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6 New Activity Books for Kids and Parents

by Jean Van't Hul
May 29, 2014

6 Awesome Activity Books for Kids and their Parents I am feeling incredibly sentimental and blessed at the moment about The Artful Parent and everything that it is and has become and how it has changed me, my family, and my world.

What started as a creative outlet and a way to connect with other parents has become more than I could ever have imagined.

What more could I ask for?

I’ve felt this and said this before, so what is prompting the current wave of emotion and gratitude?

Two things, I think.

The first is the stack of activity books for kids on my desk, and the second is that the number of people who are inspired to follow The Artful Parent on Facebook is now over 100,000.

But let’s take them one at a time…

First, The Stack of Books

I am a book lover to the nth degree and always have been. Ever since I was very young and we would make our regular trips to the library for the piles of books to take home to our little house on McKay Creek in Oregon.

(Apparently it started earlier with the mail plane delivering a monthly box of library books to our island home in Alaska, but my memories don’t reach back that far.)

I spent my childhood reading, my teens reading, my adulthood reading. Both fiction and nonfiction.

My teen hangouts of choice were the little Pendleton library on the hill or the wild side of the reservoir (with a book, of course)—a five-mile bike ride out of town and down gravel roads.

So yes, I love books.

When I first started blogging, I used The Artful Parent as an excuse to request review copies of books from publishers and authors and to talk to authors about their books.

I haven’t done that in a long time. These days I regularly receive books in the mail or am invited to participate in blog tours for new books.

I don’t share most of them. I’m terribly picky for one thing and often prefer devoting my limited time and blog space to Kids Art. Or, you know, rocks. I’m funny that way.

But I feel so fortunate to receive these books and want to share the current crop on my desk of activity books for kids that I’m excited about and will likely share more thoroughly on the blog soon.

6 Fun Activity Books for Kids and their Parents

Activity Books for Kids and Parents

Tinkerlab Book 1. TinkerLab: A Hands-On Guide for Little Inventors This post contains affiliate links.

Written by Rachelle Doorley of TinkerLab

June 10th, 2014

Order now and spend the summer tinkering, experimenting, and encouraging your children’s creative thinking.

I read an early copy of this one and was so impressed I wrote a blurb for the back cover.

From the Amazon description:

55 playful experiments that encourage tinkering, curiosity, and creative thinking from the creator of Tinkerlab.com—hands-on activities that explore art, science, and more. For children up to six years old.

Kids are natural tinkerers. They experiment, explore, test, and play, and they learn a great deal about problem-solving through questions and hands-on experiments. They don’t see lines between disciplines; rather, they notice interesting materials and ideas that are worth exploring. This book is about creative experiments, in all fields, that help kids explore the world.

101 Kids Activities Book 2. 101 Kids Activities that are the Bestest, Funnest Ever!: The Entertainment Solution for Parents, Relatives & Babysitters!

Written by Holly Homer and Rachel Miller of Kids Activities Blog

June 10, 2014

Order now for all the bestest, funnest kids activities to keep your kids engaged all summer long.

From the Amazon description:

Whether your kid is 3, 5 or 12-years old it’s hard to keep them entertained all day, or even for a few hours. But now, when they ask to watch television because they’re bored, you’ll have the perfect solution with this book. 101 Kids Activities That Are the Bestest, Funnest Ever! has time-tested, exciting activities to keep your children laughing and learning for hours.

Activities range from catapult competitions and spray bottle freeze tag to how to make tissue box monster shoes and melted crayon fabric art. And with outdoor and indoor activities and tips for adjusting according to your child’s age, you’ll have hours and hours of never-ending fun with your family.


This Book Was a Tree 3. This Book was a Tree: Ideas, Adventures and Inspiration for Rediscovering the Natural World

Written by Marcie Chambers Cuff of Mossy Mossy

April 1, 2014

Order now and be that adult in Rachel Carson’s wonderful quote:

“If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement, and mystery of the world we live in.”

From the Amazon description:

In This Book Was a Tree, science teacher Marcie Cuff issues a call for a new era of pioneers—not leathery, backwoods deerskin-wearing salt pork and hominy pioneers, but strong-minded, clever, crafty, mudpie-making, fort-building individuals committed to examining the natural world and deciphering nature’s perplexing puzzles.

