Dayton Metro Library’s Summer Challenge offers free online programs and performances

This April 9, 2020, photo released by Kara Illig shows her son, Eli Illig, 10, on his computer in Ebensburg, Pa. The frustration of parents is mounting as more families across the U.S. enter their second or even third week of total distance learning, and some say it will be their last. (Kara Illig via AP)

Credit: Kara Illig

Credit: Kara Illig

The Dayton Metro Library is offering a number of family-friendly online concerts and events for free viewing on Facebook, as part of their 2020 Summer Challenge, "Imagine Your Story." These featured performances can be viewed for 24 hours from the premier dates and times noted, at

“These wonderful performers were all set to visit our Libraries in person this summer before the governor’s stay-at-home orders went into place,” said Mandie Burns, Director of Youth Services for the Library. “Now, they’ll entertain children with fun, creative performances online — and watching them can be counted toward Summer Challenge goals.”

Westwood kindergarten student Ricky Johnson looks through his selected ten books during the schools’ book giveaway event Thursday. The last day of school is the first day of battle against the notorious summer slide, which is when children’s reading skills deteriorate during summer vacation because of a lack of reading. But local groups collected and distributed 28,000 books to Dayton Public School children this week. New efforts to fight the summer slide include a Dayton Metro Library program that allows children to get library cards even when their parents have suspended accounts. Summer slide impacts poor children, and widens the achievement gap considerably. But community groups are fighting back.JIM WITMER/STAFF



In addition to these special performances, the Children Services Librarians are posting new activities, challenges, story times, reading recommendations and more on DML's Summer Challenge Facebook Group, which is open to anyone who wants to join. A new schedule of activities for all ages, from infants through teenagers, will be posted each Monday at 2 p.m. at

Get additional details on both programs below:

Dayton Metro Library’s Summer Challenge runs June 1 - Aug. 1

Children of all ages can earn prizes as they keep track of activities such as:

