Kick off Your Summer of Wonder With a Week of Play!

By Emily S. RSS Wed, May 31, 2023

It’s that wondrous time of year again when the sun heats up, the spray parks open, and the books come out! We’re talking about the Summer of Wonder, of course. What started over a century ago as a week-long reading challenge has since transformed into a summertime tradition in our city. With children’s passports to track reading and playful learning activities, teen and adult raffle cards, and events happening at our neighborhood libraries all summer long, there is something for everyone, everywhere.

This year our in-person Summer of Wonder will take place from June 5 - August 11. Come to your neighborhood library to sign up. We can’t wait to see you there!

Celebrate the Summer of Wonder’s first annual Week of Play from June 5 - 10. Each neighborhood library will participate in a playful learning event or activity crafted by our librarians just for you. Anticipate snake parties and ceramics, culinary workshops and circus moves, jewelry-making and chess games, storytimes, music, and much more.

The week will culminate in our biggest kick-off celebration, to be held at Cecil B. Moore Library on Saturday, June 10, 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. Come out and enjoy it with the whole family! Start your summer off right with Summer of Wonder and library card sign-up, face painting, balloon animals, tasty treats, creative crafts, and summer prizes. Join us for an art project with the Philadelphia Museum of Art, or refresh your knowledge of Hip Hop Fundamentals. The event will feature appearances from Free Library President Kelly Richards, storyteller "Mama Carla" Wiley, and others.

Our online Summer Reading Challenge will run from June 5 - August 31. Register online with Beanstack and/or download the free app for iOS and Android devices. To learn more, visit

Read on for a little sneak preview of what to look forward to during the summer months. 


Summer of Wonder Beanstack promo image



We’ll be celebrating Pride Month with in-person activities for all ages and a Pride Month Virtual Activity Adventure online. You’ll also find Juneteenth celebrations, crafts and performers galore, and plenty of additional Summer of Wonder kick-off celebrations at neighborhood libraries.


July is the time to inspire curiosity. In partnership with the Franklin Institute, select Free Library locations will host Science in the Summer, a fun, free, drop-in STEM program that aims to inspire the next generation of scientists! This year’s theme is Be A Physicist, and young scientists will explore different aspects of physics, with options to try on careers as a Laser Scientist, Sound Engineer, Accident Investigator, and more. This program is geared toward students entering grades 2 - 6. Programming will continue through August. Stay tuned to our events calendar for details. If you prefer to do your exploration virtually, join our Science is Everywhere Virtual Activity Adventure online!


Get your creative wheels turning as the summer winds down. Join the Children’s Department at Parkway Central for their Month of Buses, a series of Thursdays in August offering activities on wheels. Visitors will include the Tri-State Gamerz Mobile Video Game Theater, the Traveling Treehouse Bookmobile, Jumpstart Philadelphia, and the chance to paint the art bus with The Doodlery Art. All month long, you can join us online for the Write a Super Graphic Novel! Virtual Activity Adventure.

Stay tuned to the Free Library events calendar for more fun all summer long! Explore the Summer Hub to keep up with everything going on at Youth Services, including activity ideas, Read Aloud guides, Camp Challenge resources, and more.

What are you most looking forward to, or what would you love to see at the Free Library this summer? Let us know in the comments below.

Have a question for Free Library staff? Please submit it to our Ask a Librarian page and receive a response within two business days.

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Happy summer
Nigina - Philadelphia Pennsylvania 19116
Friday, June 9, 2023