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Baltimore Barnes & Noble bookstores offer free, fun activities for kids

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Baltimore area stay-at-home moms looking for a few hours of free fun for the kids, don't have to look further than their local Barnes & Noble bookstore. The chain bookstore offers a variety of entertainment and learning opportunities for kids.

The most obvious is the scheduled storytime that happens weekly at most Baltimore-area Barnes & Noble stores. Story times include singing, storytelling, and interaction with other children.  The sessions are short enough (usually 30 minutes) that even young toddlers won't lose interest, especially when songs are added to the mix. Most stores offer one storytime on a weekday morning; some have a second story time scheduled on Saturday or Sunday as well. Check you local Barnes & Noble stores' calendar of events for more information. (Tip: You can check online, but it's also a good idea to call since some Barnes & Noble stores don't keep their calendars up-to-date. For example, the White Marsh store has a children's story time on Monday and Friday at 10:30, but it's not listed.)

Even if you can't make story time because it conflicts with nap time or picking up an older child from school, the children's area at Barnes & Noble stores is worth a visit. It's set up for exploration and learning even if you don't end up buying anything. Children are free to grab a book off the shelf and read it in the store. There are plenty of stuffed animals, puppets, and other reading-related toys that your child will find interesting and that will help nurture their love of reading.

As an added bonus, some Barnes & Noble stores, including the White Marsh store at The Avenue, offer specific play areas. The White Marsh location has a good size table-top Thomas the Tank Engine train set that several children can play with. It's a great place for kids to interact, learn to share (you can have one train car, but Alex would like to play with the engine), and moms can meet other area moms.

What child-friendly activities have you found at unexpected places around Baltimore? Share your finds by leaving a comment below. 

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