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Activity books are a great way to keep kids entertained. Pack one of these activity or puzzle books for your next long journey. To help you choose, download an extract and you can order the book too!
If you want to know how your dog’s brain works, this is the book for you. Author Dr John Bradshaw is a biologist and anthrozoologist and an absolute expert on how dogs understand the world. With the help of Rusty, a terrier, he explains how dogs use their noses to ‘see’ things, how they communicate with each other (and us) and just how much they love their owners! It’s fascinating whether you have a dog or not, but if your best friend has four legs, then it’s a must have. After you’ve read the book, you’ll know so much about the best ways to keep your dog happy and why they behave the way they do. It’s a really accessible read and black and white illustrations by Clare Elsom make it even more appealing.
There are lots of reasons for getting yourself a copy of this lively, charming picture book! Not only is it a bright, fun way to tell children about different animals, it’s also a bright, fun way to get children moving, stretching and enjoying themselves. Pages of information about animals, from flamingos to chimpanzees, are matched by illustrated encouragements to copy their movements – stretch out your wings like a flamingo, scuttle sideways like a crab, wiggle your bottom like a bee! The text is great for reading aloud with a bouncy rhythm and the pictures are just as full of life. This is guaranteed to get everyone jumping up and joining in!
Over 70 fun activities for children | I wish this book had been produced when I first started teaching, I would have loved all the different ideas and the clear and interesting way the pages are laid out. As an experienced teacher, however, I found that many of the ideas, story starters and writing suggestions a little predictable. Nonetheless, the ideas/brainstorming pages were brilliantly written with some super ideas to inspire, such as the A-Z of character traits, the use of a dice to choose settings for a story and the work on genres and choosing better words. It is a very accessible book and I would definitely use many of the ideas included. As with any activity book, it is one to dip in and out of rather than follow religiously, but is certainly idea provoking and very accessible to both teacher and child. Its accessibility and clear concise instructions would also lend itself well to the parent who wants to work on some writing tasks at home, or for a keen, creative child who wants some extension tasks or a fun writing task to work on independently. A fun and well-constructed workbook that I am sure will prove a popular resource.
We all want our kids to be happy, but media stories about rising levels of anxiety amongst young people are everywhere; it’s worrying. This book therefore should prove really useful to many. It looks and is very accessible, and is full of practical tips and activities that will help young people feel more content, confident and in control. The authors explain that happiness comes from making yourself happy, and teaches you how to achieve that, through exercises and simple challenges. It also emphasises the positive effects of making others happy, or of contributing to a better world. The tone is friendly throughout and there are lots of charts to complete, plus frequent notes explaining why the activities work. Easy and fun to use, it places the happiness ball firmly in readers’ hands.
Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell wants children to draw more – in fact he’d like them to do what he does and draw every day. This little book is a wonderful way to encourage us all to do just that. In it he suggests something to draw for every day of the year. Some suggestions are quite specific: draw a family member being attacked by a household appliance; illustrate the word sinister. There are ‘how to’ pages and some very useful and interesting tips, e.g. look at your drawing upside down or in a mirror to see if you’re distorting your pictures; and lots of fun story starters too. Chris Riddell’s enthusiasm for drawing shines through, and you can’t help but feel inspired and ready to take up your pencils. Put this in a stocking or under the tree and you’ll prompt a year’s worth if not a lifetime’s happy scribbling. ~ Andrea Reece
Brain Factor is a colourful picture quiz with question cards that introduce children to the world around them. Questions feature number and pattern games, letter and blended sound recognition, shapes, mixed up stories, rhyming words and questions about the world. The questions for these age groups are picture based with simple supporting text and Milly the Mouse to guide you through. We asked a mum what she thought of Brain Factor - "Brain Factor are a range of quiz fans for children ages 3 – 7. The convenient fan format means you can read a question then slide just slide out the next card to get the answer. It is a good size for children and robust, so it’s perfect for popping in a bag or in the car so you can pull it out and entertain the kids whenever you need. A very handy product for occupying those spare moments while waiting for a bus or for older siblings etc. A great alternative to them playing on a screen. The questions cover a wide range of topics including number and pattern recognitions, shapes, letter recognition, rhymes and mixed up stories. The simple text for the 3-4, 4-5, and 5-6 fans are accompanied by colourful appealing illustrations. Each of the younger fans has an animal character who leads the children through the question and introduces them to the world around them. Milly the Mouse in the fan for ages 3-4 gets involved in everything from gardening to learning to use a pedestrian crossing. There were lots of questions in these fans that opened up broader conversations with my 3 year old daughter about the world around. She’s enjoyed going back to the fan over and over and I’ve found the question level well judged. She was able to answer plenty of them, but found others challenging. Each of the fans have somewhere between 130 – 250 questions so you get a lot of use from them. I think these fans are helping her develop skills that will be useful when she starts school, but the best thing is she loves playing with them." Vanessa Parker
Make 'are we nearly there yet?' a thing of the past with this fantastic book of games for the road from Lonely Planet Kids. Full of fun illustrations, and with a super bright neon cover, it's packed with word games, board games, memory games, counting games, spotting games, solo games, silly games and loads more entertainment for the road or home. Discover more at the Lonely Planet Kids website.
