Lately my daughter’s favorite thing to play is library. She will sit by her little bookshelf for hours, where she organizes, makes signs, and offers books to anyone that happens to go by. She even has a little librarian badge that she made herself! It didn’t take long before it was clear that we needed to expand on this area of play, especially when she started letting her friends borrow her books. So we got to work creating a neighborhood sharing library for her.
We looked at all of the cute ideas on Pinterest to see about making her library play a little more fun and interactive. We soon discovered that neighborhood libraries are all the rage. There is even a website devoted to helping you get started, complete with blueprints. Here is the web address in case you want to check it out: http://littlefreelibrary.org
After looking on Pinterest and the local moms’ buying page, we decided a large mailbox would be a great and economical way to get started. We found a brand new mailbox for twelve dollars and put it in a large planter that we already had, and voila, a tiny library in the making! We then decided to let Claire get to work making it her own. She decided to paint it with chalkboard paint. Did you know you can even tint that stuff now? Claire chose to go with purple; I think it was the perfect choice! The chalkboard paint makes it even more fun and interactive. It allows kids to draw pictures or leave each other fun messages. After three coats of paint she was ready to rock and roll, so she loaded it up with a stack of books that she wanted to share.
The next step was to include our neighbors in her little venture. We posted a coming soon photo on our neighborhood Facebook page to help build excitement. My favorite part of this little library adventure is the speech she wrote to welcome her neighborhood friends, it was beautifully written. I think my little six year old girl has a writing career in her future. In her speech she revealed that she would call her library “Enchanted Tales”. What a perfect name! I then posted her reading her welcome speech on our local Facebook page and we waited for friends to stop by. We decided to use the “give a book/take a book” system. This way the library would always have books to share. When friends and neighbors stopped by the first day she was so excited!
Claire now checks her library several times a day. I love seeing the excitement in her face when she sees someone has stopped by.
My husband has since made her a sign in the shape of an arrow to help get the word out. Its amazing! He even designed it so she can change the message on it using laminated computer printouts attached to the sign via Velcro. Did I mention he also used a white board for more interactive play and fun? He is pretty amazing. This has been one of the best projects we have done together. I love that we worked together to help build community while learning and having fun.
What amazing projects have you done with your kids recently? Do you have any other fun ideas for building community? I would love to see pictures of your libraries or other things you have done with your kids.