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StorkNet's Bookshelf
The Arts and Crafts Busy Book
by Trish Kuffner
Reviewed by Sonja Hed Brown

(Feature Source) It's summer. This means the sun is shining and my kids are busy, happily playing all day, everyday. Right. As a mother of four children, I can tell you that not every summer day is bliss. In fact, in our household I dread nothing quite as much as the words, "Mom, I'm bored." That statement is a sure-fire sign that if I don't take action quickly, a pleasant day is about to turn whiny and miserable.

Thank goodness for Trish Kuffner's book. She's a genius. As a mother of five children (and a homeschooling parent) she understands firsthand, how to come to the rescue in fun, creative ways that are sure to keep young children happy and me not confined to continuous supervision duties.

"The Arts and Crafts: Busy Book" is the fourth book in this highly successful "Busy Book" series. After using this book, it is clear to me why this series has sold more than 850,000 copies. In my opinion, the books keep getting better and this might just be her best book.

At first glance, this book might seem like just another craft book, but that would be wrong. In our household, it is a must have reference tool to keep at the ready. Every time we flip through this thick, 404-page book, there is something the kids find interesting and want to do.

Kuffner, always thinking, has provided a four-page suggested list of materials to have available in your home. This easy guide makes it simple to stock up on craft materials to have at the ready. However, the best part of her list is most of the things on it can already be found somewhere in your house.

One of the neat things about this book is it includes a combination of new and old favorite crafts, so you can find some of your old lost favorites while having plenty of new things to try. Our copy has been thumbed through so many times it already has a worn feel and all of our favorites pages are dog-eared so we can find them quickly.

One of my personal favorite crafts in the book is the Marker Play. What a brilliant idea! Our house, like most houses, always has a bucket of dried up markers with lost caps. Kuffner makes use of what I always thought were useless markers by giving kids a container of water to dip their old markers in - giving them a new life as paint pens. She even has a solution to prevent creating more dried out markers - she suggests putting the caps into Plaster of Paris and letting them dry in it. You can then place the markers right into the cap and store them.

Kuffner provides activities that will appeal to all learning styles of children. The chapter Modeling, Sculpting and Paper Mache provides excellent soothing sensory activities to calm a child. My spirited son responds well to the peanut butter sculpting dough and the Cinnamon Applesauce Ornaments activities.

My daughter's preschool insists children make their own Valentine's Day cards and not bring in store bought ones. Kuffner's ideas make creating 25 unique valentines for the class so much easier. I love the fun secret message valentines.

There are even ideas I use for birthday parties. I'm going to have the kids make Lantern Garlands to use as decorations for a summer outdoor tea party birthday.

Every activity in "The Arts and Crafts Busy Book" encourages imagination and creativity. As a parent this is important to me. I love how in just seconds with the No Sew cape my children can be Red Riding Hood in a backyard performance, or a Super Hero for Halloween or a Princess for a tea party.

Be ready this summer for the dreaded, "I'm bored" whine. Keep a copy of "The Arts and Crafts Busy Book" handy.

To Purchase:
   • The Arts and Crafts Busy Book at Amazon.com
   • The Arts and Crafts Busy Book at Amazon UK
   • The Arts and Crafts Busy Book at Amazon Canada

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