I am a self-proclaimed “play-based minimalist parent”. I work hard to keep toys and play simple for my child. When it comes to books though, my minimalist nature goes out the window!
Maybe you are like me and you have worked hard to create a library of books for your children to enjoy. But maybe you are also like me and need a little extra help with your book organization. I have found a book solution that has really worked for my family and I am excited to share it with you all. We have five places that we keep our children’s books:
-Home Library Cupboard
-Library Book Bin
We have a cupboard in our house that we keep the majority of our children’s books. We use this as our home library for our daughter. It is not somewhere that she has full access to, rather a place for me to house the books that are not in our current rotations throughout the house.
Like many of you, our bedtime routine consists of reading books. Our daughter gets to choose 3-5 books a night for my husband and me to read to her before she falls asleep. I keep about ten picture books out in her room for her to choose from. We also read these books throughout the day. Children reap so many benefits from reading books multiple times, so I only rotate this collection about every two weeks. If I notice there is a book that she never chooses, I pull that one out of the collection and put it back in our home library storage cupboard.
I also keep two little baskets of board books out for her. These baskets only hold 3-4 books each, so it is not overwhelming for her to choose which ones she wants to read. We frequently find her reading these to her baby dolls or the dogs during free play time at our home.
I like to have multiple places in the house for books so that they are involved in play. One of my favorite ways to encourage reading is to integrate it into play. I place themed-based books, based on whatever learning theme we are doing at her playgroup, in our playroom space. I often surprise her by creating a fun little library set up for her the day that I switch the books out. Then, I keep these books in a designated small bookshelf for her to access while playing.
So if we are learning about dogs, I will select about 6 dog books out. Some of these books we will do learning activities with, some we will simple read together. These books are rotated every week so there is a lot of excitement about these because they are all very new to her each week. If there is a favorite from there, I often add it to her bedtime books in her room so that we can read it more.
If your child attends a preschool, check in with their teacher and let them know that you are trying to set up a themed bookshelf at home. I am sure they would be happy to share what their upcoming themed units are at school so you can plan your home library too. If you don’t have a designated playroom, a living room is a great place for this mini shelf as well!
Part of our weekly rhythm is to go to the library. We have a basket that we take with us each week. Here’s the trick- the library books stay in that basket for storage. I was struggling to keep the library books separate and ensure that they didn’t get ripped, spilled on or mixed in with the rest of our books. So, I decided to make lunchtime our special library book real aloud time. I keep the bin in the dining room and we pull out the books for me to read to her as we eat our lunch. It is a great solution for us because it sets a nice calming tone around lunch that transitions well into a post-lunch nap and it keeps her focus so she will finish eating her meal.
When she is done eating, I usually wipe up her table and let her read some of them independently while I clean up lunch. Then, the books go right back in our library bin for lunch the next day. We both look forward to our lunches and special read aloud time now.
We have a basket that I leave in our car. It is the home to an extra set of clothes, diapers, a few toys and a good amount of books. We keep about 8-10 books in the car. She reads them while we are on the road and we can easily grab a few to throw in my purse when we are getting out of the car to go out to eat. When we are back in the car, the books can easily be tossed right back in the bin for next time. I must admit, these car books are not rotated nearly as much as the other books in my house. In fact, most of them have been in the car for at least a month now, but since she doesn’t read them very frequently, they are still exciting to her.
What a gift it is to give our children access to books! And what a gift it is to us mamas to have the book organization not be stressful! Read on, friends!
About the Author:
Natasha, Founder of Playful by Design
Hello there. I am so glad that you have come into my playful, simplicity seeking space. I have always had an entrepreneur’s mind with an educator’s heart. I am a nature loving mama of a sweet little girl. I am also a lucky wife to my hard-working college sweetheart, Zach.
When I’m not playing with Lydia, I sneak in some work. You see, I’m a self proclaimed child development nerd. I love learning about developmental levels and how the activities and environment that we create effects our brain function. I believe that childhood should be cherished, dirt is meant to be played in and songs are meant to be sung.
I research, I consult and I pour my heart into helping others learn mindful ways to help their little ones play and grow. My focus is on helping families create a happy home through gentle habit formation, family rhythm and minimalism.
And just in case you were wondering… I can be bribed by black coffee, raspberries and salvage wood furniture.