Each month, this space will be dedicated to a library resource or service available free with your Omaha Public Library card.
At the Omaha Public Library, it’s not uncommon to see children leaving libraries with their full allowance of checked-out items. It’s great to see kids learning and having fun while doing it. For parents, however, lugging dozens of books at once can create challenges at times, especially when going on vacation or a daytime outing. The solution? TumbleBooks.
The TumbleBook Library is an online collection of animated, talking picture books designed to teach young children the joys of reading. A child can choose from hundreds of titles, including fiction and nonfiction, chapter books and graphic novels, and even National Geographic videos.
Further educational resources such as lesson plans, quizzes, educational games and puzzles related to math and language skills are also available. TumbleBooks are available in English, Spanish and French, and the online library allows children and parents to customize their experience by building their own playlist, and adding favorite titles to the “My Favorites” section for easy access at any time.
Getting started with TumbleBooks is easy. Visit omahalibrary.org and click on the Resource Center. Under the “Kids” category, select “Books & Reading,” and TumbleBooks will be listed under the list of databases. All one needs to get started is your library card. Technical requirements for TumbleBooks are listed under the “help” tab. Of course, help is always available at your local Omaha Public Library branch.
When it comes to kids and reading, digital and print book formats have been explored in a variety of articles and research studies. While each format has its benefits in the development of literacy skills, the bottom line is that children don’t have to pick one or the other. They have a lot to learn from both types of reading tools, and, fortunately, you can find both at the Omaha Public Library.
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Come to the Barreras Family Farm from 2 to 4 p.m. Friday to meet baby goats. Help bottle-feed the babies, milk mama goats, learn about fresh raw milk and more. The event is for kids ages 5 to 12. The farm is located at 11564 County Road P30 in Blair, Nebraska. More.
Regency Court will host a kid’s Funfare Thursday at 10 a.m. The event will feature the Music Makers show by the Rose Theater in Center Court. Regency Court is located at 120 Regency Parkway. More.
Full-contact equestrian jousting, a half-dozen live stage performance locations, more than 200 costumed characters, hands-on activities, make-and-take crafts and many one-of-a-kind artisans await you at the 11th annual Renaissance Festival of Nebraska. The event will take place Saturday and Sunday at the Bellevue Berry Farm, 11001 S. 48th St. in Papillion. This weekend’s theme is “Celtic Celebration.” The cost is $13 in advance for those ages 13 and older and $8 for children ages 3 to 12. Cost is $1 more when purchased at the door. For more information, click here.
Officers from the Omaha Police Department will be on hand for storytime at the Omaha Public Library this week and weekend. They’ll be at the Benson Library, 6015 Binney St., Thursday from 10:15 to 11 a.m. They’ll be at the Florence Library, 2920 Bondesson St., Friday from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. After the storytime, stay to see and touch a police cruiser. Children of all ages are welcome.
Come to Fontenelle Forest, 1111 Bellevue Blvd. North, Sunday for High Tea and Talons — a Mother’s Day Tea Party with Raptors. The event, which will take place from 1 to 3 p.m., will include tea, small pastries, sandwiches and special programing about raptors. Fancy dress is encouraged. This year will feature a best hat contest as well. Cost is $5 plus daily admission. Registration is required. More.
Come to Zorinsky Lake, 3808 S. 156th St., Friday from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. for Spring into Summer, a two-part celebration perfect for the whole family. The fun will include bounce houses, s’mores, canoeing, archery, a rock wall, a DJ and a free park concert featuring Taxi Driver from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. More.
Wild Willy’s Fireworks will host a fireworks demo shoot Saturday from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Sarpy County Fairgrounds, 100 Main St. in Springfield, Nebraska. The event will include food trucks. Covered bench seating will be available, but people are encouraged to bring their own chairs. More.
Come to Cabela’s on Saturday or Sunday to get a free 4x6 photo taken with mom. The first 75 moms to have their photo taken on Sunday will receive a free tote bag. Times are noon to 5 p.m. both days. Cabela’s is located at 12703 Westport Parkway in La Vista. More.
The Budweiser Clydesdales will be several local locations this weekend. They’ll be at Hy-Vee, 16418 Westside Drive in Plattsmouth, Nebraska, Thursday from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.; Fareway, 1325 Jersey St. in Papillion, on Friday from 5 to 7 p.m.; Horsemen’s Park, 6303 Q St., Saturday from 2 to 6 p.m.; and Supermercado, 3548 Q St., Sunday from 1 to 3 p.m.
