For many families, one of the saddest closures during the pandemic has been our public libraries. While some cities have created library pick-up solutions and e-books have become more readily available to download, surprising your child with a spontaneous new stack of physical books is harder to come by. Which is where a kids book swap comes in.
Below, our friends at Barefoot Books—publishers of an impressive array of modern and diversity-themed titles—break down their tips for how to start a kids book swap or “lending library” system to keep your kid’s reading options fresh and economical. Not to mention, it’s a fun way to have your child interact with friends and classmates when they’re not able to pal around IRL.
What You’ll Need:
Several picture books (or chapter books for independent readers)
Tote bag or box
Reading log (here’s a FREE printable!)
Paper, glue, and colored pencils or markers
Printed “Book Review” forms (here’s a FREE printable!)
How To Set Up Your Swap:
1. Reach out to another family to invite them to do a book exchange.
2. Ask your child to select a few books that they’d like to lend to a friend.
3. Label the inside of each book with your child or family’s name so that the recipient family can keep track of which books they are borrowing. This can be an activity in itself if your kids use the paper and colored pencils or markers to create decorative name plates to glue inside the front cover of each book.
4. Place all the labeled books in a tote bag or box for delivering to the other family.
5. Insert a book list that inventories all the books you’ve included. To make this piece extra engaging, print out and fill in this Book Log so that the recipient children can quickly indicate whether they liked each book.
6. Optional: Print out and send along “Book Review” forms so that the kids receiving these books can create book reviews to send back to your children!
7. Arrange to safely exchange book collections with your lending partner.
After you’ve done a first round of swapping books back and forth, try again with the same family and a different set of books, or invite a new family to participate!
For more screen-free ideas on how to keep your kids feeling connected during shelter-in-place, head over to the Barefoot Books blog.
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