There is a popular belief that libraries are either obsolete or in the process of becoming obsolete. Essentially, the thinking is that people now have such convenient access to e-books and other kinds of electronic entertainment that there is no longer a point in visiting brick-and-mortar locations.
That belief is mistaken. The American Library Association points out that libraries remain places where people can meet, learn, and otherwise enrich themselves. As such, they still offer a lot of interesting things to do for kids.
Consider these examples of 20 awesome library activities for kids:
1. Go to Storytime
Little by Little states early literacy helps kids with their comprehension, vocabulary, and other critical life skills. As a result, it is a good idea to get them reading sooner rather than later. Unsurprisingly, libraries tend to be very enthusiastic about literacy programs, whether those aimed at kids or some other segment of the population. It is normal for them to hold storytime sessions, which can benefit younger kids just starting to read a great deal.
2. Read Aloud to Therapy Dogs
On a related note, some libraries now offer kids the chance to read aloud to therapy dogs. That might sound strange. However, Petcurean says reading aloud to therapy dogs can help kids build some much-needed confidence. The gist is that kids are often scared of being judged poorly by others. As a result, reading aloud doesn’t always help them because they might be too agitated to learn much. Fortunately, kids tend to see dogs as non-judgmental. Due to that, reading aloud to therapy dogs helps them focus on what they are doing for the best results.
3. Watch Movies
Libraries sometimes show movies. The exact issue is finding a suitable movie for kids. As a result, it is a good idea to consult their lists of upcoming events from time to time to see what is available to interested individuals. By doing so, people can plan their visits well ahead of time.
4. Listen to Concerts
Similarly, libraries sometimes offer music concerts aimed at different segments of the population. Music is enjoyable. Better still, Johns Hopkins Medicine states listening to music helps people rest and relax while improving their mood, their sleep, and their ability to remember things. These things are as important for kids as they are for everyone else, so checking out a free music concert can be a very good way to spend some time.
5. Go to Museums
Strictly speaking, this one isn’t something people do at libraries. Still, it is associated with libraries, so it is close enough. For those unfamiliar, a lot of libraries have arrangements with museums and similar institutions. Thanks to that, if people have a library membership, they can visit those places free of charge. The value of this differs from library to library. Some cities have more interesting museums than others. Furthermore, some libraries have arrangements with more interesting museums than others.
6. Learn a Foreign Language
Learning a foreign language opens up new worlds of possibilities for kids. Furthermore, it can be very beneficial for their future, not least because it will make it much easier for them to live, work, and travel in foreign countries. On top of this, the Dana Foundation states learning a foreign language improves people’s cognitive abilities. The classic example would be how a bilingual person finds it easier to learn a new language than someone doing so for the first time. However, those improvements in cognitive abilities also apply elsewhere.
7. Play with Blocks
It isn’t uncommon for libraries to have toys for kids. To name an example, they often have either Legos, Megablocks, or something similar. Playtime is fun. Furthermore, it can help kids hone some critical skills. For instance, playing with Legos, Megablocks, and similar toys is great for their sense of creativity, particularly since libraries tend to have more blocks for building bigger, more impressive projects.
8. Play with Coloring Books
Another common option would be coloring books and coloring pages. Once again, this is a fun activity that can help kids hone some critical skills. For example, coloring within the lines improves their hand-eye coordination. Similarly, choosing colors is beneficial for their sense of creativity. Playtime helps people learn. Coloring is no exception to that rule.
9. Meet Other Kids
Humans are social animals. For proof, look no further than The Conversation and a wide range of other sources claiming loneliness to be one of the worst killers because of its detrimental effect on our health and happiness. Due to this, people should go out of their way to socialize, particularly since the lack of socialization can be habit-building. Generally speaking, kids get plenty of opportunities to make friends because of school. Still, it never hurts to seize other opportunities for the same. Libraries are great for this purpose because of the people who visit them regularly. Indeed, signing up for the right programs is an easy way to meet people with similar interests.
10. Learn About Health
People aren’t just born with an automatic understanding of healthy living. Instead, we have to learn these things, which is one of the reasons why there is a correlation between better education and better health outcomes. It is a good idea to start learning about these things sooner rather than later. Partly, that is because we should start taking care of our health as soon as possible, and partly, that is because choosing healthy habits from the start is much easier than changing habits at a later point in life.
