Spending quality time with our kids is critical to their growth and development—and it fosters strong bonds and relationships. But, our fast-paced lives can make finding opportunities for quality family time a challenge.
We’re working and commuting longer hours. Schedules are packed. Budgets are tight. And planning even small outings takes time and energy. Fortunately, your libraries offer fun activities and amazing learning adventures for families of all types to do together.
“Libraries are in a unique position to help strengthen family connections,” says David Slivken, executive director, Poudre River Public Library District. “Libraries are also spaces that offers opportunities for families to connect with other families and build community.”
The Library District has a significant responsibility to children and families in our community to support early literacy skills and ensure young children are ready to learn when they enter school. We recognize that parents and caregivers are a child’s first and primary teacher, so we build partnerships with families to assist their literacy efforts.
The District offers age and developmentally-appropriate materials, quality literacy experiences, bilingual resources, and support for families in the shape of interactive storytimes, an extensive and diverse children’s collection, literacy programs like Animal Afternoon, and even the annual Summer Reading Challenge.
Librarians can also help parents and caregivers who feel uncomfortable reading to their children by modeling read-aloud techniques, helping them develop their own literacy, and encouraging them to enjoy their own reading.
Library time is active, not passive. So it comes as no surprise that Library programs encourage children and parents to play, discover, and explore together. Playing is one of the primary ways young children learn, think, imagine, express themselves, and develop fine and gross motor skills.
Play can become an even more powerful tool for families when its combined with STREAM activities exploring science, technology, reading, engineering, art, and math. Programs like LEGO Build Club, Discovery Zone, and STEM Club are great examples of playful family activities.
Family members and caregivers play a vital role in helping children develop a joy for learning. By spending time learning as a family, children can see that learning is a process, and something that people do all their lives.
As a community partner in children’s education – beyond just support for early literacy – the Library encompasses the whole life spectrum of learning. Families can take advantage of rich digital and hands-on resources and programs for knowledge, innovation, and enjoyment.
Often, family learning at the Library incorporates individuals teaching and learning from one another. Do-it-together activities like makerspace programs or 3D model and design classes allow kids to learn new skills and also demonstrate their expertise to adults.
Other great family learning opportunities include the Curiosity Pass Program, which offers free admission to museums, art galleries, and other cultural attractions, and the Gadgets & Things Collection, with items like telescopes, bird watching kits, and more.
“We hope to encourage and inspire families to be engaged in their children’s learning throughout their childhood and teen years,” says Slivken, “and to provide opportunities for parents to spend quality time with their children in constructive and meaningful ways.”