Local youngsters brought their favourite stuffed animals out to Clayt French Park Thursday morning, as the Orillia Public Library hosted a teddy bear picnic for children and teddy bears alike.
The picnic featured snacks, a sing-along, and readings of children’s books, as well as the opportunity to create a teddy bear headband out of construction paper.
For the more adventurous children and teddy bears, library staff provided a ‘teddy bear bucket list’ to complete, which included riding a slide, meeting new teddies, and hugging a friend among its challenges.
Erin Damery, the library’s co-ordinator of children and youth services, said the idea behind the event is to spark an interest in reading among Orillia’s youngest residents.
“The idea is to draw in our youngest readers, by programming with something they're very familiar with, which is their favourite stuffed animal and reading them some of our favourite stories, and then having some activities to go along with it like crafts, and a little teddy bear bucket list,” she told OrilliaMatters.
Damery said the event is part of the library’s Summer Reading Club, which encourages children to read with their families throughout the summer.
“Children come into the library to get prizes and to talk about what they're reading, and librarians can help them choose new books to read, and then we do some programming along with that,” Damery said.
Introduced this year, the teddy bear picnic is part of the multi-year Library in the Park program, where library staff bring programming to Orillia’s parks each Thursday at 10:30 am.
“We just think that anything that can get families out and spending time reading together is good and worth the time,” Damery said. “We thought that teddy bears would be a nice jumping off point. We also have a dinosaur themed (event); we had a nature themed one, so we have different themes throughout the summer.”
There are two Library in the Park sessions left for 2022, at Clayt French Park on Aug. 4 and Couchiching Beach Park on Aug. 11.
“These are drop-in; they're open to anyone who is interested,” Damery said. “They start at 10:30 and they last about an hour by the time we're done all of our activities.”