Under 5s and libraries

Children are welcome to join the library from birth and there are plenty of activities for the under 5s.

We understand that children are noisy and sometimes messy, so don't worry too much about being quiet.

We love to see young children enjoying our libraries and always make allowances for their enthusiasm.

1. Sessions for under 5s

Regular sessions are held in libraries throughout Westminster designed to help children develop their concentration, co-ordination and comprehension skills through the use of books, songs, finger rhymes, nursery rhymes and poetry.

Parents and carers sit with their children and help them with the programme, building a relationship based on learning between parents and children. It gives parents the opportunity to meet with others who have children of a similar age.

Advice on suitable books and approaches to reading for the 0 to 4 age group is also provided.

We have a range of sessions including:

  • PlayCantonese - a baby and toddler group where stories and songs are in Cantonese/Chinese
  • Songs and rhymes
  • Stories, songs, crafts and fun
  • Tiny tots
  • Story time - stories and crafts with a different theme each week and best suited for nursery-age children
  • Baby rhyme time - songs, rhymes and baby play time with toys and musical instruments
  • Toddler time - songs and stories followed by simple crafts
  • Wiggle and jiggle - music and movement for toddlers aged between 12 to 30 months
  • Baby bounce and rhyme - knee-bouncing songs for babies aged between 3 to 12 months
  • Rhyme time rhymes - songs, crafts and games all based around a popular children's story
  • Just for dads - a chance for dads to bring their children along for stories and songs
  • Songs, rhymes and stories for the under 5s
  • Toddler toy time - toys and colouring to keep your toddlers entertained.

2. Timetable

Sessions are usually run during term-time only.

View contact details and opening times for each library

Library Date and time Session
Charing Cross Library Tuesday, 10.30am Songs and rhymes
Second and last Wednesday of every month, 10.30am to 11.30am PlayCantonese
Church Street Library

Tuesday, 4.10pm to 4.45pm

Story time and crafts
Maida Vale Library Tuesday and Friday, 10.30am Songs and rhymes
Third Saturday of the month, 11am to 11.30am Parents who work during our usual weekday sessions are particularly welcome
Marylebone Library Tuesday, 10.30am Tiny tots: songs and rhymes
Friday, 3.45pm Story time
Saturday, 10.30am to 12pm Drop-in craft: make whatever you want using a range of exciting materials
Mayfair Library Tuesday, 10.30am Songs and rhymes followed by baby play time with toys
Paddington Children's Library Wednesday, 10.30am to 11.30am Baby rhyme time
Friday, 10.30am to 11.30am Toddler toy time: a chance for parents and carers of toddlers aged one and above to meet, mingle and make new friends. With toys and colouring to keep your toddlers entertained.
Pimlico Library Monday, 10am to 11am Wiggle and jiggle (for 12 to 30-month-olds)
Tuesday, 10:30am to 11:30am Stories, rhymes and crafts for the under 5s
Wednesday, 10am to 11am Baby bounce and rhymes
First Saturday of the month, 10:30am to 11:30am Just for dads
Queen's Park Library Monday, 10.30am to 11.30am Rhyme time
Friday, 10.30am to 11.30am Rhyme time
St. John's Wood Library Tuesday, 10.15am Songs and rhymes
Third Thursday of the month, 11.30am to 12pm Rhyme time in Japanese
Saturday, 10.30am to 12pm Drop-in craft session; make something new every week
Victoria Library Thursday, 10.30am to 11.30am Songs, rhymes and stories for the under 5s. Toys and musical instruments as well as crafts on special occasions

For details of special events, especially during the school holidays, visit the news and events section and select the libraries you are interested in visiting.

3. Bookstart

Bookstart works through local organisations to give free packs of books to babies and children 3 years old and under, with guidance materials for parents and carers.

Read more information on Bookstart and how to get your child's free books.

Last updated: 19 January 2018
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