Activities & Tips

#OPLSummer Week 3: Art & Expression

This week we encourage self-expression through art. 



See more titles in Beanstack. 


 Shefali Shah and Aguacero Saturday at 10:30am to learn about bomba dance and music. 


Sign up to explore scribble bots.

  • SCRIBBLE BOTS example:
    See video

PBS Kids offers a variety of activities that promote creativity

Activities that will earn a badge in Beanstack or a star on the paper log this week include:

2021 King Day Celebrations

Happy Birthday to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., born January 15, 1929, in Atlanta, GA. 

The Library will be closed Monday, January 18, 2021, to honor Dr. King. The Elmhurst, Golden Gate, Piedmont Avenue, and Temescal/Tool Lending branches will also be closed Tuesday, January 19th. 

While we remain under stay at home orders, here are some options for celebrating online on Monday, January 18, 2021. 

If you’re looking for MLK books to read with your children, click here! 

“Everybody can be great because everybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love.” 

― Martin Luther King Jr. 


Play Winter Bingo Through February 28!

Winter Bingo Prize Book Pick-up available February 1-28 at all Sidewalk Service locations!

Winter Bingo is a fun family literacy game recommended for kids ages 0-12.  To play Winter Bingo, visit your local sidewalk pick up location to collect a Winter Bingo card  (downloads are available below) or register on Beanstack. 

Complete any 5 activities in a row and win a FREE Book!

Watch this video created by Children's Librarian, Patí Moran, to learn more about these fun activities.

Kids can collect their prize book at any Oakland Public Library sidewalk pickup location through the month of February.

You can download Winter Bingo cards using the links below:

Happy Holidays!

Early Learning - WRITE & PLAY

This final post of the early learning series will highlight two prereading skills:  Write and Play 

Play is the work of children. They develop early writing skills by drawing and scribbling.



  • Let your child drop small items such as buttons and leaves into a glass (or bucket) of water. Observe, do they sink or float?
  • Hide objects or pictures around the house, then give your child a word and send her on a rhyming scavenger hunt.
  • Form green balls and yellow balls with play dough. Help your child make a patterned caterpillar body. Green, yellow, green...
  • Give your child bowls and a wooden spoon to “make dinner” as you’re making dinner.
  • Choose a letter. Ask your child to find as many objects as they can that start with that letter.
  • Play restaurant with your child using recycled containers and leaves for “food.”
  • Put together a puzzle together as a family.


Communty Partner Spotlight
Bananas Bunch 

BANANAS offers monthly workshops, classes, and support groups to help parents approach the child care selection process, improve their parenting skills, and learn new coping tactics for a range of issues.

Early Learning - SING

In my recent reading of Land of Cranes by local author Aida Salazar,  I came across a passage where a mother wants to teach children in a detention center. Someone commented  but they have no pen or paper!  Never mind that. They have their voices. They would learn through song just as the enslaved learned about a path to freedom by Follow[ing] the Drinking Gourd. 

Singing helps children hear the sounds that make up words.  



  • Sing the A-B-C song, nursery rhymes, funny songs or any songs you like. 
  • Clap to the rhythm. 
  • Clap to mark the number of syllables.  
    See video
  • Sing songs in any language.  
    See video
  • Singing is a powerful way to connect you and your child to the world’s cultures.



Download kid friendly music from HOOPLA


  • Sing as you do everyday things together, such as making breakfast or going to the store. 
  • Sing “If you’re happy and you know it, wash your hands” while scrubbing for the recommended 20 seconds. 

Is there a favorite song you remember from your childhood?

Early Learning - TALK

All children, no matter how young, listen to people talk. It is how they learn new words and begin to understand the world around them.


  • Talk with your child as you go about your day: making food, walking around the neighborhood, getting ready for bed, any time. 
  • You can add to their vocabulary when you respond to what your child says. If your toddler says “truck,” you can say, “We saw a big green truck today.” 

  • You can respond to babbling or even silence.

  • Use new words. If your child says “banana,” you can say, “Do you want a banana? That’s very healthy food.” 

  • Talk in the language most comfortable for you. Babies’ growing brains can easily learn more than one language.  



from DEMCO

  • Ask “what if” questions as you walk outside. What if it never got dark? What if there were no birds? 
  • Go for a walk with your child and point to all of the circles that you see.
  • Point to an object and ask your child to say the name for it and a word that rhymes with it.
  • Cut out pictures from magazines and have your child practice matching the pictures to the letter sound you say. “B, b-b-b-b-b.”
  • Ask your child to compare objects around the house. Which is smaller? Which is longer?
  • Tell your child a story about something funny that happened to you when you were young.
  • Emphasize the beginning sounds in words. “Let’s eat a p-pp-peach!”
  • After your child tells a story, ask questions to get more details.




The National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has prepared resources to track developmental milestones.

The most important time for a child’s development is the first 5 years of life. If you have questions or concerns about your child’s development, learning, or behavior, reach out to Help Me Grow. Getting support is crucial to ensure your child reaches their optimal development.

Early Learning - READ



  • Read with your child every day.

    It's not important what you read. The time you spend together will help your children develop a love of reading.  
    Talk about the story as you read.  If you're waiting for your holds to be ready for pick up at the library, a magazine, photo album or brochures will do.
  • Talk about the pictures or make up your own story. 