Come to the South Omaha Library, 2808 Q St., Saturday from 2 to 3 p.m. to plant seeds and seedlings to grow your own salsa garden with tomatoes, peppers and cilantro. Registration is required. More.
Come to Heron Haven, 11809 Old Maple Road, for a family education program Saturday from 10 to 11:30 a.m. There will be a program about Migratory Bird Month, as well as a hike led by the Junior Audubon Club of Omaha. Kids can play a Migration Madness bird game, dissect an owl pellet and more.
Marcus Theaters will host a special screening Sunday of “The Sound of Music” at Majestic Cinema of Omaha, 14304 West Maple Road. Tickets start at $8.56 and include brunch. More.
Nebraska Crossing Outlets, 21209 Nebraska Crossing Drive in Gretna, will host a free Kids Jamboree Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The fun will include face painting, balloon twisting, magician tricks, stilt walkers and treats from Rita’s Italian Ice. More.
Bloom: An Event for New and Expecting Moms will take place Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m. at Think Whole Person Healthcare Aksarben, 7100 West Center Road. Attendees will receive an evening of pampering, light snacks and desserts, educational resources, giveaways, swag, shopping and more. Tickets start at $5. More.
Come to Council Bluffs from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday for a special Mother’s Day farmers market. The market will be at 100 Pearl St. There will be free flowers for moms and a paint-a-pot activity for kids. More.
Several area organizations host craft time for children every weekend. Kids can create a free craft Saturday at Lakeshore Learning Store from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Finally, kids 3 and older can make paper flowers for mom Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon with the Michaels Kids Club. Sign up online or drop in. The cost ranges from $2 to $5 per project, supplies included.
Omaha is home to more than 200 parks, and many include playgrounds, trails and other attractions. Check out the list here, and explore a new park with your kids.
The Omaha metro area has several indoor play areas for families to enjoy. They include Pump It Up, Backyard Playworld and BounceU in Omaha, and Jumpin Jax in Papillion. Oak View Mall and Westroads Mall also have fun indoor play areas. Check out Approach Climbing Gym at 4923 S. 72nd St. It offers day passes, instructional classes, youth programs and more. Several local gymnastic places also have open gym time, including Metro Stars Gymnastics, Premier Gymnastics, Airborne Academy, Go! Kids Gym and Kid's Body Shop. Eugene T. Mahoney State Park, 28500 W. Park Highway in Ashland, Nebraska, features an on-site indoor activity center.
Take an afternoon to go roller skating with your kids. You can laugh at each other while you fall down again and again. Check out Skate City, 1220 S. Fort Crook Road in Bellevue.
Do Space, Omaha's community tech space, is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Plus it's free. Check out five things to do at Do Space here.
There are tons of organizations that host weekday and weekend storytimes.
Lauritzen Gardens will host a “Read and Grow” storytime Friday from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Stories will celebrate gardens, plants, insects and more. This Friday’s theme is “Gnomes, Fairies and Garden Magic.” The event is free but pre-registration is requested. Lauritzen Gardens is located at 100 Bancroft St. More. Other storytimes include Barnes and Noble (Oak View and Crossroads), Pottery Barn Kids, Leader Reader at the Omaha Children's Museum, the Omaha Public Library branches, the Gretna Public Library, the Bellevue Public Library, the La Vista Public Library, the Sump Memorial Library in Papillion, the Baright Public Library in Ralston and the Plattsmouth Public Library.
Are your kids animal lovers? If so, there are several ways they can help the animals at the Nebraska Humane Society, including reading to them during adoption hours. Check out more fun ways here.
The Omaha, Bellevue and Council Bluffs Public Libraries are currently offering free day passes to Fontenelle Forest. Each pass admits two adults and children from their household. More information can be found at each library.
Community centers offer something for every member of your family — from infants to senior citizens. For a full list of community centers, click here.
The Ralston Arena offers public ice skating for $5, with free ice skate rental. The Motto McLean Ice Arena inside Hitchcock Park near 45th and Q Streets offers Family Skate time Sunday from 4 to 6:15 p.m.
We put together a list of must-see spots across the state. How many of these destinations can you cross off your Cornhusker bucket list?