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4 Weeks of Frugal Family Fun: Library Reading Program (Day 12)

We signed up for our library’s reading program for the first time this year. I read a lot of picture books to Silas each week, so it wasn’t much of a challenge for he and I to reach his goal, but the girls have been very motivated to read in order to reach their pre-set reading goals.

Kaitlynn was so motivated, in fact, that she read 10 easy readers the very first day and then recorded all of their names on her little reading record. I’ve never seen her quite so driven to reach a goal — and it was fun to watch!

Today was the first day that we could go and pick up the prize bags, and the girls were SO excited. They’d been talking about this day for weeks, literally.

Truth be told, I was a little concerned that maybe the prize bag wouldn’t be much and it might be a disappointment.

Boy, was I ever wrong!

Not only did each child get to choose a free book to take home, they also got a bag stuffed with great coupons and offers from local businesses — things like free Kid’s meals, free miniature golf, a free smoothie at McDonald’s, free baseball game tickets, free ice skating passes, and more.

They were beyond thrilled — and I was totally impressed with the coupons and freebies. Some of them required an additional purchase (like an adult entree purchase in order to get the free kid’s meal), but some of them were completely free — such as the free McDonald’s smoothie coupons, free tickets to an indoor kid’s play center with inflatable slides, etc.

Once again, I’m so thankful for the free service that libraries provide. Not only do they allow us to read hundreds of free books each year, but then they offer amazing programs like the summer reading program — for free.

If you aren’t utilizing the resources at your local library, I encourage you to check into it and see what all they have available. It just might save you a lot of money — and provide hours of frugal fun!

Did you do something fun and frugal as a family today? If you blogged about it, I’d love for you to leave a link to your blog post below. Or, you can just tell us what you did in the comments.

Note: Since the purpose of this series is to encourage you to be intentional about fun in your home this summer, please only link up posts showing pictures/sharing details of fun things you did as a family today (or within the last few days). Posts that do not adhere to these guidelines will be deleted in order to make it fair for those who are putting forth a lot of effort to participate in this challenge.

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  • Kate says:

    🙂 I remember participating in our library’s summer reading program when I was young. Anything that gets kids motivated to read is ok in my book!

  • We participate in our reading program, too. My favorite prize the kids get is a large bowl with meat from Noodles!! We never go to Noodles as a family because it gets expensive so this is a huge treat for my kids!

  • Sara says:

    Our library program does the same- we love it!!!

  • Wanda says:

    How great for your kids!!! Cute pics.

    We don’t have kids, but I love our local library. I can not say enough about it. We love to read of course, but we get movies there, books on tape etc.

    Great resource…be sure to check if your local library has a book sale. Here I get great books, etc for cheap…when I am done with them I pass them on to a friend or donate them back to the library. It helps to provide extra revenue for the library.

  • Sarah says:

    Lucky! Ours is small and doesn’t offer much. Today my LO swam in her kini pool for the first time ever. It was bought on TRU with a gift card and her brand new suit was purchased at the other day for $6 paid with. a visa rewards card I received from ExpoTv. Makes me happy. 🙂

  • Shelly says:

    Looks like your kids got quite a few items with the summer reading program. We did not do the summer reading program this year but we have in the past. We get books from the library on a regular basis and my mom in law is a librarian so we get lots of books from her. My kids are never for want of books. My son really looks forward to grandma coming to visit because she always brings books with her.

  • We love our local library – story time is a regular event as is the summer reading program. The kids always turn in their logs for free ice cream and free state fair tickets! Our library has an adult program too which is awesome, so every year we all hit the fair together for FREE!

  • jk says:

    My child received a free ticket to Legoland in her bag (with an adult purchase, which is about $70 now, yikes). I with it was the other way around.

  • Miranda says:

    We also are participating in our library’s summer program for the first time this year…today there was a FREE Python Ron reptile show that we went to, at the library. It was an hour long show with lizards, snakes and even a big spider. My kids loved it, especially my 4-year-old son who is totally into snakes right now. They also have a bat show coming up in the next couple of weeks and that one should be cool as well.

  • Angie D says:

    Agree, Agree, Agree! We should do some of the freebies together!

  • Jessica says:

    I don’t know what I’d do without our library system. Our system, the Columbus Metropolitan Library system, has been ranked number 1 in the country several times. I love it. I will vote for any and every levy they ask for because the services they provide are invaluable to the community. They truly serve everyone and the staff are friendly and helpful at all times. They are also very kid-friendly and my children look forward to going there each week.

