I love my local public library. And, believe me, I am definitely not just saying that because I used to work there. Living in the same general vicinity from birth through adulthood has many disadvantages, but one thing I do like about it is having great childhood memories in places like the library that I can still visit every day (even though thanks to various technological advances, it looks much different now).
One essential summer activity for me as a kid was participating in my library’s summer reading program. The way it worked was, you would go to the library, check out some books, take some special cards with places to track your reading, and go home and read! The cards had spaces to track what book you were reading, how long you read each day, and I think even spaces to record some quick thoughts on the book. The librarians would always give me extra cards to take home, because I usually left the library with a ton of books. When we would go to the library to return books and check out more, I would drop off my filled out cards and get some more. Filled out cards got placed in a drawing, and there were several drawings each summer. I won some great books this way!
Fast forward to my college years, when I was lucky enough to work at the library. Summer was pretty rough because it was so extremely busy (yeah, that thought you have in your head about libraries being peaceful and easy places to work? That’s a lie). Kids were out of school, parents were frazzled, programs were going on every day…it was chaos. Except, I loved handing kids their summer reading program cards. I loved seeing how excited they were to read. It reminded me of me, and it’s really encouraging that even though kids today have cell phones, Facebook, and Xbox 360s to keep them occupied all summer long, they still do choose to read.
Those memories of the summer reading program at the library were fresh in my mind when I visited the library website and found a special section of the program page for babies, toddlers and preschoolers, reminding parents that, “Reading is just as important for younger children, birth through age 5,” and to let them “participate in the reading program with parents, caregivers, and siblings sharing books with them”. And then it goes on to list other activities you can do with your kids to facilitate a love for reading. There’s even a reading list for ages 0 to 2!
I am so excited to do the summer reading program with Baby I, you guys! The theme is Dream Big Read so the suggested books for the little ones are bedtime books. Perfect, because that’s my reading time with Baby I! ’ll definitely keep you updated on how it’s going. In the meantime, some of the books that we’ll try to read before summer’s end:
I’m also listing some of the activities that the library suggests for this age group. I left out the ones that Baby I is too young to enjoy. Many of these activities, we already do together. But they are all great ideas:
- Sing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star at bedtime
- Explore a texture book and find other textures in the house that are similar.
- Go on an imaginary farm trip, making the sounds of all the animals you might see.
- Hold your baby in front of a mirror — name what you see.
- Cut shapes out of sponges and play with them in the bathtub.
- Play peek-a-boo — enjoy laughing together with this silly game.
- Go outside and watch the clouds on a nice day. What shapes do you see?
- Plant a seed and watch it grow.
- Read a book outside.
- On a breezy day, take some ribbons or streamers outside and watch the wind move them.
- Sing a lullaby to your baby
- Recite a song or nursery rhyme and add some actions.
- Babies love to hear your voice. Copy the sounds that your baby makes and listen to the sounds that they make back.
- After reading a book, retell the story without the book.
- Spend 10 wildly happy minutes reading to your child. Make reading together a fun and positive experience.
- Say goodnight to all the objects in your child’s room as part of his or her nighttime ritual.
- Look at the stars with your child. Name as many constellations as you can, or make up names for the shapes and objects you can see.