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Doodle Days Are Here!

DoodleI absolutely love to doodle – when I’m on the phone, listening to a lecture or when I’m a passenger in the car or on a plane. Somehow, I always manage to put a lot of hearts into my doodles. I wonder what that means?

Scientific research proves that doodling helps people learn faster by helping them concentrate better and retain more information. Doodle Your Day ($16.99, Gibbs Smith Publishing, Ages 8 and up) written by Anita Wood and illustrated by Jennifer Kalis provides children with the essentials they need to doodle their way into creativity. Anita has written many other doodle and journal books for kids.

What you’ll love about this meaty 225-page book is that it is chock full of templates that will get your children thinking and creating in ways that are so fun they will never even suspect they are actually learning anything. Each page has a title, some clever art work and plenty of space for your young reader to doodle away. Here are just a handful of the hundreds of doodle pages in this book:

  • This is What I Had for Lunch Today (with an illustration of a big empty plate to fill in)
  • Step in a Puddle and Splash Your Friend Day (with an illustration of 2 large rain boots to decorate)
  • Wacky Word of the Day (to use in a sentence and also illustrate)
  • Opposite Day (with space to write something with the opposite hand you usually write with)
  • National Gumdrop Day (with space to doodle a gumdrop family)
  • Find a Jigsaw Puzzle Piece and Glue it Here (then draw more pieces around it)
  • Babe Ruth Day (eat a Baby Ruth and glue the wrapper to this page)
  • National Hamburger Day (fill in the illustration of a bun)
  • Fight Procrastination Day (list tasks you always put off doing)
  • What Kind of Bird are You? (draw it)

There are so many imaginative pages in this book (a doodle for every day of the year in fact), enough to keep readers very busy. This is the kind of book your  child will get so much use out of and when he or she finally finishes every page, will cherish as a sort of drawing and writing journal to look back on for years to come. So the next time you see your child doodling, rather than asking him to pay attention, buy him this most creative and interactive book and encourage him to doodle away.

Reviewed by Debbie Glade

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Make it Fun!

I don’t often get the chance to review craft books for kids, but when this one crossed my desk I knew it was one that I would revisit again and again. Re-Craft: Unique Projects That Look Great (And Save The Planet) by Jen Jones and Carol Sirrine ($12.95, Capstone, ages 8 and up) is a bargain and a treasure because the projects included will cost next to nothing and what you need to make them can be found just by digging through your closets, drawers or recycling bin at home!

In over 100 pages, you will find step-by-step instructions, how-to photos and finished projects, tweens and teens can easily make any of these crafts in no time at all and they may even start a new trend.  There are so many original crafts in Re-Craft, but one of my favorites is Best Bow on page 98. Made from wrapping paper, this clever craft will help you use up all those wrapping paper pieces you’ve been hoarding in hopes that one day you’d have a very small package to wrap. I know this first hand! I keep all the small scraps since it seems such a shame to toss them when that good quality wrapping paper (the kind you buy from your child’s school fundraisers) is so darn expensive!

The book is divided into four practical sections: Old Clothes, Recyclables, All Natural and Paper and Cardboard with at least eight crafts per section. There’s a helpful and informative intro to each section and handy tips. So whether your crafter is seeking something fun to do on a rainy day or wants to make a friend a cool looking journal from magazines, this is the book that will make it all possible. Who knew recycling could be so creative?!!

-Reviewed by Ronna Mandel

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Fun Crafts and Activities From Pottery Barn Kids

With six more nights of Hanukkah and just three more days until Christmas, you might be taking a break from books. Maybe your children are already on school vacation and you’re looking for some new ways to keep them busy.  Try a little togetherness and a you’ll provide healthy distraction from computer games and other electronics. Perfect for the whole family, here are some simple and fun ideas from Pottery Barn Kids for hands-on holiday activities that keep you, and the kids happily engaged and entertained.

Check out these tips for planning a Christmas Cookie Exchange, including recipesinvitations and “how to” videos.

  •         Last-minute wrapping to do? Give your presents that extra little flourish of hand-crafted care, and try one of our creative approaches to gift wrapping. Make your presents even more magical this season with Starry WrapKeepsake Footprint Paper and Rudolph’s Nose Wrap.
  •         Share the joy of Hanukkah! This crafty Menorah is easy to assemble – and best of all, kids can “light” the candles on their own to celebrate each night of Hanukkah. Bring a little sparkle to Hanukkah celebrations with these creative Glittery Dreidel Place Cards. They’re simple for kids to make and add a fun element of festivity to the table – plus, they make great party favors!Plan your own Hanukkah festivities with tips and recipes from Pottery Barn Kids.

For more holiday ideas or for inspiration and advice year-round, visit the Pottery Barn Kids Design Studio.

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