Whenever I saw babies or young children, I would hand out papers about free or cheap events in my city for the kiddos.
As a young single mother, there were things I wanted to do with my son that I couldn’t afford. I especially wanted to inspire him to love reading and story telling as much as I do. Reading and Storytelling can foster a great imagination!
But, as a young mom, books can be pricey. So I had to come up with other ways besides buying at Barnes and Noble. No shame, I could walk around there for HOURS.
So, without further a-do here are some mom-hacks for Storytime on a Budget.
Meet the Storytime Dragon
When I was transitioning my son to his bed, I told him a Dragon Story. This was creativity on my part. I personally don’t like bedrooms having a TV because I think it keeps us awake and we sleep better. The lack of TV and light trains the brain to associate the bedroom to sleep. I also believe the same about light, for toddlers, this can be a stimulant and keep them awake.
Thus, the creation of the Dragon. It can be whatever your child likes. A unicorn, a princess, a character from their favorite TV show, whatever. Our story is the Blue Dragon (my son) goes on an adventure and I use other characters that they know. I’ve used Paw Patrol, Transformers, Spiderman, whatever your child is interested in. So, they go on an adventure and at the end Mama Dragon calls him home and she sings him lullabies.
I have about 8 songs that I sing to my kids now and have added a little pink dragon since we now have little sister. Made up stories are great because they can be whatever you want them to be. If I can, sometimes try to add a lesson about sharing or clean-up.
Storytime at the Library and Library Books
I know this seems very obvious to get free books from the library. However, they slipped my mind until my son was 6 months old and my cousin told me about Storytime.
Storytime’s are closed in my city due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, but they were great free fun. A lot of new moms don’t realize that libraries offer this. If anything goes back to normal, I highly recommend looking into them. In my city, they had songs, stories and theme based crafts.
Followed by Storytime, we received a stamp for every children’s book that we checked. When we turned in the stamp card, it entered a raffle to win a free book. It was a nice touch and incentive to check out books. Best thing about libraries is being able to check out different books at no cost. If you don’t like it, you can return the book.
And I know that some may be scared to go out and get books because of the pandemic. The libraries may still be closed but many have FREE apps to get books on their database. In Texas, we have Libby or Overdrive.
Scribd and Amazon Prime
Scribd is a cheap e-book subscription that only cost $9.99/month. This service has children and adult books, as well as audio books.
If you have amazon prime, kindle unlimited is a cheap but worthwhile investment as an add-on to Amazon Prime. However, Amazon Prime has an included add-on called Prime Reading. Prime Reading has less titles but has equally interesting book titles for adults and children. You do not need the Kindle E-book to read Kindle Books, you can just download the App to your phone.
All of the options above, including Libby and Overdrive, have audiobook options. Audiobooks are great if you’re exhausted and don’t want to read to your kids. The narrators voices can be very calming and you can scroll through Facebook in the dark. Haha. Moms deserve a break too sometimes.
Half Priced Books!
Half Priced Books also has a free Storytime – monthly, I believe. But, this company is known for reselling gently used books and giving them another chance at life.
I have always dreamt of having a bookshelf full of books for my kids, but the price of books really deterred me from doing so. Also, there are just great finds at the library and I can’t imagine turning it in and risk not finding the book again. So, we buy it at half priced books.
Tip* Libraries have book sells and the books are priced ridiculously cheap.
I let my kids pick out a few books and always walk out with about 10 books but only spend $15 or less. Our favorite find is called Armadilly Chili by Helen Ketteman. My kids ask for this book every night and it only cost us $2!
Storytime by the Bundle
The Book Bundler and eBay both have amazing book bundle deals on them. The downside is that you have no idea what you’re getting. The upside is that they often ship for free and you don’t have to go anywhere, which is a win because of the Coronavirus.
Both of these websites have deals for kids and adults in any genre. I, personally prefer eBay because you can sort by Author and Genre for children’s books as well. In the beginning of the pandemic, I bought 10 Magic Tree House books for my kids and I was able to tell the seller not to include the books that we already had. So, while they are random, we can make sure that there will be no doubles.
Join the Book Challege!
After posting this blog post, I decided to launch a blog challenge. I felt the need the to further inspire the community to get involved with books, especially children. We see so many kids lately with their faces in electronic devices – my kids included. So, what’s a better way than to start a book challenge for children? I am going to send out at form for parents to fill out of the books (10 minimum) their child reads or is read to. When the form is full, they can e-mail it back to me with information of their Amazon Wishlist ($10). The winning child will be picked at random via Generator Mix to ensure randomness.