11. Learn About Art
Libraries give kids a wide range of ways to engage with art. Sometimes, that means the chance to check out art exhibitions. Other times, that means spending some time either drawing, painting, or otherwise making art. A lot of people find their lives enriched by art. Due to this, kids might want to check it out to see whether it clicks with them.
12. Learn About Science
Of course, libraries also give kids a wide range of ways to engage with the sciences. It isn’t uncommon for them to host classes, exhibits, and activities that introduce interested individuals to everything from biology and chemistry to the applied versions of the sciences. Our lives are shaped by our use of the sciences in every single aspect. Thanks to that, learning about the sciences helps people make sense of everything around them.
13. Use the Wi-Fi
Generally speaking, people associate libraries with books. However, it is important to note that libraries are focused on information more than anything else. Books are great tools for communicating information to interested individuals, but books are far from being the only way to do so. As such, there is no contradiction to libraries using more modern tools for the same purpose, with an excellent example being the Internet. Not everyone has unlimited access to high-speed Internet at home. Due to that, the Wi-Fi now standard at libraries can do a great deal to help them find whatever it is they are interested in.
14. Use the Computers
Similarly, it is very common for libraries to make computers available to interested individuals for more or less the same reasons. In some cases, they just have PCs; in other cases, they can also lend out tablets and laptops. These computers offer interested individuals the same benefits as other computers. For example, people can use them to access an enormous amount of information about a bewildering array of topics.
That is particularly true because libraries often have subscriptions to various online resources, thus enabling their users to access more than what they can at home. Similarly, people can also use computers for entertainment, whether that means playing games, watching videos, and more besides. Computers are the machines that make the Information Age possible. Naturally, that means libraries have made a major effort to ensure their availability to the general public.
15. Borrow Books
With that said, there is still plenty of room for books. Libraries contain thousands and thousands of books, which interested individuals can consult free of charge. Something that isn’t necessarily true for online sources of information, as anyone who has ever run into a paywall while researching on the Internet will know.
Better still, libraries aren’t limited to the books onsite. Interested individuals can use their systems to hold specific books. In some cases, they can even use their systems to ask for books from other institutions. Books aren’t quite as convenient as websites and other online resources. Even so, they remain extremely useful in this day and age.
16. Borrow E-Books
Making computers available to kids and other interested individuals isn’t the only way libraries have adapted to the modern age. Another example is how they now have e-books in their collections, which should come as welcome news for those who prefer reading on electronic devices rather than from physical books. In most cases, libraries have smaller collections of e-books than their physical counterparts. Despite that, kids can still benefit much from these resources.
17. Download Magazines
On a related note, a lot of libraries also make magazines available for download by interested individuals. These magazines cover the full range of hobbies and interests, meaning there should be something for everyone out there. The neat thing about magazines is that they are also a great way for kids and other interested individuals to keep up with the latest developments in whatever it is they are passionate about. Something that isn’t as easy to do by relying on just books.
18. Check Out Book Sales
Libraries don’t just gather more and more books in their collections. If nothing else, they don’t have an infinite amount of storage space, meaning they have to get rid of some of their books at some point. Now, libraries could just toss out their books. Under normal circumstances, they tend to be less than enthused about that, particularly since they know other people can continue benefiting from those books.
As such, it is very common for libraries to host book sales where interested individuals can pick up used books for low prices. Granted, people aren’t guaranteed to find anything good at these events. Still, some effort plus some luck can go a long time. For that matter, kids might just enjoy looking through the books offered at book sales. A lot of book lovers tend to enjoy the chance to see exactly what libraries have on hand.
19. Check Out Book Recommendations
New books are published regularly. Unfortunately, there is no way for interested individuals to know about everything that is coming out. Simply put, they just don’t have enough time in the day to keep track of everything, particularly when they have other things to do.
Librarians tend to be knowledgeable on these matters, if only because their job often involves knowing about these things. Fortunately, librarians often make book recommendations, which point interested individuals to books and other resources that might catch their eye. These aren’t even always prepared ahead of time. Plenty of librarians are perfectly willing to recommend books and other resources to kids, thus making it much easier for the latter to access what they want to access.
20. Check Out Makerspaces
Makerspaces are a relatively new concept that has taken schools, libraries, and similar institutions by storm. In short, they are not-for-profit workspaces where like-minded people can get together to make things, talk about those things, and learn about those things.
Oftentimes, makerspaces give people a chance to use 3D printers and other technologies that would otherwise be unavailable to them, thus enabling them to explore new possibilities. If kids enjoy making things, they should see whether their local libraries have makerspaces that allow them to do exactly that.
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