  • Sarah says:

    Our library also has a great program and tons of fun kids activities in the summer. Barnes and Noble and Pottery Barn Kids also both have great programs with a free book as the prize-PBK requires you read the 12 books they specify (all Caldecott winners), which is a bit of a pain but kind of fun for us to seek out those books. BandN had a fun kick-off party with prizes, stickers, face-painting, and giveaways. My daughter has also been really motivated to earn her free books!

  • Julie says:

    Although we can use any library in the state, we must go to our “home” library to participate in the summer reading program. Our home library is 18 miles away — there are at least two that are closer, but they’re in different school districts. I think reading is so important, though, that we make the trek weekly. Our little, underfunded library limits my son to four books at a time. So far his weekly prizes have been a pencil and a plastic book bag.

    I remember participating in a summer reading program when I was a child. We didn’t get prizes, but I loved for read anyway. I still do. My son is not a reader to begin with, and this program does not motivate him any further. We participate, though, because I think it’s important to support programs like this.

    • JK says:

      The number of people utilizing their public libraries has risen in the past few years. Since we’re in a recession, organizations, like libraries, have even more limited budgets. Be thankful that your library is opened and your son can check out books. Our libraries have been cut from seven day service to five day service with limited hours. Staff shortages are rampart, where some branches cannot even open. Many libraries have cut their programming in half! Libraries cost money to run, and unfortunately, states and cities do not feel a need to support them fully.

  • RuthS says:

    The only thing better than libraries is librarians 😉

    • Crystal says:

      Yup, I think that’s about right. 😉

      By the way, I was super excited to see that you actually thought one of the fiction books I read last week was a good choice. Totally made my day! 🙂

      • RuthS says:

        Awesome! I have read a lot of Susan’s books. Looking over my Goodreads list, it looks like Lady in Waiting was the one I rated the highest. But that whole series you started is good too 🙂 I can remember the plots of both, which sometimes doesn’t happen with as much as I read 😀

  • Michelle says:

    Yes, I love the library and it’s free – kind of. I do notice the amount we pay on both our winter and summer taxes in Michigan, and it hundreds per year. While I think prizes to encourage reading are fantastic, I wonder about some of the speakers, yoga nights, and other cost-items during these times. I’d love to see the money spent mostly on books. Your prize bags were awesome, what fun!

    • JK says:

      In larger libraries, most are given a budget to spend on programming. Every branch used to be given $200 per month; now, we’re slashed to $0. Performers cost money!

      Books are normally ordered through a book distribution service and then sent randomly to branches. Again, this is for large library systems, not smaller, independent libraries. I never order books for my patrons anymore, as this is what my library system has decided to do.

      Here is a great calculator to use to see how much utilizing the library saves your family per year —

      Keep in mind, it’s a guesstimate, but it amazes families how much these items actually cost and how much they save by using the local library!!

  • Marie says:

    I love the library but unfortnately in our area they don’t do much til the kids are in 1st grade for the summer reading program. However, that’s okay because we still enjoy getting out books. Our local park has events on Tuesday like a reptile show, bands, and other activities for kids that’s alot of fun.
    It was so hot here yesterday we couldn’t be outside so we had alot of inside imagination going on. All three kids became pirates!

  • Lee says:

    We go to the library weekly and love the summer reading program! Although our library makes us wait until August to turn in our reading slips we usually have them finished by now. However the free books they have to pick from are amazing, Usborn books! They also get freebies and coupons in their bag, but not as many. This year they are having a carnival in september for people who completed the program and they can’t wait!

  • Judy says:

    We have the same reading log…I’m excited to see what my kids get from the library :). Thankfully my kids love books so reading is always happening, but it’s nice to have one more incentive.

  • I also love the summer reading program it is great fun for the kids and they stay learning all summer. Our library also has a couple of other great programs such as a read and slash for preschoolers where they can go to the local pool for free and listen to a story and swim for about an hour.

    • JK says:

      We just had a Read and Bowl at our library. The kids signed up for summer reading, had a story read to them, and then played bowling and had a snack!! Over 300 kids attended. Gotta love the library!!

  • Jessica says:

    I will always remember being a kid and playing “spa” or “salon”. using the stack of various brushes (never hot tools), cucumbers, my uncle playing so we had two clients to two workers, even letting us paint his nails (which he removed later)

  • Amie says:

    My boys have the same reading log. They are too young to read so I have been reading them their picture books. They love it. We went to the library today for story time – which includes a video and a puppet show, and checked out 16 more books to read this week. They’ve reached 25 books, but I want to hit 50 for the big prize bag. lol.

  • We also love libraries! I’m convinced taking my children to storytimes and checking out books almost every week is why my older ones devour books. We have to MAKE them stop reading to get up and move their bodies!

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