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.

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!

Related Articles

It’s the elephant in the room, and no one can ignore it.  Tusks in the air, a wooden pachyderm greets patrons near the main entrance of Akron-Summit County Public Library on South High Street in downtown Akron (OH).  The hand-carved elephant lumbered more than 8,500 miles before finding a refuge at the Main Library. This month marks the 40th anniversary of its public unveiling.According to Mary Plazo, manager of Special Collections at the library, the elephant was a 1979 gift from Louis and Mary Myers of Myers Industries in Akron. It was carved from a single piece of teakwood in Thailand and shipped to the United States.  “The figure is 40 inches long, 56 inches high and 20 inches wide,” Plazo noted. “It weighs over 500 pounds.”Trish Saylor, manager of the Children’s Library, said former librarian Ione Cowen once told her that the Myerses donated the elephant because “it was so heavy that it was making their foundation sink.”It took five men to roll the elephant into the library — perhaps the city’s first pachyderm parade since the days when circuses marched into the Akron Armory.  With its curved trunk, flared ears, pointed tusks, gaping mouth and raised front foot, the whimsical carving made a good first impression. READ MORE
Spherical robots that careen around a room, controlled by a child's finger on an iPad — we've arrived at the future. And, it's very fun.The controlled chaos of the RoboKids event put on monthly by the Children's Department at the Loveland Public Library provides kids ages 4 and up with an opportunity to learn from and play with small robotic toys. While it's fun for kids to crash the rolling 'bots into walls or draw loopy roads with markers for a small reading robot to follow across the table, the children are also learning the basics of toys that can later be used for programming practice, said facilitator of the event Cindi Pfeiffer.Pfeiffer said the library has put on the event for about three years, during which their robot collection has grown to more than 10 robots. The library first started their robot collection four years ago after working with Loveland High Robotics Club to build a Lego Mindstorm EV3, a programmable motorized robot built with Lego bricks.Pfeiffer said the library is money-conscious when it buys robots, and tries to buy when they are on sale. READ MORE
Some people may say Dewey the Bearded Dragon has a face only a mother could love.But in Lead Hill (AR) it’s a face the entire school district loves.  “He’s the face of the library. He’s our mascot,” said Dewey’s owner, Amy Curtis, who is the Library Media Specialist for the Lead Hill School District.Since last summer he’s actually been more than just the mascot.In July, Dewey was certified as an emotional behavioral therapy animal after Curtis realized he had a certain calming effect on students, especially those who struggled with attention, anxiety and stress-related issues.“We started realizing kids who had a very difficult time paying attention in class or were struggling emotionally for various reasons, or were stressed, that once they sat with Dewey they would calm very quickly,” said Curtis. “He helps them relax. That’s when we got the idea of going ahead and registering him for emotional support and behavior therapy.” READ MORE