  • Reading (including eBooks, eAudiobooks and eComics)
  • Watching educational programs and the library's virtual programs
  • Participating in online challenges
  • Volunteering, helping neighbors or doing chores
  • Completing suggested activities from DML or community organizations
  • Doing hands-on learning of any kind
Family events happening in AprilEach month we put together a list of events for families. Check out what’s coming to museums, movie theaters, stages, libraries and more near you.EventsAutism Ride/Run. Bike 9, 24, 42 or 68 miles or run/walk a 5k. Plus educational books and activities after. 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 2. Georgetown High School, 2211 N. Austin Ave., Georgetown. Race entrance fees vary. texasautismsociety.orgDomain Northside Kids. Come to the lawn at the Domain Northside for activities for kids 18 months to 6 years old. Free. 10 a.m.-noon April 5. Starry Nights. See the indoor planetarium. Free. 5:30 p.m. April 6. GirlStart, 1400 W. Anderson Lane. Cultures Storytime: Tom Thumb tales from Asia. With a treasure hunt and story time. 10 a.m. April 7. Asian American Resource Center, 8401 Cameron Road. Children’s Medical Center 5K and Family Fun Fair. With fun health information booths and activities. 7:45 a.m. to 11 a.m. April 8. 4900 Mueller Blvd. in STEM Conference. A day filled with science, technology, engineering and math activities from GirlStart. $35. 10 a.m. April 22. Travis High School, 1211 E. Oltorf St. in the Garden: Faeries, pollinators and their wildflowers. Learn about pollinators, wildflowers and magical faeries. $2 adults, $1 children 3-12. 1-4 p.m. April 23. 2220 Barton Springs Road. zilkergarden.orgMonster Jam. Seriously big trucks crush other trucks. 7 p.m. April 22, 1 p.m. April 23. $15-$35. Erwin Center, 1701 Red River St. uterwincenter.comDragon Boat Festival. See the dragon boats race in this 2,000-year-old Chinese tradition. 9 a.m. April 29. Festival Beach, 2101 Jesse E. Segovia St. at the Park: Family Play Day. Join the YMCA for activities. Free. 10 a.m. April 29. Mueller Lake Park, 4550 Mueller Blvd.“Never Grow Up: A Disney Art Show.” Mondo Gallery presents this show April 28-May 13. Opening reception, 3-10 p.m. April 28. “Mondo Clubhouse” Kids Party, 10 a.m. to noon April 29. Mondo Gallery, 4115 Guadalupe St. Flashlight Easter Egg Hunt. 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. April 7. Dottie Jordan Recreation Center, 2803 Loyola Lane.Dove Springs Recreation Center Easter Eggstravaganza. For toddlers to age 12. Free. 10 a.m. to noon April 8. 5801 Ainez Drive.Community Easter Egg Hunt. 10 a.m. to noon April 8. $1 a child. Metz Recreation Center, 2407 Canterbury St.Search for the Lost Eggs. Noon April 8. Free. Dittmar Recreation Center, 1009 W. Dittmar Road.Bunny Bonanza. For toddlers to 5-year-olds. $2.50 per child. 10:30 a.m. April 12. Northwest Recreation Center, 2913 Northland Drive.Huston-Tillotson Easter Egg Hunt. Free. 4 p.m. April 13. 900 Chicon St. Easter Camp. Ages 5-12. 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m. April 14. $20. Givens Recreation Center, 3811 E. 12th St.Toddler Egg Hunt. Toddlers to age 4. Free. 11 a.m. April 14. Gus Garcia Recreation Center, 1201 E. Rundberg Lane.Givens Easter Egg Hunt. For ages 4-12. Free. Noon-3 p.m April 14. Givens Recreation Center, 3811 E. 12th St.Spring Eggstravaganza Event. 10 a.m. to noon. April 15. South Austin Recreation Center, 1100 Cumberland Road.Theater“Junie B’s Essential Survival Guide to School.” Barbara Park’s character comes to life. $12-$15. Noon April 1. One World Theatre, 7701 Bee Cave Road.“Elephant and Piggie: We Are in a Play!” The Mo Willems story comes to the stage. 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through April 30. 11 a.m. Saturdays. $16-$21. Zach Theatre’s Kleberg Theatre, 1421 W. Riverside Drive.“Jungle Book Jangal Ki Kahani.” Enjoy the original “Jungle Book” Bollywood style. $8-$12. 11 a.m. April 1-2, 8-9, 15, 22-23, 29-30. Scottish Rite Theater, 207 W. 18th St.“Love that Dog.” A play about a boy who hates poetry, but with the help of his teacher and his dog, he learns to love it. 3 p.m. April 9. $16. Paramount Theatre, 713 Congress Ave.“The Imaginators.” Austin Playhouse presents a story of a make-believe adventure, monster included. Free, but make reservations. 2 p.m. April 15 and 22, noon April 21. Austin Playhouse at Austin Community College’s Highland Campus., 6001 Airport Blvd.“JJ’s Arcade.” Zach Theater and Teatro Vivo present this play about a boy who builds an arcade out of leftover cardboard. For ages 7 and up. 7 p.m. Fridays, 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays except April 30, April 14 through May 7. 2 p.m. April 29 sign-language-interpreted and sensory-friendly performance. $13-$15. Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center, 600 River St.