What is your favorite childhood story? Did you ever own a fairy tale that you loved like a friend? Did you have a book with torn pages that you read over and over again until it became part of your life experience? One of my favorite childhood memories involves laying in bed while my mom or dad would read me stories. In fact, I still remember one time when I was four and my mom went out of town leaving recorded stories on a tape recorder. The experience was something so simple, yet thirty-one years later I’m still talking about it.
Other than making my own stories, one of my favorite things to do with my daughter is to go to bookstores to experience fresh new books. We don’t even have to buy anything; our trips are very simple. I take my daughter by the hand and go through the children’s section selecting any books that look fun and interesting. The large version of “The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” a funny, colorful and tiny book about a mouse who wanted to learn how to fly, a giant map of the world for children… we’ll grab anything that looks engaging.
The next step, (and this is a must) is going to a cozy area where you can sit on a chair, couch or on the floor where there are not too many people going over you. We take turns, sometimes I read and sometimes my princess reads (even though she still doesn’t really read). We look at the pictures, we laugh, we make up our own stories to those images and we have an amazing time. To be fair I always give a “this is the last book” warning before going out of the bookstore. (I’ve tried it without giving a warning and it never goes well.)
Next time it’s cold outside, getting dark or simply when you want to do something different with your children, take them to a bookstore and have a blast. Who knows– maybe twenty years from now they’ll write a blog post talking about those simple moments when they sat with you as you read them new adventures that would stay with them forever.