It doesn’t have to be a Mercedes

Time spent with family is a gift, too.

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The idea of giving thoughtfully often breaks down when it comes to kids. Don’t they need the latest, shiniest, whatsit? 

It doesn’t take much, Wayne County children’s librarian Betty Lawson observes, to make kids happy. Once she watched them play with scarves at the library, “just throwing them around,” she said. “You can buy the most expensive present, but look how much fun they’re having with a scarf!”  

“Give a gift to a child that resonates to that child,” says Honesdale psychologist Douglas Bill. “A gift can...draw out the potential within them that will help him cultivate who he really is.” 

That might be an experience, or it might be a present. Our region is full of possibilities.

It’s about sharing, and understanding. Oh yeah, and books too. 

Libraries

REGION — So you thought libraries were just about getting a book to read. A dusty book. Who reads books anymore? 

People do here. Our libraries are thriving.

At the Wayne County Library in Honesdale, programs for babies offer “their introduction to the library,” children’s librarian Betty Lawson said, “in a welcoming, loving atmosphere.” 

Other programs help prepare for preschool, or blend entertainment and education for the older crew. “You can’t go wrong coming here,” Lawson said.

On the New York side, almost every community has its library, and the information is online, so it’s easy to find something to do. Start with the links on www.rcls.org, and go from there. The Western Sullivan libraries, for instance, not only have story hours and teen hangouts, but they’re decorating gingerbread for the holidays at all three branches and have a roster of activities planned for winter break. Go online for more information: www.wsplonline.org/page/childrens-programs-8.html  

For those who can’t get to the library, Betty Lawson offers a live-streamed story time through Facebook every Sunday at 7 p.m. (on Facebook at Wayne County Public Library’s Children’s Room). “By the end of the week,” she said, “800 people will have watched it.”

Community arts centers

Unleashing creativity around the region

HURLEYVILLE, NY — In an era of tight school budgets and trimmed arts programs, communities have stepped up. Take the Hurleyville Arts Centre (HAC): It offers programs and classes in theatre, dance, art, music and more for children and adults. 

The HAC also boasts Gallery222 across the street. Sure, it shows adult artwork, but also that of kids. “Hosting student work is a wonderful experience for students to see how the gallery process works, from mounting and hanging a show to gallery sitting and interacting with customers,” says gallery coordinator Ellyane Hutchinson.  It’s a wonderful opportunity for young people hoping for a career in the arts.

 If your child is creative, do check out one of our local arts centers. It’s freedom for your child’s creative spirit.  

Museums explore nature, science and history

The dinosaurs are practically the first thing you see. 

 SCRANTON, PA — Scranton’s Everhart Museum of Natural History, Science and Art—a half-hour’s drive from Honesdale—has an up-close-and-personal look at a stegosaurus skeleton and a T-rex skull. And there are 300 fossils besides.  

Aside from the dinos, though, the Everhart offers classes for kids and adults, including a chance to make food with a professional chef on Tuesday, December 17, said Stefanie Colarusso, director of programs and events. 

But the Everhart offers more than that. There’s art, design, historical exhibits, and much more. The collection spans the world, said Sarah Sutton, educational manager at the Everhart. “Kids can take a step away from screen time and have an experience with their families.”  

More of a history person? Our local historical societies welcome kids, and the displays remind us all that we are living in an area that has had many powerful stories to tell. Call the Sullivan County Museum at 845/434-8044 or the Wayne County Historical Society at 570/253-3240. 

Out in the great outdoors

Even in winter 

REGION — Winter is coming, so we’re spending more time inside. But kids still need time outside.

Check out Sullivan County’s parks. Outdoor activities may be curtailed in winter, but Walnut Mountain in Liberty offers cold-time activities, including a ski trail and places to work on your snowshoeing. For more information, call them at 845/292-7690. 

Don’t forget the Lacawac Sanctuary in Lake Ariel, PA. Lacawac not only brings kids to nature but, as a “living laboratory,” explains the science behind it all. As kids are empowered to do something about the environment, time spent here could change a life. Call the sanctuary at 570/689-9494 or go online at www.lacawac.org.

But sometimes it’s gotta’ be toys

JEFFERSONVILLE, NY — Giving mindfully is even more important when it comes to toys. The pressure to buy anything and everything is relentless, but our local toy shops should be your first stop. 

At The Secret Garden in Jeffersonville, on a recent Saturday, you could barely move in the shop, it was so crowded.  

Her toy section is carefully curated. Her wooden Melissa & Doug offerings, for instance, “are educational, they’re not plastic, not metal. They’re safer for children.” They’re also affordable. 

Despite the packed store, Bodenstein took her time with each customer. Everyone waited patiently, because this is what it means to live and shop locally. 

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