“All Aboard.” Pollyanna Theater presents this story for children 18 months to 4 years old about everything on wheels. 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. April 1, April 4-8. $6.50. The Long Center, 701 W. Riverside Drive. thelongcenter.orgMuseumsBullock Museum. H-E-B Free First Sunday: Texas Tunes. Celebrate Texas music with hands-on activities. Noon-5 p.m. April 2. Living History Days. Texas historical figures wander the museum. 10 a.m. April 6. Little Texans. For ages 2-5. 10 a.m. April 13. Science Thursdays. Hands-on activities from Central Texas Discover Engineering including boat races. 10 a.m. April 20. Story time. For ages 2 to 5. 10 a.m. April 27. Bullock Museum, 1800 N. Congress Ave. thestoryoftexas.comNeill-Cochran House Museum. Sunday Funday: Simple Machines. Learn about simple machines and make some. 1-4 p.m. April 2. Free. Neill-Cochran House, 2310 San Gabriel St. nchmuseum.orgThinkery. Little Thinkers Club: Art Start: Upcycle! 9:45 a.m. Wednesdays for 1-year-olds, 10:45 a.m. Wednesdays for 2-year-olds through May 24. $20 per class. Tinkering Tots: Mini Music Makers! 9:45 a.m. Fridays for 2-year-olds; 10:45 a.m. Fridays for 3-year-olds through May 26. $20 a class. Baby Bloomers for kids infant to 3. Study the the sky. 9 a.m. Mondays and Saturdays. Special guests throughout the month. $5. Get Pumped! For ages 4 and up. Learn about the circulatory system. 11:15 a.m., 1:15 p.m., 3:15 p.m. April 1-2, April 14-16, April 29-30. $8. Seed Surprises. Ages 4 and up. Make your own seed-spreading devices. 11:15 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. April 8-9, April 22-23. $8. Biomes in a Bottle. Ages 8 and up. Engineer a seed. 3:15 a.m. April 8-9, April 22-23, $8. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. thinkeryaustin.orgContemporary Austin. For the Birds. Celebrate birds, make art and play games. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. April 8. Free. Laguna Gloria, 3809 W. 35th St. Teen Create: Rooftop Justus. Make art inspired by sculpture. 6-9 p.m. April 7. Jones Center, 700 Congress Ave. Young Artists Portfolio Celebration. See what young artists are doing. 3-4 p.m. April 29, Jones Center, 700 Congress Ave. thecontemporaryaustin.orgHill Country Science Mill. Homeschool Day. See special demonstrations. April 12. Hill Country Science Mill, 101 S. Lady Bird Lane, Johnson City. sciencemill.orgTexas Museum of Science & Technology. Wee-Searchers for children 5 and younger. Learn about science through song, play and stories. 9 a.m. April 12 and April 26. Science Saturday: Earth Day. Learn more about ecology. Noon-4 p.m. April 22. Star Party. Look at the stars. 8 p.m. April 7, 14, 21, 28. Texas Museum of Science & Technology, 1220 Toro Grande Drive, Cedar Park. txmost.orgUmlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum. Family Day. Celebrate Zilker Park at 100. 10-4 p.m. April 9. Free. Kids Kraft Eco Arts. 9 a.m. April 22 kindergarten through second grade; 11 a.m. April 22 third through fifth grade. $15. Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum, 605 Robert E. Lee Road. umlaufsculpture.orgWildflower Center. Sprouts. Hands-on preschool program. 10 a.m. Wednesdays and Fridays. Nature Play Hour. Play in the Family Garden. 11 a.m. Saturdays. Birds that Boogie. Learn more about birds. 1 p.m.-3 p.m. April 2. Free. Botanical Art Drawing. For budding artists ages 10 and up. 9 a.m. to noon. April 14. $40. Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave. wildflower.orgAustin Nature Day: Bees and Trees. Free. 9 a.m. to noon April 22. Austin Nature & Science Center, 2389 Stratford Drive. in the Park: “Batman Returns,” 8 p.m. April 6, Pease Park; “FernGully,” 8:30 p.m. April 20, Palm Park.“The Wizard of Oz” Movie Party. 3:45 p.m. April 8, noon April 9, Alamo Drafthouse, Slaughter Lane. 7 p.m. April 8-9, Alamo Drafthouse Lakeline.“Jurassic Park” Movie Party. 6:45 p.m. April 11, Alamo Drafthouse Ritz; 7:45 p.m. April 19 and 7:15 p.m. April 25, Slaughter Lane; 7 p.m. April 25, Lakeline. drafthouse.comPBS Kids “Explore the Outdoors.” With an episode of “Wild Kratts.” Noon April 22-23, Alamo Drafthouse Lakeline; 10:30 a.m. April 22-23, Slaughter Lane. drafthouse.comBooksBookPeople events. Cynthia Leonor Garza reads “Lucía the Luchadora,” 11:30 a.m. April 1; Drew Daywalt reads “The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors,” 6 p.m. April 7; Cinda Williams Chima reads “Shadowcaster,” 2 p.m. April 8; Dan Hanna reads “Pout Pout Fish Far from Home,” 11:30 a.m. April 9; Kelly Jensen reads “Here We Are,” 5 p.m. April 9; Andy Griffiths reads “The 65-Story Treehouse,” 6 p.m. April 12; Margaret Petersen Haddix reads “In Over Their Heads,” 7 p.m. April 19; Chelsea Clinton reads “It’s Your World,” 6:30 p.m. April 22. Amy Jackson reads “Cassandra and the Night Sky,” 3 p.m. April 23; Liz Garton Scanlon