We held our first book exchange for my kiddos earlier this year. It was fantastic. We did it at a double birthday party for my son and daughter, in lieu of gifts, and I was really pleased with how well it went off.
I’m only slightly ashamed to admit that once the party was over, it was kind of a nice break not writing thank you notes. Does that sound just terrible?
We figured out a few logistics along the way, so I thought I’d share. We had guests bring new books, but it went so well that we are thinking we’d like to try a back-to-school used book exchange. I think it would be a great, simple excuse to round up a few kids for a fun afternoon.
How to Host a Book Exchange
1. Be clear on the invite. Mention on the invitation that the book needs to be wrapped, or if used books are okay, mention that.
2. Bring at least one extra book. Have your child bring a book of course, but have at least one extra (you’ll see why at the end). I had two extras, just in case I ended up with a bonus guest or in case one of our little guests forgot a book.
3. Get everyone settled. Have everyone sit in a circle and pile the books in the middle. I recommend double checking that every child sitting in the circle has a book in the middle. (We divided into two groups, one for my son and one for my daughter, and two of the books got scrambled, this took some sorting out.)
4. Explain in advance. I found it super helpful with a group of kiddos to explain how the exchange would work, to mention that we’d take the time to open each book and be happy and say thank you, and that once everyone had opened a book they were all welcomed to make trades at the end.
5. Start exchanging. Choose who will go first, in our case, it was the birthday girl and boy. That person chooses a book to open. Whomever brought the book chosen is the next to go, and so on. Each turn someone chooses a book to unwrap, and the next turn goes to the child who brought that book.
6. The final turn. When it comes to the last child, it’s nice for him or her to have options, so this is when I throw in the bonus book. Then he or she can choose between two. Whichever book is left unopened I just save for later.
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