Summer days have always been some of my favorite. As a child I looked forward to not having to do schoolwork and getting to hang out with my friends all day. I loved the “extra privileges” I received because it was summer, like staying up late, having ice pops multiple times a day, and getting to play outside at night. But the thing I think I enjoyed the most was not knowing what adventure my mom was planning for us next.
Growing up, sending three kids to Summer Camp each year was not a possibility financially, which meant Mom needed to get creative and we had to use our imaginations…a lot. Sometimes we went to the craft store and stocked up on supplies to keep our hands occupied. Other times it was a trip to the library where we loaded up on books and retrieved our incentives for participating in the summer programming. And then there were those times when Mom took us around the city so we could learn about its history; going to museums, driving down roads that were new to us, and exploring the outdoors. But my favorite times were when she would get a hairbrained scheme and create some epic events for the kids in our neighborhood. The year she turned our neighbor’s yard into a set from Double-Dare and had us all answering trivia questions and competing in physical challenges is something that will be in my memory forever.
As a child, I thought it was just a cool thing to do. As an adult, I see that it was so much more than just an activity to wash away the summer boredom blues. Not only did I practice my fine motor skills, learn about science and get my creative brain working, I learned how to work in a team, and I got to do all of this with my family and friends. These connections are what I remember most about my childhood.
As a librarian, summer is still my favorite time of year, but not because I get to eat ice pops all day. It is because as someone who focuses on youth services and family engagement, I have never lost my love of summer programming and I love helping my community create these memories together, just like my mom did.
We know that it takes a village to raise a child and that children learn by doing what they see done; meaning friends, family and community leaders need to work together and be that good example. Children are more likely to actively participate if their adults and peers are doing the same.
This year’s Summer Learning Challenge, Reading Colors Your World, strives to make learning a fun experience that friends and family can enjoy doing together in-person or virtually. Activities like geocaching, going on adventure hikes and walking the trail of the StoryWalk are all perfect activities to enjoy alongside one another.
There are dozens of hands-on science experiments, STEM/STEAM activities and DIY Challenges to pique everyone’s interest and curiosity. Learn how to cook meals from other countries together or form your own band and use the spectrogram to create your first song.
What’s unique about this challenge is that there is something for everyone and we encourage you to enjoy these activities together. The best part is, this year a new feature was introduced to all Beanstack challenges called Friends & Leaderboards. This feature allows you to connect with your friends and family on Beanstack, sharing what challenges you are involved in, badges you have earned and books you have read. Staying connected and challenging each other to go further has never been easier.
With just a few weeks left of summer, it isn’t too late to participate and start forming these memories together.
Eagle Rock Public Library