As Jillian and Matt Reynolds counted two green spaces on colorful squares laid out in a trail throughout the Bethlehem Public Library, their mother held a manila envelope filled with large index cards.
On each card was either one or two colored squares. As the children took turns drawing a card on the envelope, they moved to the colored squares indicted on the card. Every time they saw a pink square, Jillian, 4, and Matt, 7, would be given a piece of candy or a sticker by a teen library volunteer dressed as a character from the Hasbro board game Candyland.
“This is like a second Halloween for you guys!” said Reynolds.
The life-sized Candyland game was created as part of the library’s Youth Services summer program. Each year, hundreds of local children take part in the events coordinated by the branch, and the numbers are growing to the satisfaction of library staff.
The library holds dozens of events each summer to keep children occupied and stimulated throughout the warmer months. They have also formed clubs, like the Lego and Pokemon Clubs, and a summer reading program with prizes. Teenagers who feel too old to participate in activities with some of the library’s younger readers are welcome to join as volunteers.
“We have the kids set a book goal at the beginning of summer and then if they reach it, they get a free book,” said Chris McGinty, head of the library’s Youth Services.
Those participating in the program also receive smaller prizes throughout the summer for every book they read if they speak with a volunteer about the book and why they liked it. Children from 3 years old to high school age can participate.
On special days, children can participate in the Paws to Read program, where the kids read books to certified service therapy dogs.