Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Summer Fun Idea #1: the Library

It's July now, and that means summer vacation is halfway over. It also means that the hot weather is only just beginning. There is the danger of summertime boredom hitting soon. As the weather gets hotter, even visits to the playground or pool will start to seem routine. We need something new, so it's time to hit the books.

Two out of my three children are now readers, and they have read and re-read most of the books we have at home. Our local library (aside from being an air-conditioned haven on the hottest days) has endless adventures for them to lose themselves in. The children's department has learning games on the computer -- a special treat for my kids -- and themed reading programs for elementary age kids.

When we go, we visit the picture books to choose new stories or old favorites. I also let my children chose one non-fiction book, to learn all about something new. Last week my five-year-old chose a book about Platypuses. My older one chose one about space exploration. These are things I cannot teach them. Our library has music to broaden their cultural education, too. Finally, we go to the young adult fiction, to choose a chapter book for me to read to them. Lately, we're reading The Hardy Boys, Secret of the Old Mill. It is such a treat to see them all on the edge of their seat when we get a real page-turner.

We visit the library in the morning, and on our library days, they will beg to read or be read to after lunch. There is nothing better for their minds or their imagination than practice reading. It helps them feel less restless. And guess what? It's fun for them that is free! This is no $3 carnival ride that is going to be over in two minutes. When they check out books, they get to keep them and read them for up to two weeks.

Going to the library is a great outlet to see school friends, too. When we're planning a visit, I usually phone a friend or two from school to let them know. It's always a surprise to see who comes by to meet us. Sometimes, the kids will even make a new friend or two.

So, instead of the pool or the fair or the park or the baseball diamond, give the library a try. It's the perfect cure for the summer doldrums.

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