Clean Out Cluttered Bookshelves & Stock Up On Summer Reading

May has arrived and it is officially the last month of the school year for my kiddos. This is the perfect time to host a book swap! It allows you to give your bookshelves a good spring cleaning and stock up on some “new to you” books for your summer reading collection.

As many of you know, I love reading! Check out what I read in 2018 here. A book swap is a great opportunity to acquire new books that come recommended from friends and save money in the process. My kiddos are more likely to give an unfamiliar author or series a chance if they know their buddy has enjoyed the book first.

How To Host A Book Swap

Pick A Date I find that the first week of summer works well. The end of school year craziness has subsided and everyone hasn’t dispersed for summer quite yet. We have also hosted swaps in July and November when a new book can be just the cure for a case of summer boredom or a great opportunity to stock up on rainy day reading. I set aside an hour in the late afternoon on a weekday to avoid conflicts with morning camps and activities.

Invite Your Friends My kiddos and I brainstorm a list of friends we would like to invite to our book swap. Siblings and parents are welcome to join in the fun. I find that hosting a variety of ages ensures that we will have a wide range of books at various reading levels. Once we have a guest list in place, we send out an Evite that includes the following details:

Plan Your Menu I like to provide a simple afternoon snack for our guests to enjoy. The ideal snack is easy to for guests to serve themselves, bite size, store bought, and unlikely to leave a trail of crumbs.

Prepare An Activity Setting out markers, paper grocery bags, and blank bookmarks keep kiddos busy coloring while waiting for the last of the guests to arrive and the books to be set out. Bags can be labeled with each guest’s name and decorated before being filled with books.

Often I set up the snacks and activity station outside to keep chaos inside to a minimum and ensure that we aren’t dealing with a giant mess after everyone heads home from the swap.

Display Books As guests arrive I ask them to set out their books on a couple different tables. I usually have one table set aside for picture books, another table for children’s chapter books and a third table for adult books. After guests have finished arranging their books, they can grab a snack or enjoy an activity until it is time for the swap to begin.

Swap Books I gather everyone in one room and explain the rules of the swap. If we have a large group I pick small groups to go one at a time.

Tip: An easy way I divide children into groups is by listing common breakfast items. Anyone that had a banana this morning may go pick a book…cereal…waffles…orange juice…etc…

I ask everyone to pick 2-3 books to start. Once everyone has had an opportunity to pick a few of their top choices, guests can help themselves to additional books.

Donate There are always books left behind at the end of the swap. Friends of the Danville Library accepts book donations to sell at their book store which benefits the Danville library. Another local charity that accepts preschool to third grade color picture books is Books for the Barrios. Contact them directly to schedule a book drop-off.

Our book swap is a low key event where we can enjoy the company of friends, declutter our bookshelves and gain new reading material that has been tested and approved by our guests.

1 Comment

  1. Amy Scott

    May 2, 2019 at 8:37 am

    Nice job. Love the idea!

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