As a homeschooling mother of two young children, I’m always looking for ways to provide different types of activities for them without having to pay a fortune. One of the best places that we use is our local library. Many families possibly believe that their local library is just a place to borrow books, however this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Local council libraries often have multiple activities for children of all ages that are generally either free or for little cost.
Once a month, our library runs a Lego club for children of all ages. Each month there is a different theme with the librarian reading a couple of books relating to that theme. The children (and parents/carers) are then encouraged to build something from Lego that is relative to the theme. Last month, our theme was monsters. It was really interesting to see the different methods and ideas that were used in the creation of our Lego monsters. Some chose to build 3D monsters, whilst others used the base plates to construct one dimensional monsters. Each one was unique and creative. These group situations are a perfect opportunity for children to work together, learn to share whilst offering support and ideas to their peers.
Many local libraries also run book clubs for children. These are often for age groups 7 – 10 or 10 – 13 and are a fantastic way for children who share a love of books and reading to get together and discuss book reviews, games and craft. These clubs are generally held on a fortnightly or monthly basis and are usually after school time.
These clubs are often run by a local library on a monthly basis. Generally each month has a different focus and often includes crafts, science workshops, technology demonstrations, board games – the list goes on and on.
Although often held during the day, chess clubs are generally open to players of all ages and levels and is another great activity for those who enjoy a friendly game of chess.
Many libraries also have clubs based on certain themes or television shows. Our local library has a Dr Who club that meets one Thursday a month after school time. If your children are into Pokemon, there is also a Pokemon club once a month. Another local library holds a Manga & Anime club where fans are encouraged to watch, draw and discuss different shows & volumes.
Theme days (International Games Day)
Saturday 21st November is International Games Day and many a local library around the world is participating in this activity. This is a great opportunity for children who enjoy boardgames of any kind to get together with other like minded children.
Young Writers’ Group
For those children who enjoy writing, Young Writers’ groups are often held a your local library. These groups often meet on a fortnightly basis to discuss and workshop their writing. Each meeting often includes creative writing activities and discussion around a different theme.
Toddlers & Preschool Children
Younger children are not left out either. Our children regularly attended Storytime sessions. At our local library this was designed for children up to 5 years old and was theme based and involved book reading, followed by activities based around the theme. Other libraries also hold Rhyme Time sessions for very young children.
Access to online resources
Your library membership not only provides access to activities at your library branch, but often also provides access to many online educational resources. At our local library, our membership allowed our children access to the extremely popular and educational Busy Things website. If we wished to access this online program, it would have cost quite a bit, however it was free if we used our library membership.
Your local library really provides a multitude of activities for children of all ages and I encourage every parent to contact their library to ascertain what their branch has available. Library membership is free and the activities that your local library may run can be a fantastic option for your child.