Preschool Teacher Ideas for a Library Theme

Preschool teacher talking to students in library
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A trip to the library becomes an engaging learning opportunity for your preschool students with a little creativity. Themed library activities get the kids excited to explore the shelves of books and resources. They also learn about how the library works. Connect the activities back to your classroom themes for a memorable and educational trip to the library.

1 Public Library Tour

Your students are familiar with your classroom library, but a public library offers many more opportunities for learning and exploration. Schedule a time with a nearby library for your students to have a tour. This gives the kids a chance to meet the librarians and hear what they do everyday to keep the library running. They may even get a glimpse behind the scenes to see how the librarians sort the books to go back on the shelves. If possible, schedule the tour during a library story time so your students can participate.

2 Themed Book Project

Choosing a theme teaches your preschoolers how they can use the library to find information. The current classroom theme that you're using for other learning activities works well as the focus for the trip. You also can choose a general theme, such as transportation, animals or seasons. Help the kids find books on the chosen topic. If you have extra adult helpers, divide the kids into groups with an adult assigned to each group. Let the kids watch as the adults enter the selected theme into the library's online catalog to find relevant books. Even though they're not old enough to use it yet, this activity teaches the preschoolers how the library works. When you head to the shelves to find the books, discuss how the books are arranged so the preschoolers understand they are shelved in a planned and organized way. When you get back to the classroom, use the selected books for projects on the topic.

3 Scavenger Hunt

A scavenger hunt is an interactive way to familiarize preschoolers with the library. Walk through the library ahead of time to spot the features you want the kids to see. Ideas include the book return, circulation desk, children's area, computers and a certain type of book. Make a list of the areas you want the kids to find. If you have parent volunteers, set up one at each spot on the list so they can give the kids stamps or stickers for that item.

4 Classroom Library Learning

If you can't make a trip to a public library, make the most of your preschool classroom library. This is an ideal time to organize your library if you don't already have some sort of organizational system. Using plastic tubs with labels to show the type of book helps the preschoolers find books. Set up a desk near the shelves to create a librarian station. Include a basket as the book return just like a real library. Print library cards for your students to use in the classroom. The preschoolers can take turns playing the librarian role, including checking out books for other kids and putting the returned books back on the shelf.

Based in the Midwest, Shelley Frost has been writing parenting and education articles since 2007. Her experience comes from teaching, tutoring and managing educational after school programs. Frost worked in insurance and software testing before becoming a writer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education with a reading endorsement.