age groups. Taking into consideration their varying attention spans makes my task very daunting. However, I feel that there are enough options of things to do at the Ridgecrest Branch Library that all of my children have a pleasant experience while they are there.

We are particularly lucky to have librarians who are above and beyond typical expectations. All ages can attend many different types of activities, create crafts, watch guest speakers, see things like puppet shows and exhibits, eat a meal with the free lunch program, check out a wide variety of books and do so much more.

There is almost always something going on at our public library. For these reasons and more, it is one of my family’s most frequent stops during our summer break. My children and I look through the brochure of options each year with excitement about what our summer will hold. We circle many fun activities, and see which of those will fit into our calendar.

This year’s program theme is “It’s Showtime at Your Library.” With a theme like that, we were intrigued to see what creative ideas would show up. We have not been disappointed. We are only halfway through June, and my family has already been inside a traveling planetarium, played at the indoor and outdoor activities that happen during those meals, became members of a circus where we tamed lions and walked on a tightrope, eaten multiple free lunches and read several books to get started on the summer reading challenge. These are but a few of the activities that have been available.

One of our favorite “adventures” so far was attending “The Beth Armogida Planetarium.”

Individuals from the Maturango Museum bring a traveling planetarium to schools in the area, as well as the library. I chose to bring my 5 year old and 7 year old, because I wasn’t sure how my other three kiddos would do (or how quiet they could be in that enclosed space). In addition to that, my older two have spent hours outside looking at the moon and stars through a telescope with their dad. Thus I knew that the interest level was already there.

When we signed to attend the planetarium, we were put on a waiting list because all of the spots for the classes were full. Still, I took my children to the library in hopes of them being able to go inside. Luckily, there was some extra room, and we got inside. So if you are ever on a waiting list for a library activity, go, go, go! Openings pop up, and it is worth it for your kiddos to experience.

Upon entering the planetarium, we sat on the ground and looked up at the bubble sky around us. A fascinating video about the sun started promptly, projecting up onto the ceiling of the structure, which is good thing because that many bodies in enclosed space can create slightly warm atmosphere. (It is also summertime, so I am sure that contributed to things as well.) We learned about the lifespan of the sun, as well as how it is a star and how it affects the Earth. The whole video was well done and held a lot of interesting facts for me and my children. We left it with a greater appreciation for our sun and its huge role in our lives.

In addition to all of these activities and events, the library now provides free lunches Tuesday through Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Last year was the first year that the library staff did this, and the program was very successful, so it is continuing into its second year. The lunches have included sandwiches, burgers, wraps, meat and potatoes, and a variety of other options as the main course. Sides offered with the lunches include fruit, veggies, chips and milk. My children are not hungry when they leave, and they love the sitting choices that they get to pick between while they eat their food. There are tables and chairs inside the library, and there are picnic blankets for kids and parents to sit on outside and enjoy their lunches. It is a very relaxing time.

We also love the variety of activities available during lunchtime. The library always has indoor and outdoor activities based around the lunch program. Many of the children seemed to gravitate toward the giant Connect Four game, as well as the magnetic fish game. The inside coloring and paper options are a big hit with my 7-year-old. “Free stuff Fridays” are also an awesome experience for my kids — last week they received a tiny Dr. Seuss art pad and a pack of 24 crayons each. For the rest of the day, they drew pictures together and giggled at their siblings’ funny pictures.

Hopefully the library will continue to be a place that many other families enjoy attending. There is magic to be found there, and my family plans to go there, and then back again, for many years to come.

To sign up for the summer reading challenge, or to find more information about the Ridgecrest Branch Library and the schedule of events, go to kclsummerchallenge.org and www.facebook.com/ ridgecrestbranchlibrary/.

Pictured: Some of the elder MacGregor children play with props in the photo booth — Photo by Christina MacGregor

Story First Published: 2019-06-21