Imagination Stations Arrive at KDL

Children are full of imagination . . . .

If given some toys, songs, or other props, a child can easily journey off to a magical world of play and learning. They might pretend to be a doctor caring for a sick teddy bear, or a clerk selling fruits and vegetables in a grocery store.

The Kent District Library is thrilled to introduce the Imagination Station to its early childhood literacy program offerings. An Imagination Station is a simple structure that fosters a child’s imagination through dramatic play.

Dramatic play is a key component of early childhood development.  Dramatic play helps children develop creativity and imagination, knowledge of how the world works, language skills, and cooperation with others.  From this play, children begin to develop life-long literacy skills.

Thank you to our friends at Meijer and Fifth Third Bank for sponsoring our first Imagination Stations at the Walker and Kentwood branches. The Wendy’s Imagination Station is scheduled to open at the Wyoming branch in early January.  Additional Imagination Stations will be introduced during 2011.

You can help feed the imagination of a young child.   

Donate to the KDL Fund today.


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Written by Janice Fonger

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3 Responses to “Imagination Stations Arrive at KDL”

  1. Tanya Says:

    I’ve seen this at the Children’s Museum, but is a library a good place for this? I’m worried they will play instead of enjoying books or puppets.

  2. Michelle Says:

    Thank you for your comment. Kent District Library is always looking for the best ways to engage, share and delight our youngest customers: babies, toddlers and preschoolers.

    Research shows that children learn through play- whether it is a baby exploring the world through their senses or playing peek-a-boo, a toddler just beginning to explore imaginative play and imitation or a preschooler recreating play from a story they are familiar with. All of this play is important work for young children.

    The library early literacy play spaces and Imagination Stations provide play with a purpose. Children can engage in play by themselves, with other children or with their caregivers. Each type of play is important in the social and emotional development of young children as well as in building their school readiness skills.

    The activities that are selected for the library all tie into the six early literacy skills that every child needs in order to be ready to learn to read. (
    So while children are playing with a doll house and exploring their world they are also developing their narrative skills, while children learn to navigate social experiences with other children as they play at an Imagination Station they are also developing vocabulary, while children are developing fine motor skills while making a book at an art station they are also developing print awareness, while children play with alphabet puzzles and magnets they are developing their letter knowledge, while they sing rhymes and chants hanging up in the play space they are developing their phonological awareness, and when children feel comfortable in an environment, when they can explore and feel free to be children you will find them on their tummies with books all around them exploring their world, developing a sense of wonder and a strong sense of print motivation. This in turn leads to more books being checked out and brought into the home to share again and again each day.

    Play is how children engage with the world, it is how they grow and it is how they become strong readers. We hope that the library play spaces are not just a space to come in and get books and leave, we hope families spend time at the library, we hope they play together, we hope they grow together and we hope they read together. Our hope is that the library is the place to facilitate all of these things.

    We hope to see you in one of our libraries soon.

    Michelle, Youth Specialist at the EGR branch

  3. Shannon Says:

    As a parent of two young children and a patron of the EGR branch of KDL, I know from first hand experience that this really works. I admit when my very active son was a toddler, I was just happy that the library was a fun place to play. I checked out books to read to him at home, but he showed little interest in the books at the library. I was really shocked when he was 3yrs old and I found him looking at books on his own in one of the aisles and now at 5 yrs, he will sit and read at the library for extended periods of time. If the library had been a a typical quiet place with only books and some quiet puzzles, we would NOT have gone as often and definitely would not have stayed as long.
    I agree with Michelle that the activities do help children develop narrative skills, fine motor skills, print awareness, etc., but even more important, in my opinion, is that making the library a fun place, a place to want to spend time, because THAT is what makes lifelong readers.
    I am so happy that our second child gets to have the same experience with the library and I can only wish the same for the patrons of all libraries.
    Thank you to Michelle and the rest of the KDL staff. Your innovative children’s area and fantastic programs for children are much appreciated by our whole family!