Baby Toddler Book Club is a monthly parent/early childhood book club founded in 2012 by a parent who was eager to start a book-themed playgroup!
One humid July morning, 7 moms and 7 toddlers gathered together for the inaugural meeting. Baby Toddler Book Club has been going strong (albeit in a variety of forms) ever since! Each meeting includes a group reading of a book, a book-related activity, and a book-related snack. Baby Toddler Book Club strives to select and feature high quality books; activities that are easy, inexpensive, creative, and fun play; and snacks that are generally healthy. We develop the book club “curriculum,” which means we decide which books are paired with which activities and snacks. Many of the activity and snack ideas are unique to our group, but many others have been adapted from educational resources available (and we always cite our sources of inspiration clearly). We share our experiences and information out of goodwill with hopes to inspire other educators, parents, and caregivers of young children to congregate, support one another, read, play, eat, and give!
Since its inception, Baby Toddler Book Club has included:
* Two Baby Toddler Book Clubs (ages 1-3 with parents)
*An Intergenerational Book Club (older adults at an assisted living center with young children of all ages and their parents)
*A Big Kid Book Club (ages 4-5 with parents)
*A Book Club Pals donation program for low-income children in our area
*Several specialty book programs in our community (for example: a Books and Bike ride with a local Kidical Mass group)
*Participation in online/virtual book clubs
*Guest posts for a variety of blogs and parent newsletters
From the Baby Toddler Book Club Founder, Sarah Miller, M.Ed.:
Hello! I am so glad you found your way to Baby Toddler Book Club! I have always loved books and after my first child was born, I discovered my passion for children’s literature. I started collecting children’s books and reading them voraciously to my (then) baby. By the time my first-born was a year-old, I was imagining all of the ways we could bring books to life and started dreaming of a children’s book club. I tested the waters out at home trying activities to go along with board books. I remember one afternoon reading The Berenstain Bears Inside Outside Upside Down (by Stan and Jan Berenstain) and getting out a big box for my toddler son to demonstrate the actions in the book while we read. The activity was so simple, but he LOVED it and subsequently fell in love with that book. I then knew I was onto something! After meeting a group of like-minded, book-loving, healthy food-eating parents at our local library, the book club came to fruition! Baby Toddler Book Club has been an important part of my parenting experience during early childhood. It has created meaningful connections and friendships for both parents and children and allowed us to discover and immerse ourselves in favorite books.
There is much research available that indicates the importance of reading aloud for literacy and development. My experiences have led me to believe that reading books to children profoundly changes parenting too. I am a more patient parent when I read to my children. Despite whatever day we’ve had, I’ve never stayed angry or frustrated during pre-bedtime reading—the process is calming to ME, not just my children. I am able to better address difficult questions through books. Like that time my not quite 3-year old asked how the baby “got in my tummy” or why people have different skin colors. I understand my children better because of questions they ask while we read together. I am better able to introduce my children to the wider world. Even with (and sometimes because of) our resources and best intentions, our perspectives (and thus our children’s perspectives) are limited. Books can widen those perspectives in vitally important ways.
This website started and continues as a labor of love. I look back at past meetings we’ve documented and see my children and the children of my friends grow up over the course of our book club. I’m fortunate to have this experience AND to get to share the journey with you through blogging.
Because Baby Toddler Book Club has been so meaningful, I encourage others who are interested to start their own groups. Please connect with me with questions by commenting on blog posts, emailing, or liking and following us on Facebook. Our Read with Us page (scroll below the form) has my tips for starting your own early childhood book club and a way to share with us what you are doing in your group.