How much is it? Free
What age is it suitable for? Over 12 months.
Where is it? Various libraries across London.
London's home to a variety of libraries that offer rhyme time and baby/toddler sessions. These events provide an opportunity for your toddler to socialize with other young children while also developing important language and literacy skills. They're also a great way to get a head-start on building a reading habit and love of libraries in the future. Most are run on a first-come, first-served basis with no need to book, but makes sure you arrive early as they're often very full.
Artizan Street Library and Community Centre in the City of London offers a range of resources for the local community, including free rhyme time and stay and play sessions for children aged 12 months to five years. The sessions are run by trained library staff, and provide a fun and positive first experience of the library for young children. The stay and play session immediately follows the rhyme time session and runs for one hour, during which children can play with a wide range of toys and socialize with other children. These sessions not only help children develop social skills, but also provide an opportunity for parents to meet other parents.
Where: Artizan Street Library, City of London, E1 7AF
When: Thursdays from 10am
The Barbican Children's Library runs rhyme time sessions where your little one can learn songs and nursery rhymes, listen to stories, then stay and play with their toys.
Where: Barbican Library, Barbican Centre, London, EC2Y 8DS
When: Mondays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 10:45
Camberwell Library offers several sessions for toddlers, including baby and toddler sessions, rhyme time sessions, and Bookstart sessions. Baby and toddler sessions involve free play, singing, storytelling, and a simple craft activity and last between 45 and 90 minutes. Rhyme time sessions include singing, rhymes, rhythm, and movement and last between 30 and 60 minutes. Bookstart sessions include singing, educational play, storytelling, and a simple craft activity and last between 60 and 90 minutes.
Where: 48 Camberwell Green, Camberwell, SE5 7AL
Bookstart: Tuesdays during term time, 10am to 11am
Baby and toddler: Mondays during term time, 11am to 11.30am
Rhyme time: Fridays during term time, 11am to 11.30am
Clapton Library offers runs rhyme and story time sessions on Mondays, starting from the 28th February.
Where: Northwold Rd, London E5 8RA
When: Mondays 11am-12pm
Dalston CLR James Library
Rhyme and story time at Dalston Library takes place on Thursdays and Saturdays. The library is also home to a fantastic Library of Things for cheaper ways to clean, do DIY, bake, or make your own adventures.
Where: Dalston Square, London E8 3BQ
When: Thursdays and Saturdays 11am-12pm
Dulwich Library runs a variety of sessions suitable for toddlers over the age of 12 months. You can choose from story and colour time, rhyme time, and baby and toddler sessions.
Where: 368 Lordship Lane, SE22 8NB
Story and colour time: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 11am to 11.30am
Rhyme time: Wednesdays, 10,30am to 11am and every Thursday, 2.15pm to 2.45pm
Baby and toddler session: Thursdays, 10.30am to 11.30am
Grove Vale Library runs rhyme time sessions including rhythm, rhymes, movement, and singing for toddlers and children aged 12 months - 4 years.
Where: 18-22 Grove Vale, East Dulwich, London, SE22 8EF
When: Mondays during term time, 11-11:30am.
You can catch a rhyme and story time session at Homerton Library on Tuesdays. There's also a family film club every other Saturday.
Where: Homerton High St, London E9 6AS
When: Tuesdays 11am-12pm
John Harvard Library, on Borough High Street, has baby and toddler sessions as well as running the Bookstart programme through term time.
Where: 211 Borough High Street, London, SE1 1JA
Baby and toddler session: Mondays during term time, 10.30am to 11.30am
Bookstart: Thursdays during term time, 10.30am to 11.30am
Rhyme time at Kentish Town Library runs through term time on Mondays and Wednesdays.
Where: 262- 266 Kentish Town Road , NW5 2AA
When: Mondays and Wednesdays at 10:30am
While Peckham Library is closed for refurbishment, you can still find rhyme time and baby and toddler sessions at the temporary library. There's likely to be a new timetable when works are completed and the library re-opens in summer.
Where: 21-23 Bournemouth Road, London, SE15 4UJ
Rhymetime: Mondays 2pm to 2.30pm and Friday, 10.30am to 11am during term time
Baby and toddler session: Tuesdays during term time, 10.30am to 12pm
Kids love messy play - it's just a shame that you need to clean it up afterwards. Shoe Lane Library offers monthly messy play sessions where your little one can play with glitter, mud, paint, and glue, without treading it into your carpet.
Where: Hill House, London, EC4A 3JR
When: The last Thursday of the month (excluding Dec) at 10:30am.
This Elephant and Castle library offers rhyme time and baby and toddler sessions on Wednesdays and Fridays.
Where: 145-147 Walworth Road, London, SE17 1RW
Rhymetime: Wednesdays, 10.30am to 11.30am
Baby and toddlers session: Fridays during term time, 2.15pm to 3pm
Victoria Library in Westminster runs rhyme time sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but it's best to get in touch and book in advance rather than coming in.
Where: 160 Buckingham Palace Rd, London SW1W 9TR
When: Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10:30am
You can find baby rhyme time, story time, and stay and play sessions at the Woolwich Center Library. The best way to find sessions running through the week is to look at their online timetable.
Where: 35 Wellington St, London SE18 6HQ
Tip: It can be hard to find the sessions and information for your local library, especially if it's on the smaller side. Take a look at your council's website and they will often have a list of times and libraries, detailing the sessions like Camden's example here.