Left the world of sales/marketing to raise my 4 energetic boys. I homeschool. I do natural birth. I cook, play piano, scuba dive. I love exploring new places, especially with my family.

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Have you visited your local library lately?

With all of the super fun places to take your kids, I think the  local library is often overlooked.

I realize it doesn’t hold the same excitement as Legoland or The San Diego Zoo.  Or even a fun day at the park to some extent. But I think it is an underutilized gift in our communities. I’ll admit it. I love my local library.

From the time my oldest son was just 2 years old, we started becoming regular users of our local library. We have lived in two different locations since then and I will admit some local libraries are far better than others. But my experience so far in San Diego has been fabulous. The supply and variety of books, the extra classes and activities. And it’s all FREE!

As a parent, I feel one of the best gifts we can give our kids is a love of reading.  We go to the library at least 3-4 times a month.  Often even more than that.  My kids love to be able to pick out their own books to read. Anything from non-fiction books about bugs, volcanoes or the grossest things on earth to fun stories about nature, heroes, and families to chapter books including 39 Clues, Geronimo Stilton, The Lightning Thief, or even (much to my dismay) some Captain Underpants books.  They can check out books on Star Wars crafts and make Yoda dolls or put Han Solo in melted Ivory Soap (oh, yes, we did!).  There are books on CD to listen to, I Spy books, and more. And it’s all FREE!  Just be sure to keep track of all those great books because if you don’t get them back on time, that’s not so free.

In addition to access to all of these great books, the programs here are fantastic.  We recently attended a program at our local library on a Saturday morning honoring George Washington.  A professional story-teller came, dressed up as George Washington, and shared stories all about life during the time that Washington lived. He brought props to show the kids including games that were played then, wool from sheep and showed the steps to make clothes, the hornbook used in school for learning to write. My kids had a great time. And they learned too!

My local library has a Preschool Craft Time on Wednesday nights, Homework Help Tuesday and Wednesday evenings provided free by teens and adults. Preschool Story Time, and Children’s Zumba!  In March they will be having a special event of the Music of Ireland for St. Patrick’s Day. I know other libraries around San Diego have a variety of programs including visits from authors, Lego building, art instruction, pajama story time.  Go to your library and pick up a flyer with their upcoming events. You can see all of the libraries in the area and their events here.  And it’s all FREE!  What a great way to introduce your child to cultural activities, learn some history, or do some crafts and you don’t have to get the supplies ready or clean up all the mess!  Did I mention it’s FREE!?!

One of my goals as a parent is to instill in my children a love for learning.  And the local library is such a great tool for that.  So take your kids today! (Just watch out for those Captain Underpants books…hopefully it will be a short-lived stage like it was for my kids!)

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