How to Host a Kids Book Swap

Any chance you've read the same bedtime book 30 times in the last week?

If you dream in Mo Willems art, it might be time to mix up your kids' library selection and host a kids book swap.

A book swap is a great chance to freshen up your kids picture book and chapter book titles and even get your hands on some fiction and biographies that you've had on your reading list.  

photo of bookmark on pile of children's books

The rules to hosting a book swap are as varied as the books you'll find at one, but the basic format is simple.

Here's How to Host a Kids Book Swap

Start by inviting friends and neighbors to your house or other location - community center, school library, public library, church fellowship hall - to share in your book swap.

Send a written invitation on the back of a homemade bookmark like we did below or send out an electronic invitation.

To make our bookmarks we sacrificed on early reader book about a hot and thirsty dog. We cut out a few pages and glued strips to chipboard then punched a hole and strung a ribbon.

These will easily fit in a business sized envelope for mailing.

Plan the book swap for two to three hours on a weekend afternoon for best attendance.

You might ask guests to show up right on time so that the pile of books grows quickly and everyone gets a good shot at finding their new favorite book.

Invite guests to bring 5 kids books - invite families to bring a few titles of each type of book the want to share - board books, picture books, early readers, chapter books -  and 3-5 adult books to add to the swap.

When guests arrive, sort the piles by type - animals, board books, picture books, character driven, adventure, mystery, humor, and more. Just writing this is making me smile thinking about a character driven kids' book!

When most guests have arrived run it like a draft so everyone gets a shot and getting a title that they'll really like. Let one child pick one book, then another child and so on.

When all children and adults have chosen their first book, then move on and let the first picker choose her second book and so on.

For any books that aren't chosen, donate these to your local library or church or temple library. 

Photo of a few different handmade bookmarks

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Fun Ideas to Try at Your Book Swap

If you have an instant camera or want to create an extra memorable book swap. Snap photos of kids with their new book(s), punch a hole, thread a ribbon and gift them a souvenir book mark to take home and use that day.

Serve a few munchies that aren't too greasy so little fingers stay relatively clean.

Have a bingo, UNO or other card game going in the other room so parents can browse their titles If you want to get really ambitious, invite a local author to do a book reading and signing and offer a discount on her book sales at the event.

If this gets big, host it at the local library or community center and spread the word through local media outlets - mom blogs, neighborhood newsletters and school, community center and library bulletin board.

Set up a Tote or Paper Bag Decorating Station and present guests with these tote bags that they can decorate with Sharpies.

Have the kids draw their favorite book character and a fun quote from their favorite author, eg: Trixie's 'aggle flaggle arf!' from our family's favorite Mo Willem's Knuffle Bunny:A Cautionary Tale.

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Today is a gift. Let's put a bow on it!
Find creative and sustainable ways to make family life a delight! Sharing modern etiquette that kids will enjoy.
💕 jennifer

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