Within each chapter, readers will discover a principle for reconnecting with the natural world around them, from learning to be still to discovering the importance of giving back. With a mix of science and hands-on crafts and activities, readers will be encouraged to brainstorm, imagine, and understand the world as inventive scientists—to touch, collect, document, sketch, decode, analyze, experiment, unravel, interpret, compare, and reflect.

Show Me a Story 4. Show Me a Story: 40 Craft Projects & Activities to Spark Children’s Storytelling

Written by Emily Neuburger of emilyneuburger.com

August 28, 2012 (new to me if not new to the world…)

Order now and connect with your kids through crafts and storytelling while sparking their imaginations and improving literacy skills.

From the Amazon description:

Children love to make up stories, and these 40 creative projects and activities encourage them to free their storytelling instincts.

Younger children will love making story stones and a storytelling jar and then using them to create stories of their own, while older kids will enjoy word grab bags, story walks, and journaling exercises.

For everyone ages 5 to 12, whatever their reading level, this book has everything needed to spark an infinite number of child-created stories.

My First Bird Book and Bird Feeder 5. My First Bird Book and Bird Feeder

Written by Sharon Lovejoy of SharonLovejoy.com

October 9, 2012  (new to me if not new to the world…)

Order now and watch as the birds of your neighborhood visit the window-mount birdfeeder and captivate the whole family.

From the Amazon description:

A great way to introduce kids to nature and the joys of bird-watching, My First Bird Book and Bird Feeder combines a full-color illustrated field guide and activity book with a custom-designed, sky blue window feeder.

Sharon Lovejoy, author of Toad Cottages and Shooting Stars, Sunflower Houses, and other uplifting nature and gardening titles, brings her expertise and artistic sensibility to this joyous guide to 34 backyard birds, from the zippy Ruby-throated Hummingbird to the clever Chickadee, who grows extra brain cells during the winter to help remember hidden stashes of food. Lively text delves into each bird’s diet, behavior, range, nests, habitat, and calls; the watercolor illustrations are expressive and meticulously detailed. Additionally, readers will learn how to create a bird journal and whip up a batch of bird food.

The feeder is generous, shaped like a house, fully open in the front for the birds, and with side windows and a porthole for the viewer. The roof protects the feed, and the bottom lip folds open for easy cleaning. Two suction cups hold the feeder to a window.

Dads Book of Awesome Science Experiments 6. Dad’s Book of Awesome Science Experiments: From Boiling Ice and Exploding Soap to Erupting Volcanoes and Launching Rockets, 30 Inventive Experiments to Excite the Whole Family!

Written by Mike Adamick of MikeAdamick.com

Released April 18th, 2014

Order now as an awesome Father’s Day gift and a great way to connect with kids over fun science experiments.

From the Amazon description:

The science behind, “But, why?”

From Rock Candy Crystals to Magnetic Fields, each of these fun science projects features easy-to-understand instructions that can be carried out by even the youngest of lab partners, as well as awesome, full-color photographs that guide you through each step. Complete with 30 interactive experiments and explanations for how and why they work, this book will inspire your family to explore the science behind:

  • Chemistry, with Soap Clouds
  • Biology, with Hole-y Walls
  • Physics, with Straw Balloon Rocket Blasters
  • Planet Earth, with Acid Rain
  • The Human Body, with Marshmallow Pulse Keepers

Best of all, every single one of these projects can be tossed together with items around the house or with inexpensive supplies from the grocery store. 

Thank you!

How did I get so lucky as to have authors and publishers send me their books for free, soliciting my opinion?!

If I had known this 20 years ago as a teen (has it really been that long?!) riding my bike the 5 miles out of town to read a book in peace surrounded by nature–  I would have been dubious, to say the least.

(Now, I’m not stupid. I realize that there are a lot of parents and teachers who read The Artful Parent and who often buy or otherwise seek out the books I write about here. It makes sense that a publisher or author might want to send me their books…)

It’s more that as a book lover, I feel so very lucky to be in this position.

This post has become longer than I intended. So I’ll share that 2nd reason why I’m feeling both so fortunate and yet responsible (the Facebook 100,000) another time.

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6 Activity Books for Kids

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