Anna shares how to create a seasonal home library for children along with helpful ideas for fostering family reading rhythms. Anna Harpe is the Social Media Coordinator here at The Artful Parent and is the talent behind KidLitCrafts.
There’s something about this time of year that makes me want to turn inward. Our midwest air blows with extra bite and the days shorten, leaning into darkness earlier and earlier. It makes me wish I had a fireplace to stoke and knitting to complete. I don’t have either, but I try to create spots of cozy warmth in our home whenever I can!
Of course, in our house, books play a huge part in our seasonal rhythms. And as my kids grow, familiar favorites are becoming as cozy as hand-me-down blankets, well-worn touchstones reminding us of years past.
I find that pulling out fresh books every season helps to anchor and refresh, not just the kids, but also myself. It gives me a moment to pause and mark the passage of time- something that’s not always easy in the sometimes chaotic rush of family life!
Are you interested in creating a seasonal library for your own home? Here are some tips that will help you get started:
Seasonal Home Library for Children
- Think ahead
The best seasonal books fly off the library shelves. Plan ahead a few weeks (and take advantage of your library’s “hold” program!) so you can make sure you’ll have a copy of your favorites when you want them.
Easier said than done, right? I mean, how is it even November already?!?
I finally smartened up and let my phone do the remembering for me! So pause right NOW and set annual seasonal reminders to check out those library books early!
- Less is more
This one is hard for me. All too often, our picture book shelves are stuffed to the brim.
But as soon as I clean them out and place a few beautiful books on display, voila! Books are pulled off the shelves and read instead of fading into the background “noise” of our everyday life.
Every family and situation is different, of course, but I find that displaying 5-10 enticing books works best for us.
- Build your personal collection
Do you check out the same fall book every single year? Maybe it’s time to invest in your own copy! Support your favorite independent bookstore locally or through http://www.bookshop.org .
Thrift stores and library book sales are also great places to find seasonal favorites. Just be ready to buy them out of season- I’ve found some really lovely winter books at great prices in July!
- Make them disappear
I know, I know…. Your five year old just LOVES that Halloween pop-up book. I promise, though, she will love it even MORE next year if it quietly slips away after Halloween. My family adores our Christmas tree, but it would definitely lose some magic if it stayed around for 12 months.
Embrace the fleeting seasons and make those books DISAPPEAR. Return them to the library, pack them away in bins, and delight in the cyclical rhythms of our lives.
- Connect creatively
Okay, I’m admittedly a little biased about connecting creativity with picture books, but what an opportunity! It can sometimes be difficult to know how to incorporate art into your everyday life.
Let the picture books you’re reading act as a source of inspiration! This serves to center both creativity and literacy in your home. As you pull out those seasonal picture books, take a moment to think about how you can bring some seasonal creativity into your family life as well.
My Favorite Fall Picture Books & Creative Projects
Need some extra inspiration for this month? Here are some of my family’s favorite November picture books (along with ideas for creative extensions!).
- In November by Cynthia Rylant illustrated by Jill Kastner: We love this beautiful exploration of the natural world in November.
- Get Creative: After reading In November, go on a nature walk and collect interesting leaves, acorns, sticks, etc. Use your collection as a model for a November observational drawing.
- Almost a Full Moon by Hawksley Workman, illustrated by Jensine Eckwall: Based on a song of the same name, this book is a warm and joyful celebration of togetherness.
- Get Creative: Work together to make a delicious vegetable soup like in the story. But wait- don’t compost those vegetable scraps quite yet! Use the ends of vegetables (celery and carrots work well) as stamps for some fun printmaking art.
My Favorite Thanksgiving Picture Books & Creative Projects
- Giving Thanks by Jonathan London, illustrated by Gregory Manchess: A lovely book of gratitude in nature.
- Get Creative: Add a tradition of gratitude in your home! Find a few sticks that will fit in a vase or jar to create a “gratitude tree.” Work together to decorate the sticks with paint. Add wire, yarn, and beads if you’d like. Then take a moment each day to think of something you’re thankful for, write it on a paper leaf, and tie it to the branches of your tree. (I love this idea too!)
- Balloons Over Broadway by Melissa Sweet: This picture book is based on the true story of Tony Sarg, the incredibly talented puppeteer responsible for the famous balloons from the Macy’s Day Parade.
- Get Creative: Try making your own balloon “puppets” with balloons, permanent markers, construction paper, and tape! What kinds of creatures will your kids create?
- Sharing the Bread: An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving Story by Pat Zietlow Miller, illustrated by Jill McElmurry: This story follows a family as they work together to prepare a delicious meal- my favorite Thanksgiving book!
- Get Creative: How about some “cooking” sensory play? If you haven’t made your own playdough before, now’s a great time to try! (Try this no-cook recipe and get the kids involved!) Set out the playdough with real cooking tools like a rolling pin, mixing bowls, and muffin tins to inspire your little chef. Beads make great toppings!
Of course, I love posting about our favorite seasonal books and activities over at KidLitCrafts, so make sure you’re following me on Instagram for even more ideas!
My favorite Fall Arts and Crafts for Kids
The Artful Parent is a treasure trove of ideas! Here are some of my favorite fall projects from the archives:
- 13 November Crafts and Activities for Family Connection & Celebration
- Autumn Suncatchers :: Kids Crafts with Fall Leaves
- Fall Leaf Art with the Scratch Art Technique
- Thanksgiving Garlands for Kids with Finger Painted Thankful Hands
- 30+ Thanksgiving Activities for Kids
I believe we all can benefit from adding a little more rhythm, reading, and creativity to our lives. I hope you find these tips helpful as you work to build your own seasonal home library for children!
Autumn Arts & Crafts Ideas & Supplies
It includes supplies for fall arts & crafts (including the best paper leaves for painting!), autumn toys, Halloween ideas, and picture books about autumn.
Plus, we have lists of the best kids art supplies, open-ended toys, children’s games, and more!
This is an online workshop with 10 fun fall arts and crafts activities that your family can enjoy all autumn long. Use coupon code KASHALFOFF for $9.99!
Plus a bonus of 10 fall-themed drawing prompts!
Or just check out the blog post with the links… So many fun ideas for Thanksgiving!
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