WHY CREATE A COLLECTION OF SEASONAL CHILDREN’S BOOKS
Do you have a collection of seasonal children’s books? My passion is to equip families with the tools and resources needed to create meaningful connections and make lasting memories together. In my family, one of my favorite ways to connect with my kids is to read books together. To say that I love children’s books *might* be an understatement. Here’s a picture below of the bookshelf in our playroom… And this does not even include my collection of seasonal books!
My two little boys love to snuggle up next to me on the couch while I read Dr. Seuss or Eric Carle picture books with them. My two big boys enjoy building with Legos or dominoes while I read chapter books, like The Chronicles of Narnia, or Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, or Harry Potter.
I have no doubt that my four boys have developed a love for reading from their momma… (as I did from my own mom!). When I read “Go Dog Go” with my littlest one, I can STILL hear my own mom’s voice and intonation as she read to me when I was little… “What is up there on top of that tree? A dog party! A BIG dog party!” It is my desire that my boys will have many wonderful memories of reading books together as they grow up and I hope they pass on a similar passion to their own children some day.
Not only are books in general important in our family, but SEASONAL CHILDREN’S BOOKS are especially significant. In order to make my book collection a little more manageable, I have divided up many of our children’s books into “seasons.” At the beginning of each new season of the year, I bring up a new box of books from the basement to display on our bookshelf. The boys always look forward to looking through the “new” season of books and exclaim “Ooh, I remember this one from last year!” Or, “Mommy, is this a NEW book for this year?” Rather than allowing our seasonal books to get lost on the shelf, this method is a great way to add a little bit of anticipation to the beginning of each changing season. There’s comfort in recognizing some of the old favorites and assurance in knowing that this season and these books will be a constant part of their childhood year after year.
So, without further ado, here are FIVE EASY STEPS to create your own collection of seasonal children’s books.
STEP 1 – PURCHASE & LABEL BOXES
The first step is to find something to store your books in! When I was first starting my collection of seasonal children’s books, I put all of my seasonal books in one box. But I soon found that I needed one box for each season, plus an additional one for Christmas! I would recommend going to Walmart or Target and purchasing 4 or 5 plastic tubs (about 16 quarts each). You can decide if you’d like to include Christmas books in your “Winter” season box, or if you would like a separate box just for Christmas books. I have over 50 Christmas books in my collection, so I decided Christmas needed a “season” all its own! Label your boxes, accordingly: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall, and Christmas.
In order to make life a little bit easier for you (and a little bit prettier as well!) I’ve created a set of box labels for you. The set includes five 4.5 inch printable labels – one for each season, plus Christmas. You can download your FREE BOX LABELS HERE!
STEP 2 – START WITH WHAT YOU HAVE
You may be overwhelmed at the thought of starting a new “collection” and bringing more stuff into your house. But even if you don’t purchase any additional books, I bet you already have the beginnings of a collection on your bookshelves right now! Go through your bookshelves and pull out any books that could fit under one of the following seasonal categories. Here are some ideas to help you:
WINTER: Include any books that have to do with snow, snowmen, animals in the arctic, animals hibernating, getting ready for winter, sledding, snow activities, etc. I also include winter holidays like Valentines Day and Saint Patrick’s Day in this box. (March 17th is technically still “winter”!) Any books about love, or leprechauns, or shamrocks could go in this box as well.
SPRING: Include books about Easter – easter bunnies, easter eggs, etc. If you’re a Christian, pull out any books about the death & resurrection of Jesus. I’m sure you can find books on your shelf about trees budding, flowers blooming, birds, bunnies, baby animals, gardening, planting vegetables, etc.
SUMMER: Include books about playing outside in the sun, swimming, going to the beach, camping, cookouts, fireworks, patriotic holidays such as Memorial Day, Flag Day and Independence Day. Look for books about bugs, fireflies, spiders, snakes, salamanders and other critters that you see outdoors during the summer.
AUTUMN: Include books about starting school, apples, scarecrows, leaves, pumpkins, animals migrating, Halloween, and Thanksgiving. I have a few books about bats that I like to read in the Fall as well.
CHRISTMAS: You could include these books in your “winter” collection, or have a separate box especially for Christmas books. I like to get out my Christmas books for the month of December. Then I put them away and get out the “Winter” books in January. It’s something fun to look forward to, after all the excitement of Christmas settles down. In your Christmas box, you can include books about elves, reindeer, Santa, etc, as well as books about the birth of Jesus and the nativity story. One of my favorite things to do at Christmas is to wrap up my whole collection of Christmas books. Each day in December, the kids get to open one book and we read it together as a family. (They don’t each open one… just per day for the whole family). My kids love watching the stack of books get smaller and smaller as Christmas day approaches, and it also ensures that we actually read each of the books throughout the month. I also have several books about other winter holidays in this collections as well. I want my kids to learn about the celebrations of Kwanzaa and Hanukkah, in addition to our own celebrations of the birth of Jesus.
For a list of some of my favorite children’s books for each season, click on the following links:
STEP 3 – GROW YOUR COLLECTION OF CHILDREN’S BOOKS
Once you have your collection started and your boxes labeled, don’t feel like you have to go out and purchase a whole pile of books for each season right away. I usually add one or two books to my collection each season, each year. And many years I don’t add any at all! When you are ready to purchase a few new books for your collection, you can always shop at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, or “wherever books are sold.” Ollie’s Bargain Outlet is a great resource to find good deals on children’s books as well (Good Stuff – Cheap!).
But some of my favorite places to get books are from used book vendors. Yard sales are a great way to find children’s seasonal books, often for only 25 or 50 cents! Another favorite place I love to shop for books is www.thriftbooks.com. You can also find great deals on books on Ebay. I would recommend searching for a “lot” of books for a specific season (e.g. “lot of winter books). Retired elementary school teachers will often sell entire collections of their classroom libraries for a very reasonable price. It’s a great way to grow your collection quickly.
STEP 4 – UNPACK YOUR BOX
At the beginning of each season, I bring my box of books out of storage for that season. I like to transfer the books into a basket that I keep on the bookshelf in our living room. You’re welcome to keep your books right in your labeled box, of course! I simply use a basket for decorative purposes. As you pack away the books from the previous season, take note of which ones you didn’t like as much, or which ones your children weren’t really interested in. You can always donate books that you don’t want anymore to your local thrift store.
STEP 5 – READ WITH YOUR KIDS!
This, by far, is the most important step! I honestly believe that reading to your children is one of the most valuable gifts you can give them while they are little. By consistently reading together, you will create connections with your children and instill in them a love for reading that will last a lifetime. Reading aloud to your children (even AFTER they can read on their own!) develops much needed literacy skills that will serve them the rest of their lives. Books open up a world of adventure, right in your own living room. Books help children learn about other cultures and places and people and your kids will begin to develop empathy for children who are different than they are. Books build a bond of belonging in your family that will communicate to your children that they are highly valued and deeply loved.