Hands up all the boys and girls who are looking forward to 6 weeks of no school! And now hands up all the mums and dads who are looking forward to 6 weeks of no school!
Even the most dedicated and enthusiastic parent, yes, even me, can run out of ideas and be driven to distraction by the traditional summer vacation chorus of “I’m BORED!” Here are a bucket and spade-full of titles to replenish your store of ideas, provide inspiration, or just keep the little blighters busy on their own for a while.
356 Things to Make and Do: a perennial best-seller at ABC, flies off the shelves every summer and winter. It includes a crafty activity for every day of the year, plus one for leap years!
The Big Book of Science Things to Make and Do is in a similar vein, and another bestseller at ABC, combining crafty projects with science experiments using everyday items and craft supplies.
With a near-cult following, Martin Handford has been keeping kids occupied and squinty-eyed since 1987. Where’s Waldo? the Ultimate Travel Collection is a super tricky compilation of the first four books is extra small, and Waldo’s (or Wally’s for the Brits) hiding places are different to those in the original books! There’s now a new Where’s Waldo book out: The Incredible Paper Chase
Mini Scientist: In the Kitchen fills a gap in a market full of science experiment books aimed at the 8+ crowd. This is a really good science activity book for the youngest ones, full of big, bright photos, super simple instructions, and even flaps to lift! There’s a another book for scientists with green fingers too!
Make and Do: Cook is a compact cookbook for beginners with yummy child-friendly recipes on tough wipe clean pages. The book also stands up all by itself, and each recipe is one one page, saving you from trying to turn the pages with doughy hands! My favorite beginner’s cookbook is The Usborne First Picture Cook Book a little pricier, but the recipes are as simple as can be and come with step-by-step pictures making it perfect for under-fives.
Manga Doodles is a great book for the budding manga artist who finds drawing a manga from scratch daunting – here are hundred of manga drawings for you to complete or customize. Another book in the same series, Oodles of Doodles has a imagination-firing collection of drawings of just about everything to adapt.
The Dangerous Book for Boys, started a huge trend for retro books inspired by the Boys Own Annuals your dad (or grandad!) used to have. Full of facts, lore, techniques and activities to keep fathers and sons occupied for days at a time. (We stock both the US and UK editions – they are different!) The Daring Book for Girls and The Great Big Glorious Book for Girls quickly followed, and they do a great job of combining traditional girly pursuits with grrrrrlish ones.
Usborne have a created fabulous a range of activity cards that are great for popping in your bag on days out, leaving in the car for long journeys, and digging out at home in rainy days. They’re tough, wipe clean, and most of them also come with a whiteb0ard marker so you’re good to go as soon as you open the box. Our bestsellers include: