Monday, June 29, 2015

Keep Your Kids Amused & Learning Over the Summer Break Through A Library Reading Program

While lazy summer days may be fun they can also really set kids behind when it comes time to return back to school.  A good way to keep children amused during the break is to check with your local library to see if they are offering a summer children's program.  Libraries across the United States often participate in the Collaborative Summer Library Program which is a consortium of states working together to provide high-quality summer reading program materials for children and teens.  This year's theme is "EVERY HERO HAS A STORY" which participating libraries can base activities and programs around to entertain and educate children throughout the summer.  It is important to keep children reading throughout their summer break to maintain proficiency so they don't start the new school year with diminished academic skills.  While some library programs focus on just reading others also include programs that promote math, science, history, and an appreciation for learning in general.  These programs primarily take place during the month of July so now is a good time to check into them and get your kids enrolled.

My kids started off their summer with a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle day at the library which involved doing various feats around the children's section like a bean bag toss, bucket stacking competition, and scavenger hunt to get them familiar with visiting the library.

Other activities taking place throughout June/July include reading to a therapy dog, competing in a LEGO building block challenge, doing experiments at a science fair, enjoying a magic show, attending a safety presentation with police/fire departments and participating in a program called "Be a Math Hero."  Most of these activities are an hour long and they are sprinkled throughout the month so children still have plenty of time to enjoy just being a kid during the summer.  Plus these programs tend to be somewhat entertaining for the kids as well as educational which is always a plus for me from my parenting perspective.

In addition to the activities and programs offered, my kids also are challenged to submit a list of books they've read each week to the library for a chance to win prizes.  Also every kids who participates in the reading challenge gets some FREE books from the library at the end of the year.  Our librarian has told me that they've received a donation of Kohls Cares books so that every child participating is guaranteed a good quality new book to take home as a reward for their participation. I'm sure this varies from library to library but we appreciate seeing Kohl's being involved in the community with our local public library, especially because our family does a lot of shopping there.

Most of these programs are aimed at children from preschool to fifth grade.  If you have some kids in that age range that don't have a whole lot planned to do for the summer, I encourage you to contact the libraries in your area and see what they have going on.  To search for public libraries near you, visit

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