Children are like sponges, writes author Patricia Paine. If they don’t frequently engage in creative, thought-provoking, fun activities, they’re likely to soak up video game violence and pop culture ennui instead.
After more than 30 years as a schoolteacher, Paine has concluded that adults make the most indelible impressions on young kids’ lives. Her book details dozens of simple activities that parents, grandparents, teachers, babysitters, daycare staff and other caretakers can use to boost children’s capacity for observing, learning and doing.
Paine’s book begins with several pages of somewhat disconnected childrearing advice, ranging from getting kids their own library cards to never leaving preschoolers alone in the bathtub. But then she hits her stride, segueing into a series of helpful tips on how to do creative projects with children, for instance, breaking crayons in half to produce different art effects.
The bulk of the book is devoted to 26 simple, cut-and-paste, scrap-paper projects that are meant to appeal mainly to kids ranging from preschool age to second or third grade. Many of the designs are basic—snowman, Easter bunny, dancing bear—but there are also some inventive ideas, such as sunglasses made from scrap paper and pipe cleaners, and a “me” paper doll that uses the child’s photo.
The clear and detailed instructions and illustrations for each project give even the most creatively challenged adults the confidence that they can help Junior produce a work of art with minimal hassle. The materials are also inexpensive and easy to procure, although Paine mistakenly says that a newspaper publisher’s office has large rolls of scrap paper that crafters can buy for a few dollars.
Paine’s prose would benefit from a thorough copyedit, but overall, her book is a good resource for simple craft projects for young children.
Also available in hardcover.