Once again the summer holidays are rushing towards us and some of you may even have already broken up. Where did that year go? If you’re like me this is when I start to frantically search for things to keep my boys out of summer time mischief in the hope that the holidays will be a pleasure for all of us and not a seemingly endless nightmare. So this week I’ve reviewed some fantastic children’s activity books currently on the market which are ideal to explore at home on a rainy day or tuck into the holiday suitcase to take the boredom out of travelling.
Eye Benders – Clive Gifford (author) & Professor Anil Seth (author). Publisher: Ivy Press (28 Oct. 2013).
This is an intriguing book for any curious child (or adult!) which illustrates clever examples of the power of illusion for the reader to test out themselves. This book generated repeated “WOW’s” and “EPIC” from my boys and kept them occupied for hours! They were totally absorbed in it.
CLICK TO BUY Eye Benders: The Science of Seeing & Believing
Infographics for Kids Activity Book – Susan Martineau (author) & Vicky Barker (illustrator). Publisher: b small publishing (1 Apr. 2015).
Infographics are fast becoming a popular informative design technique. This is a fantastic book for the visual thinker. Designed as an introduction for children on how simple, colourful pictorial images can be used as a useful memory aid for instructions and information. It is original, informative and fun with activities about people and the world around us as well as explaining how to read an infographic and how to make your own.
CLICK TO BUY Infographics for Kids
The Super Book for Superheroes – Jason Ford (author). Publisher: Laurence King (23 Sept. 2013).
Enter this book and “all you need are some pencils and pens and your very own super power……. ………your IMAGINATION! “
You can’t get a better quote than that! (Taken from the above book by Jason Ford).
This is an ideal book to help your child come up with the next best Superhero. It encourages character development; from designing their super powers and outfits to their sidekicks, secret hideouts and impressive gadgets with step by step drawing instructions, drawing prompts, pop-out masks and stickers too.
CLICK TO BUY The Super Book for Super-Heroes
How to be the Best Bubble Writer in the World Ever! – Linda Scott (author). Publisher: Laurence King; Act Csm ed. (31 May 2011).
This is an earlier version of Linda Scott’s latest activity books “My Monster Bubble Writer Book” (published May 2013) and “My Amazing Bubble Writer Stationery Kit” (published Oct 2013) but in my opinion it’s still worth a mention in this line up. It teaches the children to experiment with typefaces taking inspiration from animals, monsters and even facial features giving a whole new meaning to creative writing! It shows how to take something seemingly mundane and simple and transform it into something new and more exciting. Creativity at its best!
CLICK TO BUY How to Be the Best Bubblewriter in the World, Ever!
Amazing Minecraft Activity Book – Gameplay Publishing; Minecraft Library (authors). Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform; Act Csm ed. (13 Jan. 2015).
This is what you would expect from an activity book with the much loved dot-to-dots, word searches, spot the difference, crosswords and mazes and plenty of pictures to colour too – of course all with that all important Minecraft theme. Hard to resist for those mad about Minecraft!
CLICK TO BUY Amazing Minecraft Activity Book: Volume 1
Scratch and Sketch Solar System – Heather Zschock (author). Publisher: Peter Pauper Press; Spi ed. (1 Feb. 2006).
This book is packed with written information about the planets, space shuttles, asteroids, comets and constellations within our solar system. Each page has a scratch out picture to reveal and a space to draw your own ideas at the end. A super book for budding astronauts or astronomers.
CLICK TO BUY Solar System Scratch and Sketch: An Art Activity Book for Inquisitive Artists and Astronauts of All Ages (Scratch & Sketch)
Holiday Pocket Puzzle Book – Alex Frith (author) & Peter Allen (illustrator). Publisher: Usborne Publishing Ltd (1 Jun. 2013).
Pocket sized is always a help when packing space is limited! The blurb on the back of this little book says “mazes, picture puzzles, wordsearches, number problems and much, much, more.” The key here is the “much, much, more” part! It gets the children to follow clues, break codes, to consider perspective and consequences. It is very well thought out with something suitable for all ages.
CLICK TO BUY Holiday Pocket Puzzle Book (Pocket Puzzle Books)
Write and Draw Your Own Comics – Louie Stowell (author), Jess Bradley (illustrator), Neill Cameron (illustrator), Freya Harrison (illustrator), Laura Howell (illustrator), Adam Larkum (illustrator) & Igor Sinkovek (illustrator). Publisher: Usborne Publishing Ltd (1 Oct. 2014).
Graphic art and comic design is a specialised skill as it combines so many aspects of story creation. From making up characters, drawing them in action mode, showing how to incorporate speech bubbles and sound effects, pulling together the plot, highlighting good vs. bad and exciting adventure, this book has it all. Follow this book’s creative and clear instructions and you will be well on your way to becoming a comic artist. This could be the ideal book to encourage reluctant creative writers.
CLICK TO BUY Write and Draw Your Own Comics
Paper Play – Lydia Crook (author). Publisher: Ivy Press (7 May 2013).
My two boys love origami and cutting and sticking paper shapes onto their masterpieces so armed with scissors, pens and glue sticks this book made the perfect addition to their craft box. It got them ripping, tearing, folding, scrunching, spinning, layering, snipping. They made paper dolls, tricks, planes, bookmarks and towns. A piece of paper can be so much more if you want it to be.
CLICK TO BUY Paper Play: Roll it. Rip it. Fold it. Snip it!
Maps Activity Book – Aleksandra Mizielinska (author) & Daniel Mizielinski (author). Publisher: Big Picture Press (1 Jul. 2014).
This is not like the school geography lessons I remember! This is far more engaging with interesting facts and inventive ideas to draw and colour, from the animals, population, places, food and landscape of different countries to designing your own flag or creating a map of an imaginary country. By making learning interactive the facts become so much easier to remember.
CLICK TO BUY Maps Activity Book
I’d be hard pushed to name my favourite from this varied selection so hopefully there’s something here for everyone.
Source: Own collection.
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