Are you looking for some fun things to do with your kids but are short on funds? I have been there so many weekends! Want to know what my favorite “go to” place for new ideas is. . .The Library!
Now not all libraries are the same but many have the same services that my local library has. So bear with me, I apologize if your library doesn’t offer these services if they do I encourage you to check them out if you haven’t already!
#1 – Story Time: either go to your local libraries website or ask your librarian for info on this the next time you stop in. Most libraries only offer a story time for preschool or young age groups. But I was lucky enough to live near a library when my son was in his tween years that they did a story time for teens and tweens. It was wonderful. It happened every Thursday all summer. He went in from 11-1. They were encouraged to come with a sack lunch. During the first hour the librarian would read to them a chapter or two from a book usually some kind of Science Fiction book and she always left a cliff hanger so they would want to come back the next week to find out what happened next. Yes even at 13 these kids still loved to be read out loud to! Then for the second hour she would pull out a play and they would take turns reading out loud. My son really enjoyed this and it was a totally free activity.
For younger children preschool or early school years the story time is more of a children’s picture book generally. Then there may be a craft to follow geared towards the subject of the book. Check out your library as I have seen some that will have these story times during the week or offer one in the evenings so parents who work can make it and encourage the kids to come in their jammies so they can just go straight to bed when they get home.
#2 -Books on cd. This has become my girls new favorite way of going to sleep at night. It is so great to not have the constant up and down out of their beds each night. I tuck them into bed and then turn on their cd of the newest book they are going to listen to. I allow them 30 minutes of listening time. I then go back into their rooms and turn it off. Often they are asleep when I return to their rooms. I have found this is a great way to introduce them to books they may not have wanted to read on their own such as children’s classics like Anne of Green Gables and Tom Sawyer.
#3 – Movies. Did you know that you can check out dvds at your library? Often they will have just as new of releases as the local dvd rental or Redbox may have. I always take a glance at the movie section before we leave great way to spend a rainy afternoon!
#4 – Crafting. Have you ever wanted to do something fun like Paper Mache or maybe learn to Knit? You can find books on just about every craft there is available. You may be surprised that a craft such as Paper Mache you may not need to even spend one penny as you may have all the supplies for this craft laying around your house!
#5 – Learning about your local environment. This is one of my favorite things to do over summer vacation. As we have now lived in four different states as you can imagine each one has their own local birds, trees or flowers. What I have done in the past is checked out a book about our own local community or state and read through it with my children. We look up all of the local trees, flowers or animals the book says are in our area. We then go on a walk on our nearest trail to see if we can go out on a nature hunt to find all of these items.
#6 – Cooking. Yep the library is stocked full of cookbooks as well. It is fun to check out books on a cuisine you may not have tried then go about seeing if you can make one of those dishes as a new treat with your kids.
#7 – Travel. Do you have a vacation you have planned for later this year? Maybe you are going to the Grand Canyon, Yosemite National park, or even Disneyland. There are books on just about any vacation spot you can imagine. By reading all about your upcoming vacation with your child you will not only be educating yourselves but also building up the excitement for your new adventure!
#8 – Record breakers. I know it is not just my kids as it seems to be one of the most checked out books in the library. The Guinness Book of World Records is a fun read for kids. It may be fun to look through the book and then decide to see if you can set some records of your own. Who can balance an egg on a spoon while standing on one leg the longest? Or dare I say . . .sit and not say a word the longest. (he he I know I am not the only mom to pull this trick)
#9 – Magazines and Newspapers. If you don’t have the funds to pay for a subscription don’t beat yourself up take your kids to the library. You may be surprised to see how many subscriptions they have that you can sit and browse through for FREE!
#10 – Reading. Okay this one I could NOT keep off the list. Nothing makes me as happy as seeing my children lost in the world of the written word. It has been such a great escape for me over the years it make me happy to see them growing their love of reading!
My best advice on getting your child to read is to find out what they are interested in and getting them books on that subject. They like animals? Try books on dogs, horses or vets. They like sports there are books on baseball, football and every other sport there is out there. Even if they only want to read comics let them do it because I have found as long as they are reading one door opens to another.
If you feel discouraged because you have a tiny library that doesn’t seem to have a lot of books to offer ask the librarian if you can get books transferred to your library from another branch. This is what I have to do most times as we live in a teeny tiny town with an equally sized library. The books generally only take a day or two and they will call and let me know when they arrive.
What kinds of ways do you find to entertain your kids thanks to the local library?