Mission Impossible – or child’s play?

Kids @ Westminster LibrariesBringing up children is like holding your purse upside down – the end result, in both cases, is no money! But Uncle David can leave some cash in your purse (or pocket – no discrimination here).

Kids love books. Good books have great pictures, words your slave can read to you (you take over this burden when you’re ready), and a new landscape every time you turn a page. Here’s a nice book, all about frogs. Fantastic this week, boring next week, as we’ve moved on to space ships. After that, fairies, dragons, mountains… you get the picture.

Buying children’s books is expensive by any standard. But work it out as money spent per minute of interest generated, and the results can be eye-watering. The sharper among you will guess what’s coming next: David’s Simple Formula. Take Junior along to the library, choose some books together, and carry them away. Keep a weather eye on which books go in the rejected pile, and swap them for more. Job done, you say – thanks David. But don’t thank me yet. There’s more.

Another good way to empty your purse is on activities. Singing, banging tambourines, getting covered in paint or sand or mud… all these cost money to set up and staff, so obviously they cost a lot to get your pride and joy on the guest list. Except in the library, where they come free. From weekly sessions for the under-5s to one-off events for all ages (especially in the Summer) – your local library has got it taped.

As we’re talking about libraries, it won’t come as a shock when I tell you that books are high up the agenda. And so is fun. At an under-5s session, a member of the library staff might read a story, and then everyone will join in a few songs (don’t try to hide – we want you to sing too!). Then you pick up some books as described above. Two jobs done.

And when they’re too old for story-readings, what then? We have reading groups, giving them a chance to chat with other children who’ve read the same books (taking the heat off you, who haven’t). And we have homework clubs throughout term-time. Homework as fun – can this be possible? Try it!

“What did you do today, Darling?” “We went to the library. And we saved lots of money” (cue soaring strings and slushy embrace).

[David]

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One response to “Mission Impossible – or child’s play?

  1. Pingback: Free at the library – the reckoning | Books & the City

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