and Audrey Vernick read “Bob, Not Bob!” noon April 22; Adam Bray and Tricia Barr “Star Wars The Visual Encyclopedia,” 6 p.m. April 26. Story times: “Not Quite Narwhal” giveaway story time, 10:30 a.m. April 4; Baby Signs, 10:30 a.m. April 5; Mary Sullivan, 11:30 a.m. April 8; Poets Who Know It, 10:30 a.m. April 11; Ms. Staci Gray, 10:30 a.m. April 12; “Happy Birthday Larry” giveaway story time, 11:30 a.m. April 15; Armstrong Community Music School, 10:30 a.m. April 18; Tiny Tails Petting Zoo, 10:30 a.m. April 19; Pets are the Best, 11:30 a.m. April 22; Preposterous Puppet Show Players, 10:30 a.m. April 25; Chakra Kids story time yoga, 10:30 a.m. April 26; Feminist Baby giveaway story time, 11:30 a.m. April 29. BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd. bookpeople.comBarnes & Noble Events: Cathy Nickell reads “Arthur Zarr’s Amazing Art Car,” 1 p.m. April 9, Arboretum. Saturday story times at all locations: Celebration of “Beauty and the Beast,” April 1; “The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors,” April 8; “Too Many Carrots,” April 15; “We are Dinosaurs,” April 22; “The Wonderful Things You will Be,” April 29.At the libraryBadgerdog Writing Workshop. 10:15 a.m. April 1, Twin Oaks Branch, Yarborough Branch.Bow Wow Reading with Bonnie the Dog. 11:30 a.m. April 1, April 8, April 15, April 22, April 29, Yarborough Branch. Read to Aussie! 3:30 p.m. April 13, North Village Branch.Saturday Family Movie “Moana.” 2 p.m. April 1, Windsor Park Branch. “The Magnificent Seven.” 2 p.m. April 8, University Hills Branch. “Sully.” 2 p.m. April 15, University Hills Branch. “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.” 2 p.m. April 22, University Hills Branch. “Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens.” 2 p.m. April 29, University Hills Branch.2 O’Clock Tunes: The Southsiders featuring Marcus Tharpe. 2 p.m. April 1. Twin Oaks Branch.Crafternoon. 3:30 p.m. April 3, Manchaca Road Branch; 3 p.m. April 6, Carver Branch; 4 p.m. April 13, Twin Oaks Branch; 3:30 p.m. April 18, Howson Branch; 4 p.m. April 18, Cepeda Branch; 3 p.m. April 25, Terrazas Branch; 4 p.m. April 25, Windsor Park Branch.Literature Live! Presents “Little Peep.” 4 p.m. April 3, Howson Branch; 10:30 a.m. April 6, Willie Mae Kirk Branch; 11 a.m. April 8, Ruiz Branch; 6 p.m. April 10, Carver Branch; 3:30 p.m. April 13, Pleasant Hill Branch, 1 p.m. April 15, Recycled Reads Bookstore.The Contemporary Austin Presents: Preschool Art Hour. 11 a.m. April 4, Cepeda Branch.Sew Happy. 5 p.m. April 4, Manchaca Road Branch.Learn Computer Coding. 6 p.m. April 4, April 11, April 18, Carver Branch.Art Smart: Rain Art. 6:30 p.m. April 4, Willie Mae Kirk Branch. Drawing Dragons. April 11. Green Man Leaf Art. April 18. Celtic Sun. April 25.Music & Movement. 3:30 p.m. April 5, Hampton Branch; 11 a.m. April 6, Howson Branch; 11 a.m. April 7, Milwood Branch; 11:30 a.m. April 12, Manchaca Road Branch; 11 a.m. April 27, Howson Branch.Million Mile Month 2017. 3:30 p.m. April 6, Southeast Branch; 3:30 p.m. April 12, Windsor Park Branch; 3:30 p.m. April 20, North Village Branch; 3:30 p.m. April 25, Milwood Branch.Hogwarts Spring Training Camps: Magic Maker Fair. For ages 7 and up. 5 p.m. April 6, Yarborough Branch. Advanced Potions. 5 p.m. April 13, Yarborough Branch. Hogwarts Sports. 5 p.m. April 20, Yarborough Branch. Magical Creatures. 5 p.m. April 27, Yarborough Branch.Made with Code. 1 p.m. April 8, Manchaca Road Branch. 1 p.m. April 29, Terrazas Branch.Austin Ukestra Ukulele Group. 1 p.m. April 9, Recycled Reads Bookstore.Storybook Dance Making. 2 p.m. April 9, Recycled Reads Bookstore.Free Play Gaming. 3 p.m. Terrazas Branch.Family Movie Night: Pete’s Dragon. 6:30 p.m. Twin Oaks Branch. “Field of Dreams.” 2 p.m. April 14, Old Quarry Branch. “The Lorax.” 3 p.m. April 18, Terrazas Branch. TBD. 5:30 p.m. April 26, Carver Branch.NBTween Book Club: “Lockwood & Co.: The Screaming Staircase. 4 p.m. April 12, Howson Branch; “Finding Winnie,” 6 p.m. April 19, Yarborough Branch. “When the Sea Turned Silver.” 6 p.m. April 20, Twin Oaks Branch. “Goodbye Stranger.” 6 p.m. April 26, Spicewood Springs BranchTeen Manga Book Club 5:30 p.m. April 13, Little Walnut Creek Branch.Teen Book Club. “Code Name Verity.” 6:30 p.m. April 13, Spicewood Springs Branch. “Island of the Blue Dolphins.” 7 p.m. April 13, Yarborough Branch. “Snow White.” 6:30 p.m. Howson Branch.T(w)een STEAM Lab. For ages 7 and up. 3 p.m. April 19, Carver Branch.Mother Daughter Book Club. “Where the Mountain Meets the Moon.” 6 p.m. April 19, Hampton Branch.Juntos Online Tech Scavenger Hunt. 2 p.m. April 20, Carver Branch.Perler Bead Palooza. 3 p.m. April 22, Faulk Central Library.Edible Austin Children’s Picnic. 1 p.m. April 23, Rosewood Park.Open Mic Night. 1 p.m. April 29, Carver Branch.Pecan Street Brass. 4 p.m. April 30, Recycled Reads Bookstore.

