Books and Play

Books and play this summer with Twirl!

By amber thomas

Twirl is a play and discovery space located in Taos, New Mexico, and has a reputation for being a fun place to bring children.

But many don’t realize Twirl spends a majority of its time these days delivering fun interactive learning activities in science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) through community collaborations, in-school programs, and organization partnerships throughout Taos County at no cost to them.

Amber Thomas, Twirl instructor, leads the Word Play Program at Twirl. Courtesy Twirl Play & Discovery Place

Over the past year, Twirl has offered collaborative art and educational programs virtually to schools, libraries, and youth organizations in our community. Twirl also has hand-delivered over 2,000 themed art and activity kits to children throughout Taos since the pandemic began.

This summer Twirl will team up with regional public libraries to bring a fun interactive storytelling experience to children’s library summer reading programs across Northern New Mexico.

As always, our local libraries work hard to offer a summer reading program that encourages children, teens (and often adults!) to read over the summer. Twirl is always ready to help create activities that are not only educational, but also fun in order to support the summer reading program.

This summer, the summer reading program theme is “Tales and Tails.” With that in mind, Twirl’s Amber Vasquez will present a program based on trickster Tales from the American Southwest.

A trickster is a character in folktales who tend to be, well… tricky. These characters are selfish, witty, and good at bending the rules to get their way. They usually appear as animals with human traits. Children love trickster tales because they are often funny and entertaining, but the tales have been used by adult storytellers for generations to teach lessons about how to behave and how to treat others. Trickster tales are told all over the world in many different cultures, But the tales of Coyote that Twirl will be telling through acting and puppetry are traditional stories from the Zuni Tribe, one of our native cultures located right here in New Mexico.

Twirls’ Summer reading event will engage children through all their senses. They will be encouraged to look, listen, dance, and even sing. Along with the storytelling, children will be invited to experiment with STEAM challenges based on the Literary theme. And of course, the children will be introduced to the incredible intersections of world arts and local storytelling that come to life in this program.

As an advocate of early childhood literacy, Twirl believes that participating in a summer reading program with one’s children is incredibly beneficial for all sorts of reasons:

  • It encourages familiarity with reading.
  • It helps reluctant readers engage through literacy-supported activities.
  • Children develop positive attitudes about reading, books, and the library.
  • Children maintain their reading skills during summer vacation.
  • Children have access to experiences that further their sense of discovery.
  • Entire families have the opportunity to participate in age-appropriate literacy programs
  • Completion of a program gives children a sense of accomplishment and belonging.
  • It can be just plain fun and encourage important family time.

Because libraries are planning to open back up this summer, this program will be in person and held outdoors. however, please contact libraries directly for any updates or changes. Special attention will be given to social distancing protocols and COVID safe material handling. This program is best suited for children ages 3-8 but all ages are invited to explore with us how a great tricksters bragging and boasting lands himself in hot water. This event is free to participants and supplies will be provided. Space is limited due to COVID regulations. Registration is required. To register visit

Inside and out, Twirl is every kid’s dream come to life. Taos News file photo