  • It’s okay to read just a little bit of a book.  Try board books, the pages are sturdy so you don't have to worry about your baby ripping any pages. We want children to play with their books.

  •  You don’t even have to read. You can just talk about the pictures.  

  • You are your child's first teacher,  let them see you like reading too.   

  • Words are everywhere: on store fronts, bus stops, and cereal boxes. Show these words to your child. 



(from Demco

  • September 1st is World Primate Day. Read about monkeys 

  • Sit with your child on your lap and point to the words in a simple picture book as you read them.  

  • Read a wordless picture book together, such as Journey by Aaron Becker. Have your child make up the words to the story. 

  • When you’re reading a story together, pause when something is about to happen and say, “I wonder what’s going to happen next.” Give your child time to think and respond. 

  • Read together, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin  or any other book with repetitive text. Repetition is key when mastering new skills.





September is library card sign up month. Get your child their own card 
Any California resident is eligible to get an Oakland Public Library card. 

Check out recommended reads for babies, toddlers and preschoolers.


Watch OPL Staff share storytime on YouTube 


What books does your child enjoy? 

Going Back to School with OPL

How to Get a Library Card  

While the library is closed, please complete an online application and email to set up a *NEW* account. To reset your PIN, please either request a PIN reset online (the account must have a valid email address) or contact library staff at 

 *If your student has had an Oakland Public Library card  and can't find it, they do not need to submit an application. You will get an error message if you try to complete an online application.  You can email OR call  510.238.3134. to retrieve the library card number.  

Teacher Cards will also be processed online.


Schedule Virtual Class Visits  

Please contact the Children's Librarian at your local branch. You can email if you don't know your local Children's Librarian. 


Homework Help

  • - trusted resource for students and adult learners that offers live and FREE one-on-one tutoring in a variety of subjects. 

  • Pandemic Professors - free tutoring for K-12 students provided by college students and recent graduates 

  • Khan Academy- offers practice exercises, instructional videos, and a personalized learning dashboard for all ages to study at their own pace 

Family Paths has a Parenting Support Helpline:1-800-829-3777  because we know navigating school at home can be stressful .


Get Books @ Sidewalk Pick up  

We encourage families to place holds on library materials (en Español) for pick up at the following locations: 

WiFi Connection


How to Videos

Back to School Survival Guide: KTVU

Oakland Public Librarian Sally Englefried on how the public library is helping families find resources for their students as back to school season has arrived.


Monday, August 10 is also the first day to collect a Summer Reading Prize book

This year’s Kids' Summer Reading GRAND PRIZES are 17 Chromebook laptops. Raffle winners will be drawn and notified after August 31st 


#OPLSummer Reading Logs & Prize Books

Thank you for joining us for Summer Reading 2020, the official end date is August 1st.  In a pre-COVID world, we would be celebrating on Sunday at the Oakland Museum. We miss seeing you at the library and hope to say hello at the Summer Prize pick up locations.

Prize book pick-up will take place: 

If you are not registered in Beanstack, please return your summer reading logs to your local library drop box August 1-22, 2020. 


This year’s Kids' Summer Reading grand prizes are 17 Chromebook laptops. Raffle winners will be drawn and notified after August 31st


We invite you to look back at a few highlights from our Summer Programming.

  • Family Pride: 

    See video

  • Yoga with Misty: 

    See video

  • Cascada de Flores: 

    See video

Looking ahead, as you prepare to go "back to school", please remember our learning support resources are available 365 days a year. 

 To sign up for a library card, please complete an online application. For questions about your account or to reach an OPL reference librarian, please email or leave a voicemail at 510-238-3134. 

Your Oakland Public Library empowers all people to explore, connect, and grow.

#OPLSummer Week 9: Nature Close at Hand


We are pleased to present Morgan Guenther from East Bay Regional Park District with this week's activities: 

  • Animals in Action: 
    See video

    We all are animals! Join in as we hop, crawl, fly, and scuttle with the East Bay Regional Park District and pretend to be some of the animals found in our local parks.
  • Banana Slugs: 
    See video

    Discover the slimy secrets of the Banana slug! Join the East Bay Regional Park District as we take a closer look at this small but mighty superhero of the redwood forest found right here in Oakland. 
  • Habitat Sing-A-Long:  
    See video

    Sing along with Naturalist Morgan from the East Bay Regional Park District as we travel from habitat to habitat in Oakland - from the San Francisco Bay to the redwood forest, to the river, the marsh and more.
  • Scavenger Hunt: 
    See video

    It’s time to head outside! Explore Lake Temescal with Naturalist Morgan, download the “Nature Nearby” scavenger hunt, and find a spot of nature to explore with your friends and family yourself. Oakland has lots of nature to explore, from your own neighborhood to the East Bay Regional Park District! 


Let us know what you find along your walk by sharing your photos online using the #OPLSummer hashtag. 

If you have questions about Summer Reading email OR you can leave a voice mail with your full name and details at 510-238-3134.

Keep reading! We have ebooks, eaudiobooks, and more, you can browse OverdriveHooplaTumblebookRB Digital, and all of our other online resources.