But when stuffed animals sleep over, that requires some imagination—of which kids have plenty.
On Aug. 20, Canajoharie Free Library gave nine children—ages 2 1/2 to 9— a chance to find out what their favorite stuffed animals did for fun while the youths were sleeping.
The children were prepped doing crafts and listening to picture-book stories in the adjoining Arkell Museum. In turn, the children were asked the animal’s name and favorite color and bedtime story. “I picked stories that had animals coming to life and had secret things happen at night when no one was around,” said Mary Alexander, curator of education and public engagement. “They’re having adventures that are unlikely. We did this to enliven the imagination in kids.”
The pets included bears, Snoopy and other dogs, a unicorn, a mouse and an eel.
One puppy was a bit ragged and missing eyes. “This kid had dragged the puppy around for its whole life,” Alexander said.
The kids tucked their animals in for the night at 6 p.m. and came back the next day to be surprised at what was going on while they were gone.
“All of the children seemed to really love it,” Alexander said. They were surprised by what the animals did overnight when they saw photos of them reading books, playing board games, having tea parties, and various other human-like activities. The library provided photos of the antics. Every kid got about eight photos.
“It was fun to see their reactions the next day,” she said. “The kids were surprised.”
“I had no idea my bear played the piano,” one 7-year-old told the adults.
The event was part of the library’s summer reading program on the theme “A Universe of Stories,” during which children got small prizes and raffle tickets based on the number of books read.
In late June, the library brought in Utica Zoo’s mobile unit with a star tortoise, lizard, frog, two ferrets and a chinchilla—with an endangered species theme.
“The kids were just over the moon,” Alexander said. “They were squirming in their seats to see what came out of the boxes.”
“It’s cool to see animals and listen to someone who cares a lot about them.”
The library plans a party from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday to end the summer reading program, at which the children will bring in their final reading logs.