There are so many things to do with kids these days. Camps and trips and excursions, oh my! But that’s not the kind of summers I grew up with. Prepare yourself for my first ‘Back in my day’ rant, because we all know 90s summers were the best. We spent all day hopping around the neighborhood pools, using card tables and leftover poster board to ‘build’ lemonade stands, zoning out in front of the Disney channel, and riding our bikes from dawn until dusk. The world is different now and if I let my kids roam the neighborhood wild like I did, someone would likely call the cops on me.
So a true 90s summer isn’t really an option for my kids. But I can tailor it to today’s world dynamic, hanging out outside with them during bike rides and spending days upon days in the pool until we’re all prunes and in desperate need of a movie marathon. There’s also one thing I can do that my mom did do with me and my fellow 90s babes- visits to the local library.
I grew up going to the library frequently and I loved it. In fact, when my purse got stolen at the mall food court when I was 8, my biggest fear was that my library card was stolen (it was the first thing I’d ever signed my name to and I was terrified I’d be ruined for life and they’d never let me borrow books again. Side note- who the heck steals an 8 year old’s purse?!) Thank goodness my library card was in a different purse, so whew- bullet dodged. I’d check out stacks of books and disappear for hours on end into a world that existed in my mind, built off the words of authors I loved like friends.
Libraries have definitely advanced since my days of huge stack checkouts. In our current city, the local library hosts fun events, has a scavenger hunt, and has puzzles for kids to play while they’re visiting as well as numerous story times throughout the week.
Last week, the fire department came and did a presentation that included putting on all their gear and turning on their air so kids would know what firefighters look and sound like in the event they’re trapped inside a burning building and need rescuing. Then they showed kids all the cool gadgets and tools on their truck, explaining the difference between a fire truck and a fire engine and telling them what each tool does. The thought behind this presentation was immense- kids in car accidents and fires will be much better prepared to understand what’s going on in a scary situation having witnessed a calm adult on a sunshine filled day telling them all about it.
This week they’re having a magician, and later in the summer there are LEGO days, a chemist doing science experiments, and more. This is all in addition to their regularly scheduled story times.
So if you’re looking for a free activity to do with your kids that’s educational and encourages an ongoing love affair with literacy, head to your local library. If you’re in East Tennessee, check out the Knox County Library’s site for details here.
If you’re looking for a way to love on your library, donate books you no longer want that are in good condition. Even if there isn’t a need for them on the shelves, they may be able to sell them at a library sale to raise funds for new books and events. You can also participate in these book sales to get a great deal, support your local community, and find your next favorite book. Libraries are often looking for volunteers, so ask your librarian how you can help.
What does your local library offer?