For some kids the library is a pretty awesome place, packed with a whole variety of interesting books.
However, not every child is a book worm and for some a trip to the library is not quite the trip out that they hoped for.
This is a real shame as libraries are a fantastic place for kids to visit. Not only does it encourage them to read, but it also opens them up to a whole host of different books too.
With this in mind, I have put together my 5 top tips for making sure that your library trip is fun, and that your kids will want to go back time and time again!
1) Talk About The Library Before You Go
To make sure that your child is excited about the library you may need to hype it up a bit.
A good basis for this is to explain what the library is and how it works. Tell him that there are heaps of books that he can choose from and that it is a whole lot of fun finding them.
2) Let Them Explore
If you want your child to enjoy the library then it makes sense to let her be in charge of exploring.
It is a good idea to set out some ground rules for your visit of course, but you should really let them take charge on what they see.
This has educational value in itself, as children can learn about the organisation and cataloging of borrowing books. Younger children in particular are likely to find the space fascinating and want to sit on every chair and read through every book that they can find.
You should try not to discourage this as it is a good sign.
3) Have A Special Library Bag
For those that are intending to take books home with them, a simple way to encourage children to want to bring books home is to organize their very own library book bag.
It needs to be reasonably strong as books can be heavy.
If you are looking for some arts and crafts activities, why not encourage your child to decorate and design the bag before you head off.
Many parents know of the problems in remembering which books are library books and when they need to be returned. Having them all in one place can make things much easier to manage.
Take a look at some of the great ideas on Pinterest for DIY library tote bags such as the one below, courtesy of Crazy Little Projects.
4) Borrow Some Books
The idea of going to the library is to take some books home with you isn’t it?
This means if your child finds a book he likes, then it is a good idea to take it home.
He might have already read (looked at) it whilst you are there, or get bored of it once you are home.
But, there will still be learning occurring about the process of borrowing and returning books.
It is really good for parents to demonstrate that they too, borrow, read and enjoy books. You will be teaching her the whole purpose of the library and this is going to encourage her to want to go back time and time again.
Many libraries are now promoting ‘reading challenges’. This is a way to inject a little competition and excitement into children’s experience of borrowing books.
5) Find A Special Event
Libraries put together a variety of special events in the holidays to encourage people to visit. If your kids are not keen on going, then why not pick a time when there will be something on.
It could be coloring or crafts, or perhaps a group story session. Anything that will capture their imagination and make the entire trip fun.
Supporting local libraries is important if you want them to stay open, which means that families need to head there. Why not organize a trip to the library for your kids and teach them how awesome a place it is?
Some libraries are now experimenting with ‘making spaces’. This is an area where older children can experiment with things like robotics and using Raspberry Pi computers.
Libraries are looking at new ways to engage with children and throw a different light on the learning experience in the minds of children and parents. Making spaces are a way in which formal learning from books can meet the practical realization of an idea.
Junior art exhibitions are another event that children may be interested in and may even wish to participate. It can be inspiring to see other children’s talent and realize that they too could exhibit their work.
It’s Time To Go To The Library!
In conclusion, libraries can offer children a wide variety of rich experiences.
Early exposure to this kind of environment can be made fun and set-up good attitudes towards learning that can last throughout the course of their whole lives.
For younger children you could even set up a make believe library in your home. Make your own library cards and take turns with your child being the librarian and the person checking out books. This is also a great activity for siblings or peers.
Libraries aren’t boring, far from it! Pick-up your library card and plan your next trip.
James graduated from The University of Sussex in 1996 and completed his P.G.C.E teaching qualification in 1997. Since then, James has worked as both a teacher, examiner and in management across a broad spectrum of the State and Independent Education sectors. He is committed to constantly upgrading his teaching skills and raising standards.
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