Families are encouraged to register and keep track of activities online at, or call the Library's Ask Me Line at 937-463-2665 to register and report their progress. All participants who reach 3,600 minutes will be entered into grand prize drawings that will be held at each branch library location.

Grand prizes are a college savings account made possible through Ohio’s College Advantage/Ohio’s 529 Plan (for children Kindergarten and younger only), or a family 4-Pack of tickets to Kings Island valid through 2020, including Halloween, Christmas and New Year events.

The Huber Heights branch of the Dayton Metro Library held Tadpole Tales Tuesday March 16, 2010. Tadpole Tales is a program that asks parents to read stories to their children along with songs and crafts. The program is for children 2 to 3 years old and meets on Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 10;30 a.m. thru April 27, 2010.

Credit: Jim Noelker

Credit: Jim Noelker

Featured Family Programs on DML’s Facebook Page:


Monday, June 8, 10 a.m. (Recommended for ages 4-12)

Retell a classic story with the help of sound effects. This workshop shows children how to create their own percussion instruments and make sound effects out of household objects.


Monday, June 22, noon (Recommended for ages 5 & younger)

Part sing-along, part storytelling, this musical performance is designed to entertain preschoolers and toddlers.

Photo illustration of a child looking at a computer screen.

Credit: alphalight1 /

Credit: alphalight1 /


Monday, June 29, 10 a.m.  (Especially for preschoolers & families)

Did you know that books could sing? Singer/storyteller Joanie Calem acts out stories using puppets and pantomime, and sings along with picture books.


Monday, July 6, 10 a.m. (Especially for preschoolers & families)

Children will be taken on a story journey featuring creatures from all over the world. They’ll meet magical dragons in China and wish-granting fish from Finland, and lots more.


Tuesdays & Thursdays, 11 a.m. through June (Past episodes can be viewed anytime.)

Mister C conducts sometimes crazy, always entertaining STEM-based experiments for students of all ages. His adventures are presented by Dayton Metro Library and ThinkTV, Dayton’s PBS station.

Mister C tests an experiment from his home kitchen set. Contributed photo

For more information visit or call the Library's Ask Me Line at 937-463-2665.

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