Newton Public Library's summer reading program is scheduled for June 1 through July 31 this year.
"Everything's free," said Amy Bayes, head of children's services. "We would just love to have everybody come."
With its theme, "A Universe of Stories," many of the activities planned for children and teens have an outer space theme.
Children under age 12 will receive a reading ticket each week with a variety of activities listed on it. If they complete five of the suggested activities on the ticket, they can turn it in for a prize.
"They can bring one a week and we have a whole box of prizes," Bayes said. "It's all space stuff this year."
Those who complete four tickets earn a pass to the Library Pool Party Aug. 4. Those who finish six or more tickets will win a T-shirt or other prize.
Some of the summer reading programs are already filled, Bayes said, but there are still spots available for preschool storytime (for those ages 3 to 5) at 10:30 a.m. on Thursdays and toddler storytime (for children ages 6 months through 2 years) at 9:30 a.m. on Fridays over the summer.
No signup is required for children who wish to attend Family Fun Nights, held at 7 p.m. each Monday. The Family Fun Nights, geared toward children ages 3 to 8 years old, will alternate between performances by Bayes and Jon Duerksen's Barn Yard Puppet Theatre and space-themed make and take projects.
"I have a variety so that I have crafts for 3-year-olds as well as the older kids, too," Bayes said.
Family Time Fun — which is also open to all — will take place at 1:30 p.m. each Wednesday. This year's lineup of entertainment features returning favorites like Mad Science, Kansas Cosmosphere and Flights of Fancy Comedy Fun. New this year are juggler Jason D'Vaude and the Japanese drum group Three Trails Takio.
"The kids are going to get to play on the drums, so I'm excited for that," Bayes said.
Teen readers can attend a kickoff party and make a planet pinata while snacking on chips and salsa at 7 p.m. May 29.
Sharon Cepeda, assistant supervisor of children's services, said teens will have bingo cards to complete during Summer Reading.
"Some of the squares say, 'read one hour,' but there are also things like 'play a board game,' 'take a walk,' or 'watch a movie based on a book,' " Cepeda said.
After finishing three cards, they get to pick a free book; five cards earns them a Pool Party ticket and seven cards can be turned in for an invitation to a pizza party on Aug. 6 and a $10 gift card to a local restaurant.
"I have McDonald's, Wendy's, Back Alley Pizza and Taco Bell," Cepeda said.
Children ages 10 to 18 can sign up to be part of the Spokes Learning Festivals, with students from MIT stopping by on July 3 and Stanford sending students to the library on July 29.
The library will continue its craft and gaming times for teens from 4 to 5:30 p.m. each Monday. Activities will differ each week and include chalk art, duct tape crafts and STEAM electronics.
"You don't have to be signed up for the reading program to attend those," Cepeda said.
A free space-themed movie for teens will be shown at 3 p.m. on June 1, June 22, July 6 and July 20. Snacks will be provided as well.
The library will host a celebration commemorating 50 years since the Apollo moon landing with a party at 1:30 p.m. July 20. Teens can make and launch paper airplanes and bottle rockets, followed by a movie and snacks.
Other special events for teens include building terrariums at 7 p.m. June 12 and cup building games and activities at 7 p.m. July 17.
The Breakfast Book Club meets at 10 a.m. on June 1 and July 6 for tweens; teens meet June 22 and July 20.
Participating in Summer Reading gives young readers several benefits.
"A lot of our activities are entertaining and it keeps up their reading skills over the summer," Cepeda said.
Newton Public Library is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday at 720 N. Oak St. For more information about the library and its programs, visit www.newtonplks.org or call 316-283-2690.