Invent 100s of games with friends and family | Featuring over fifty stylishly rendered boards, this is an interactive doodle book with a difference, and certainly takes the lingering trend for adult colouring-in books to the next level. Most of the book comprises unfinished boards for users to transform into their own tabletop games – twenty designs in all, followed by twenty-five sets of rules for players to choose to follow, each of which encourages creativity with suggestions for fashioning your own versions of classic board games. There’s also plenty of options for users to invent their own entirely new games, with a superb “Stuck for Ideas?” section that suggests fun themes and mash-ups, among them “Throne of Crowns” and “Uninvited Ghost”. There are suggestions specially devised for younger players too (for example “The Magical Maze” and “Lost Pets”) making this a compendium of creativity for all ages. Taking an average of half an hour to create each game and a further half an hour to play, this provides a plethora of opportunities to exercise one’s cerebral muscles while having a whole lot of fun.
The big puzzle book is just what it says on the cover. 250 varied puzzles, quizzes and crosswords. It is set out in sections with a variety of activities within a theme; themes such as animals, history and transport. There is a good variety of topics and within each chapter there are word, picture and number puzzles, making it interesting and accessible, something for everyone. The book is not geared to a specific age group but the range of ability within the questions and puzzles covers a wide age range and ability levels. The book is a great size, easy to pick up and perfect for taking on a journey. The pages are laid out in a colourful and attractive way and the illustrations and instructions are bold and clear. I like that it is one in a series, and I would imagine that the other titles are equally fun and entertaining. A fun book to dip into and always good to have the answers at the back to check on. Definitely one for the Christmas stockings!
A classic idea, revitalised with bright, modern artwork. Fifty amazing mazes, each one completely different from the one before. Each maze has extra puzzles to solve and challenges to complete en route, encouraging children to develop their problem-solving and visual recognition skills.
Shortlisted for the CLiPPA (CLPE Children’s Poetry Award) 2021 | A collection of new nursery rhymes, this is a book for parents and adults to share with the very youngest to spark a lifelong love of poetry. The judges call it a perfect post-lockdown book, allowing adults and small children to connect and share poems. It’s beautifully presented and perfectly illustrated.
Are you a super sleuth? Have you got an eagle eye? This book is perfect for budding detectives. Each page is a treasure trove of fabulously detailed pictures from the world of the Bible. Children and parents will have hours of fun trying to find people and objects from ancient times as well as scores of animals, birds and even frogs. And there's a wily fox on EVERY page to find too. As you exercise your brain solving the puzzles, you'll also become a real expert on the fascinating setting of some of the Bible's greatest stories including those involving Jesus, Noah, Abraham, Moses and King Solomon. There are Seventeen scenes in all. With lots to find, this kind of picture book is particularly great for reluctant readers and visual learners, helping all children get an overview of the Bible's history and content as they super-sleuth their way through the book. Warning: may be addictive!