I’m always finding new things to do with the kids. I have 5 children so a weekend adventure can easily turn into a financial burden. There are ways to have fun but still keep the costs low.
My mom had three children. (4 but my youngest brother died of SIDS at only 6 months) We grew up in the LIBRARY. My mom was a single parent and she worked to provide a good life for us. After school we would visit our local Library. This is where some of my fondest memories of “fun” were created. There was a sign in sheet for computer use. Each kid had 30 minutes of computer time. If there was still time left after each person had their turn, there would be an opportunity for a second rotation. While we waited for our turn on the computer, we either completed our homework and was provided Homework Assitance or we explored and read the many varieties of books.
My son Zachary is 4. He’ll be turning 5 on August 11. He has shown a HUGE interest in reading. I am joyously proud of how well he can read. One day he was reading a book to me while on the couch. And just then it hit me!! We should visit the LIBRARY.
This past Wednesday we did just that!
In February we moved to a new home in a new city, Orange, NJ. Orange is only one city over from my home town East Orange, but it still unfamiliar to me.
The Orange Public Library is only 1.2 miles from my house. Which is a 6 minute drive or a 24 minute walk.
The kids had already been excited to visit the LIBRARY. They were ecstatic to be getting a LIBRARY Card. It was the talk of the house.
Each Library is different of course but the OPL consists of two sections:
The Adult section is upstairs for grades 7th to Adult.
The children’s section is downstairs for grades K – 6th.
Library Cards are used to check out (borrow) books free of charge but there are some requirements:
- Driver’s License or a form of Identification
- Proof of Residency (Car registration, Lease or Mortgage or any current Bill/Statement)
- Fill out an application card
- Parents Driver’s License or a form of Identification
- The child must be able to write their name independently
- Fill out an application card
- Ages 9 and under must be accompanied by an adult
My poor little Joshua didn’t qualify for a LIBRARY Card…. we have to practice his penmanship skills!
We visited the children’s section first because I knew the little ones have a shirt attention span. When we walked inside we were greeted by two lovely and helpful Librarian Assistants. They asked if my children wanted to join in on…. LUNCH?!
During the Summer, the City of Orange, NJ provides a free Lunch Program to children at the OPL and a Snack aswell. Since we had just finished eating lunch prior to coming, we declined.
On to the BOOKS! Each of my children filled out a Library Card Application. And they each were given a LIBRARY Card.
Guess what? They too had a compute use sign in sheet!
There were different size chairs and tables for children of all sizes. We read many many books.
Each person is allowed to check out as many books as they want and they all will be due in 3 weeks from the date of check out! The only exception to this rule is for POPULAR books like Captain Underpants, Dorm Diaries, etc. In this case, it will be limited to one book per series per Family.
Each of my children checked out their own books using their library card. They were each given a receipt which shows the names of the books they checked out (borrowed) and the due date for each book.
After we finished up in the children’s section. We made our way back upstairs. My daughter and I filled out our LIBRARY Card Application and received our cards aswell.
By this time the little ones were restless. So we sat in the car while the Librarian showed my daughter around.
We had a lot of fun and the cost of this trip was? FREE plus a little bit of gas and change for the meter!
The Library turned out to be a good resource for information. We are new to the neighborhood so I asked around and received info about:
- Programs offered during the Summer and in the Fall
- Information about Daycares, Preschools and Grade Schools
- Individualized feedback about the Orange Public School District
- Other valuable resources and information
Oh, the Librarian Assistant lives at the end of our street! My children got a kick out of that. But you had to see her face when we pulled up. It was almost as if she thought we were following her!!!
You don’t always have to spend money to have fun. It takes is a little bit of planning, preparation and organization.
Do you have a inexpensive or no cost trip you want to share? Leave a comment or shoot us an email firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear from you!