In the summertime, after the glow of being endowed with the riches of what at that age seem endless days and weeks of freedom, there comes a time when children are faced with the rare though significant opportunity of facing down their own boredom.
Such discomfort is the greatest gift of them all in summertime childhood. It seems to me that kids who grow up creating something fun / interesting or challenging to do are likely to be the leaders of tomorrow.
I would humbly submit that in the presence of a full agenda of lessons and camps, performances, culturally rich outings and vacations, accented by a full supply of toys, electronics and easy digital connection with friends, personal creativity is not often required or nurtured. There’s no time!
Certainly, some children are amazingly clever in concocting their own delights almost regardless of their circumstances. However, keeping almost any child too busy can arguably dampen the amazing benefits of being forced by abundant free time into indulging creative impulses. Boredom is the spur to seek out inspiration and opportunity.
Of course there are many more children whose time away from school is not crowded with an over-abundance of playthings, sleep overs, and adult-scripted quasi-adventures. While the lives of kids’ with little else can be crushingly isolated from their play- or age-mates, their free time, such as it is, can still be amazingly rich in vicarious world traveling vacations and rich cultural opportunities.
Having summertime access to a well-stocked school or public library, run by knowledgeable and supportive librarians, can infuse free time with rich and varied stimulation for the very kind of creativity that will serve them well as they grow and mature.
All that to say, that with virtually nothing else but a free personal library card and a little helpful guidance by parents and librarians, children who might otherwise find themselves fast heading down that dreaded summer slide are in fact building the powerful skill of making something magical and memorable out of an excellent book selection.
With each page turn, their creativity is fed the nourishment of rich language to process and share their thoughts and feelings. Given their daily interactions with books and print their reading (and writing!) competence grows incrementally and is solidified.
With each chapter or section, their knowledge of the world and the dazzling array of people in it grows and takes shape. Given the myriad of perspectives they encounter, their impressions about their relatedness to others in the world expands in comfort and flavor.
With each new check-out the breadth of perspective and richness of imagination are augmented. Given that the path that such children take through the library collection is self-determined; their sense of personal autonomy is fortified.
Since these benefits are available and beneficial to everyone, including those children with little else, it should be delightful to any parent to hear the whine of a bored child, eager for a visit to the library.