When my friend Asia from Fun at Home with Kids offered me her upcoming book 150+ Screen-Free Activities for Kids to read, I was beyond myself with excitement. I have been a frequent visitor to her site for a long time, and I was very curious how it would get turned into a book. Moreover, I was looking forward to having a peek at all of the ideas Asia created for her book exclusively. Now that I have, I would like to offer you an insight into what you can find in this book, as well as a giveaway from the author in the end of the post!
The book arrived, and the first thing I noticed were gorgeous colours. Just like the site Fun at Home with Kids, the book was a treat for the eyes. My son appreciated it too. With a serious expression, he brought it to me and said, “Book!” He wanted to know what is hiding under its vibrant cover. So we took a look.
What I liked from the first glance was the organization of the book. I have a weakness for categories, labels and tags, and this book offers a solid structure. There are six categories of activities (slimes, doughs, paints, small worlds, sensory, do-it-yourself toys), and most of them start with a basic idea or a recipe that is further developed and altered, inviting further improvisation from the readers. Each activity also carries a number of labels under the titles that tell whether there are any allergy concerns, how long it will take to prepare and what age the activity is best suitable for.
This is my favourite part: Asia discusses a phenomenal number of activities, suitable for babies, in her book! You see, my son, who you know as a happy-go-lucky toddler now, has naturally been a baby just over a year ago, and I was on a mission to find some new ways to entertain him. On the one hand, babies are not very picky about their sources of entertainment, but on the other hand, they like new impressions, and it is best if they are coming at a steady pace. I looked for new ideas in other books, and I found that most of them describe ways of occupying older children. Not this one though. Quoting Asia, there are seventy two activities that include babies!
Most of the activities can be prepared quickly, with materials found at home or purchased at a grocery store, and that is great for a quick boredom buster. For instance, this afternoon I built no less than a frog world for my son in a quarter of an hour, based on an idea from 150+ Screen-Free Activities for Kids.
Budster has got a collection of frogs (mostly from Safari Frogs and Turtles Toob), since he is rather partial to them; this afternoon they got a pond in our homemade water table. Budster was delighted! He decided which frog is going to be “Mommy”, which one is “Daddy”, and the smallest one naturally became a “baby”. Daddy and the baby went for a joyful hop around the pond! Then the frogs played hide-and-seek under the lily pads.
What is wonderful about 150+ Screen-Free Activities for Kids is that the book gives an inspiration and base idea, while encouraging variation. So, after Budster’s frogs hopped around the pond for a while, he started looking for more props to add to the bin, and we found an acorn cup. First, it became a boat for the little frog…
Then a bowl for the frogs to eat from…
When we set the table for the frogs, and Mommy Frog started pondering aloud what they are going to eat for dinner, Budster responded, “Grass!” and, promptly turning around, got her a leaf off our lemon tree. Not something I would recommend repeating, but it was the first time I saw him so emerged and interactive in his make-believe world. When it was time for him to go for a nap, he carefully scooped all of the frogs and took them with him.
The frogs were wondering, “What is that?” So was Budster. His instinct told him to throw it in the water (his instincts are not always so accurate!). It started fizzing and bubbling, sending Budster into a frenzy of excitement. He ran in circles around the table, making happy exclamations. It was wonderful to see!
I found it interesting that, while in my opinion, the idea that it was not an ordinary bath bomb, but a hatching egg, was the best, Budster showed anxiety when he realized that something was getting out of the egg. So he stepped aside, and I cleaned the last bits off his new toy… It was another frog! Once he realized it, he was happy again, and the red frog joined the rest of the family. We are definitely going to try hatching eggs again! As a matter of fact, I am planning to make a couple for his Christmas stocking. It worked its fizzy magic, and Budster’s reaction was unforgettable. We are also anxious to build the Erupting Volcano world and the Dragon world from the book!
Speaking of gifts, Asia has put together a fun sensory kit that would make a very creative gift for new parents, grandparents, preschool teachers and friends with children. It consists of the book 150+ Screen-Free Activities for Kids and fifteen materials like cornstarch, shaving cream, flour, cotton balls, food coloring – the great idea is that you can make half of the activities from the book, using this list only! It would make an exciting gift for the whole family, and it costs only 40 dollars, including the book.
You can also win a gift from Asia! Enter the giveaway, and if you win, you can get one of the handmade toys from the book!
If you liked this, you may be interested in:
– How to Make Waldorf-Inspired Nature Blocks: cut the blocks to build nature-inspired small worlds – we added some of our bricks to the pond here!
– Ice Age Sensory Play: mix snow, ice and candles to create a winter fairy-tale in the sensory bin
– Ocean in the Bin: read about how we went to the aquarium, then built one at home