For Parents

Spending quality time with our kids and teens is critical to their growth and development—and it fosters strong bonds and relationships. But, in our fast-paced lives, finding opportunities for quality time together can be a daily challenge.

We’re working and commuting longer hours. Our kids’ schedules are packed. Budgets are tight. And planning even small outings takes time and energy.

Fortunately, there are a variety of things to do, new adventures to begin, and amazing things to learn—right at your library.

Libraries are the place to connect with your kids.

School and public libraries open up new worlds, spark imagination, encourage reading, help develop critical thinking and prepare and support kids and teens in school and life.

And most of the materials and programs available at your library are free!

We hope you’ll use this online guide to help you connect with your kids and find ideas for activities you can do together—at the library, at home and in your community.

And let the quality time begin!

Read Together

Reading together and being involved in what your kids are reading helps them in school while also reinforcing the joy of reading. And reading together doesn’t have to stop once your kids can read on their own. Reading anything—comics, poems, graphic novels, magazines or books—out loud together is a great way to spend time with older kids and teens.

A library card is your ticket to a world of resources for education and entertainment for the whole family: books, e-books and e-readers, digital audio books, movies, magazines, games, and many other traditional and digital resources.

Learn Together

Homework is a fact of life for students. So before you find yourself “stuck” while helping with a science project or prepping for a math quiz, take time to learn about homework help and tutoring services at the school and public library.

Making good choices in managing your money is an important life skill. Teaching your children how to manage money and spend wisely can start at the library—where their first lesson is about taking advantage of the library’s free resources.

Cook with your kids! Visit the library to plan, prepare and enjoy a meal together. With cookbooks, culinary magazines and other media on cooking all available at your library, there are many ideas right at your fingertips.

Play Together

Technology can help us be more productive, assist in learning, entertain and connect us to friends and family. But when we’re always plugged in, we can become disconnected from other people and activities. Arts and crafts provide alternative ways to help unplug, unwind and connect.

Ask your librarian about arts and crafts classes or classes on digital photography, video editing, social networking and on the hardware, software and online tools needed to create and share content.

As technology has evolved, so has the library. In addition to classic board games, “gaming” at the library means Wii™ for all ages and early literacy stations with computer games for young children. Playing together builds bonds, not to mention hours of fun.

Start Family Traditions

Whatever you like to do together as a family, your library can help support or build new family traditions.

Start a family tradition by making regular family dates at the library. Where else in the community can you spend time with the whole family in a place that has something for everyone...for free?

Tracing family roots? A librarian can demonstrate how to develop a search strategy for tracing your family tree and help navigate through census, church, cemetery and vital record

Show kids and teens about the value of giving back. Service projects strengthen your community and send a powerful message to kids and teens that they can make a difference to someone and something larger than themselves. And they can be fun! Check with your librarian for information about volunteering both close to home and away. Your teens may even decide to volunteer at the library!

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