Monday, July 26, 2010

Homemade Fun - 101 Crafts and Activities to Do with Kids


I don't how other parents are faring in the creativity department,  but sometimes I find it difficult to come up with projects for our kids. They are drawn to the television like moths and it's up to me to sideline them with cool projects that shake them free from the strings of technology. I have a few blogs bookmarked online to check for ideas, and failing that, cookie baking is our old standby. Some days, I desperately need a boost of creativity and this book is a treasure trove of ideas.
This book has an old-fashioned feel, with retro illustrations and soft colors.  The whole look is a perfect match to the projects inside. The intent is to offer parents a way of connecting with their children the same way that families used to do years ago. Instead of video games and the internet, everyday life used to mean putting an emphasis on the homemade way. These are classic crafts and activities, a throwback to simpler times. 

There is something here for everyone, as evidenced by the division of six chapters: Hand Sewing and Embroidery, Papercrafts, Making Jewelry, Baking, Building Things and Toys, Games and Pastimes. I like that there seems to be a pretty big age range. The Coffee Can Bird Feeder was great for us, but the Wooden Tool Box will have to wait a few years. Some are so simple that you may think to yourself "Why didn't I think of that?"  Heck, I made a handful of these in my childhood, and it never occurred to me that they would be perfect projects for my kids. Once I started looking through the book, I was reminded of the button bracelet I had once made and my homemade Tooth Fairy pillow.
You may be surprised by how much your kids enjoy activities that are far simpler than what they (and you) are used to. Some of the the most basic ideas in the book were met with the most enthusiasm. Shadow Pictures, Paper Cup Telephones and Big Bubbles were all popular at our house, with even more pages ear-marked for the future. It's true that kids don't need the latest and greatest gadgets. We found that some basic materials and a bit of direction will bring much more satisfaction. Take a step back into time and try your hand at crafts, games and toys that have been around for generations - true classics!   

Rae has previously written two related books: Crafting Fun and Cooking Fun.  She's obviously a super creative person who is helping the rest of us. 

Review copy provided by St. Martin's Press. 

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