As summertime draws to a close, it can be challenging to keep increasingly restless kids occupied, but Absecon resident Theo Reynolds has one sure-fire strategy for keeping her 4-year-old twins, Robert and George, entertained for at least one day of the week.
The Absecon Public Library offers special kids' educational programs Wednesday mornings in August to keep kids engaged at a time when many parents are otherwise out of ideas. The Reynolds twins are frequent attendees.
The pair was thoroughly entertained by Fun on a String Puppetry, which visited the library the morning of Aug. 21.
"The kids really liked it, and it felt like a real creature was actually coming up to them," Reynolds said. "Dancing around and petting them, touching them, so I think they liked it."
The fourth and final program of the series will be a visit by the Philadelphia Zoo on Wheels at 10 a.m. Aug. 28. This live animal showcase features a rotating cast of critters, like snakes, turtles and armadillos.
Other programs in the series this year were a performance by Egg Harbor Township musician Chad Juros and a visit by reptile petting zoo Snakes 'n Scales.
The summer kids' programs are an offshoot of the library's weekly storytime and craft sessions, which take place Wednesday mornings year round, said library Director Barbara Wilson.
Penny Rapicano, owner and performer of Fun on a String, opened the hourlong show with a demonstration of a few simple puppets she had made, which served both to get the kids ready for the larger puppets and to show them how easily they can come up with puppets of their own. Rapicano showed off several, such as a sock puppet and one made out of a cardboard tube and a few dollar store accessories, that can easily be made at home with a few odds and ends.
Following this display, Rapicano delved into her bag of elaborate, self-made marionettes, which she had perform choreographed dances set to music that kept the young audience in rapt attention.
The Absecon Library's Wednesday series has been going on as long as Wilson - who has been at the library for 35 years - can remember. Reynolds has taken her kids to the August series and the storytimes for a while now, and she said the Aug. 21 show offered a combination of education and convenience that can't be beaten.
"It exposes them to something they don't otherwise see," Reynolds said. "I don't have puppets at my house. It gives them a different thing, and then it's early enough that now I can start my day and still take them to the beach and do something."
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If you go
Philadelphia Zoo on Wheels visits Absecon Public Library
10 a.m. Aug. 28
Absecon Public Library, 305 New Jersey Ave.