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PROJECT KID: 100 Ingenious Crafts for Family Fun by Amanda Kingloff

PROJECT KID: 100 Ingenious Crafts for Family Fun (Artisan Books; $22.95) by Amanda Kingloff is an innovative new kids craft book reviewed by Ronna Mandel.
Kingloff, former Parents magazine lifestyle director, is a DIY pro so there’s really no need to go elsewhere.

—Publishers Weekly, starred review

Credit: “Excerpted from Project Kid by Amanda Kingloff (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2014. Photographs by Alexandra Grablewski.”

Here’s one of the best things about being a kid – making stuff!! Here’s one of the best things about being a parent, grandparent or caregiver – making stuff with kids!! Here’s one of the best things about Artisan Books – they’ve allowed Good Reads With Ronna to share the beautiful Bookworm Envelopes Project with you! Scroll down to find instructions then, after trying the craft, visit the Project Kid website at to get as excited as I am about the book.

I have a “craft closet” that has traveled around the world with me. I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of you reading this have one, too. I’ve also got hundreds of buttons I’ve been saving since the sixties that have been used countless times in a myriad of ways. Maybe you’ve been hanging onto your favorite old fishnet tights, or perhaps you stockpile single socks whose mates were lost in the laundry long ago … whatever you keep on hand (toilet paper tubes, yarn, mesh produce bags), I am confident you’ll find a creative use for them with Kingloff’s inspiring and easy-to-use new craft book.

After the introduction inside Project Kid, you’ll find Kingloff’s provided helpful Getting Started spreads showing Essential Tools, Crafty Materials and Household Items, all sharply photographed and well-labeled. Parents will appreciate the safety note, too. The contents pages describe the seven main sections of the book which are called Animal Kingdom; Hold Everything; Home Sweet Home; Playtime; Ready To Wear; The Great Outdoors; and Abstract Expressions. Additionally Resources, Acknowledgments and a Project Index are included. Plus if the book isn’t hands-on enough already, there are six Art Lessons throughout the 270+ pages from pom-pom making to fabric dyeing.

Alexandra Grablewski’s photographs in Project Kid are excellent and give such a good idea of exactly what each craft is and its size. Here’s a sampling of some of my personal faves: Needlepoint Flyswatter on pg. 52; Dolly’s Oven-Mitt Sleeping Bag on pg. 150; and Bedazzled Branches on pg. 224. I hope you’ll consider Project Kid: 100 Ingenious Crafts for Family Fun your new go-to activity book and wish you months of crafting pleasure with your family!  Now, don’t wait another minute. Pull your kids off the couch, put away any electronics and go get crafty with ’em!


Since this is a book review blog, what better project to share with you all than one involving old book jackets? I can’t tell you how many times my daughter removed the book jackets from her books only to eventually donate the books without said covers. What happened? I became the proud owner of dozens of abandoned book covers I couldn’t bear to throw out. With this clever project you can breathe new life into those old book jackets and bring joy to their recipients.

Credit: “Excerpted from Project Kid by Amanda Kingloff (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2014. Photographs by Alexandra Grablewski.”

69_Bookworm Envelopes.jpg
Credit: “Excerpted from Project Kid by Amanda Kingloff (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2014. Photographs by Alexandra Grablewski.”

Bookworm Envelopes from PROJECT KID!

What you’ll need


Dust jackets

Pen or pencil


Glue stick

Ruler or bone folder (optional)

1. Carefully pull apart the seams of an envelope.

2. Trace the flattened envelope onto a dust jacket and cut it out. Make sure to position the template over your desired section of the jacket.

3. Fold your new dust-jacket envelope to match the original envelope template and glue the overlapping edges together, leaving one flap open. (You can use a ruler or a bone folder to create good flat creases for your envelopes.)

4. Use a glue stick to seal the envelope for mailing.


Use these envelopes to hold receipts, photos, memorabilia, or a note from a BFF on a bulletin board—or use one to mail grandparents a thank-you note for all the birthday books they’ve sent.

68_Bookworm Envelopes.jpg
Credit: “Excerpted from Project Kid by Amanda Kingloff (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2014. Photographs by Alexandra Grablewski.”


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Origami Games – Original Fun



Joel Stern is the author of Origami Games published by Tuttle. The book contains directions for making 21 different origami models, and describes 22 games–both competitive and collaborative–that can be played with them. The models are all made from regular printer paper (8 1/2 x 11 inches), which means that a closetful of games and toys can be had for less than the price of a cup of coffee.

fill_er_upRecently Joel told me some interesting things about his motivation to write the book. “So many of our children have become addicted to technology, and have lost the ability and desire to make things themselves, and to use their imagination. Part of my intent with the book was to provide a hands-on, low-tech activity for parents to do with their children. Further, the cost of these games is negligible, which can be an important factor for families in these tough economic times.

chip_toss“My inspiration for the book was the ‘football’ game I learned as a kid, where we’d flick a triangle folded from a piece of paper over a ‘goal post’ formed by a friend’s fingers on the opposite side of the table. I figured that anyone who liked to play that game would enjoy playing other games out of paper. The models include a frog, dragon, basketball hoop, and zig-zag units that can form different shapes. The games help foster skills such as balance, speed, and accuracy.

“The book offers suggestions for using origami games in the classroom, and discusses the developmental benefits of origami in general. It also includes a template for kids (or anyone) to document their own games. In fact, I got many ideas for the book by observing the games that a class of third grade students came up with.”

slay_the_dragonBesides Origami Games, Joel’s authored three other books of paper crafts (origami and pop-up cards), which are described on his website:

Editor’s Note: Joel will be giving a workshop at the Slavin Family Children’s Library of L.A., at 6505 Wilshire Blvd. (the Jewish Federation building), at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, October 10. If you have access to Facebook, you can see that they’ve highlighted the book on their page.

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