Summer Has Your Kids Bored? Try the Library
Summer vacation is still going strong for families around the country! Naturally, this means that kids have a lot of time to fill, translating to parents struggling to come up with activities that don’t involve hours spent staring into television or iPads. Well, help has arrived! Consider checking out your local library for stimulating summer activities!
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The library isn’t simply a destination for stories to enjoy, but a springboard to a myriad of educational and entertaining activities! And they’re generally free, as well. Offerings will vary by individual library, but if you’re looking for something to do, keep an eye out for the following kinds of activities at your local public library:
Fishing & Camping Gear
If you and your kids would like to try fishing, camping, bird watching, hiking, or other outdoorsy activity, but don’t have your own gear, you might be able to check some out from your local library. Small items like binoculars and maps are easy to find, but some public libraries will even provide fishing rods and tackle sets, though you’ll have to dig up the worms yourself!
If you’re wearing your family’s collection of board games a little thin, your library might have a collection that you can check-out or play right in the library. Some libraries also organize game nights where both adults and kids can learn to play new games. If you have a group of kids interested in forming a table-top games club, just ask. Librarians are frequently happy to assist with facilitating just these sorts of programs.
Free Passes to Museums and Parks
Before you head to a local museum, aquarium, art gallery, beach, or park, check to see if your library has passes available. Many libraries around the country offer passes for free or discounted admission and/or parking to nearby cultural destinations, which can make a fun family trip much more affordable.
Maybe you can’t actually hop in a spaceship and visit the stars, but some libraries offer telescopes you can check out and use at home, star parties, and interesting lectures on astronomy topics. While you’re at it, check out a book about the different planets and constellations. There is so much to learn about the night sky! Your kids might just pick up a hobby for life.
If your kids are too young to read on their own or simple love hearing stories, check when your library offers storytimes! These are often specially designed for specific age groups, creating an engaging and fun learning environment for youngsters of all ages. Some libraries even offer story time in other languages! ¡Excelente!
Arts and Crafts
The only thing better than crafting at home is crafting that you don’t have to clean up after! Most libraries organize creative arts and crafts and building activities for kids of all ages. All of the supplies, instructions, and support is provided. You just show up and make!
Is any toy more popular (or more painful when stepped on) than LEGOs? Many libraries have their own collections and host LEGO building days. Kids can go in and build whatever they want, or work on a special theme. If that’s the case, librarians will have topical books and other resources available so kids will be able to build with their hands as well as grow their knowledge.
If you or your kids have a green thumb, you may be able to get some seeds from your local library, ranging from flowers to fruit and vegetables. If you successfully grow some plants, you can bring a few seeds back to the library for someone else to use.
Read to a Dog
You may not find this at all libraries, but some are pairing up with local animal shelters and therapy dog clubs to offer interaction with delightful fluffy beasts for the purpose of literacy. Some libraries even organize programs where children read to trained therapy dogs that listen patiently and intently. This is especially wonderful for building confidence in kids who are shy or have trouble reading.
These are just a few examples of the types of activities public libraries offer to keep kids busy over the summer. But have no fear, after the summer ends and school begins, libraries will still be around to offer research assistance, a place to study, and more programs that your kids will love.