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Book reviews - activity books

There are all sorts of activity books available these days, some of them featuring characters from well-known children's stories. They can be a very good way to get your child involved with books. This section includes lots of great ideas for entertaining your children at home - many of which will support the work done in school - so do try some of them to encourage and develop your child's creativity.

We have also reviewed a selection of Early Learning Games which will help your child have fun while learning.
Annuals.

Book reviews - Activity books (page 1)
Book reviews - Activity books (page 2)
Book reviews - Activity books (page 3)
Book reviews - Activity books (page 4) - most recent

Keeping the Little Blighters Busy by Claire Potter

As you can guess from the title, this is not another book full of ideas we have all seen before. Here you will find 50 ideas, many of which I am almost certain will be new to you. Make a hamster playground, create hidden works of art, have ice cubes in the bath, learn about other countries through clocks........ these are just a few of the novel ideas that caught my eye. Practical and down-to-earth, you don't need to spend a fortune or go far afield to have a huge amount of fun. And it doesn't end with the book, because it will inspire adults and children to think outside the box and use their imaginations.Unexpectedly, it's a very funny read too. Don't worry about keeping the children amused any more!

The Monster Alphabet Book by Kate Daubney

This is a lovely big bright colourful alphabet learning book. Rhyming text on strong board pages and amusing illustrations of weird and wonderful monsters set against brilliantly coloured backgrounds make this an attractive way to learn the alphabet. What really makes the book stand out is the slide-out wipe-clean board at the back of the book complete with pen. There are lots of ideas for using it at the end of the book too, so children will have fun whilst learning.

Amazing Things for Girls to Make and Do by Cathy Tincknell 

An activity book with a twist! Just right for girls who love adventures, this is packed with exciting activities. The front and back covers offer an exciting Missing Jewel Hunt game. Within the covers, you will find a huge variety of activities - drinks to make, masks and mazes, races and recipes, crafts to create and lots more. All are clearly described and include step by step pictures. There are some really unusual ideas and activities to suit every taste.

Make With Maisy by Lucy Cousins

A creative activity book just right for the very youngest children - get them started on the enjoyment of crafting early! It's a lovely colourful book, with generously sized pages, and a finished version of each craft is included to inspire children. The materials used are simple - many will be found around the house and the instructions are straightforward. A most attractive book that will be a real pleasure to use. There's more fun with Maisy at www.maisyfun.com.

Secret Agents v Giant Slugs in the Jungle (Mega Mash-Up) by Nikalas Catlow and Tim Wesson

This really is a cross-over series - part fiction, part activity book. As such, the books are a great way to encourage children to develop their imaginations in both drawing and writing. They're ideal for boys especially. Some less than intrepid workers leave some toxic goo in the jungle and when the tiny slugs fall in they become great big slugs. What happens when the secret agents are sent to sort it out? This ingenious book gives the reader the chance to put their own ideas into the story, with lots of opportunities to draw and write. Can your child match the humour of the original?

Are We Getting Close Yet? from Parragon Books

The huge range of different activities in this book means that there will be something here to entertain everyone in your party on a long (or short) journey.  There are ideas for all ages - spotting games, word and number games, speaking and imagination games, action games, puzzles and finally general knowledge and trivia. The activities are clearly explained, attractively laid out and illustrated; optional variations make the ideas suitable for all ages. Activities like this are an excellent way to encourage and promote children's (and adults') thinking and concentration skills. Keep a copy of this in the car and your passengers will never be bored! 

The London Colouring Book from Buster Books

Yet another super colouring book from Buster Books - they just seem to keep on producing fantastic books and each time they are really fresh and innovative. Perfect for this Jubilee and Olympic year,children can discover our exciting capital city as they have fun colouring, then treasure the book as a souvenir of an exciting year. There are some lovely touches of humour too, such as the baker from Pudding Lane running away from the Monument - these provide an excellent opportunity to discuss history and perhaps to do some research..The outline pictures are modern, quirky and original - I love this book! You can download a sample page here.

Are We Nearly There Yet? Puzzles, Games and Activities by Gill Harvey

Nearly every parent will be familiar with this cry! Pack a copy of this book for every child when you are planning a journey and you will be guaranteed peace and quiet! There are puzzles, doodles, quizzes - even a creative writing opportunity - and all travel-related .In full colour throughout, this is a very attractive book, which children will love to be given at the start of a journey and hopefully it will provide interest on holiday too. Many parents express concern over keeping their child's learning skills going over the long school holidays, and I thoroughly recommend this colourful book as a way of doing this. Another success for Buster Books!

Drawing Shape by Shape by Chris Hart

This book has a novel but very practical approach to learning to draw cartoon characters. After all, drawing is based on shape so why not learn by starting with basic shapes? It starts with drawings based on circles, moves on to squares, then triangles and finally brings all three together in one more complex picture. Starting with the basic shape, each drawing is built up in stages, with the final drawing being coloured. Amusing titles to each drawing add to the interest. The drawings include lots of animals plus other things which will appeal to children - a castle, a witch, a gnome and much more. This would be an excellent way to encourage children who feel they can't draw and the suggested drawings would make a great addition to project work - or to the fridge!

How to Build a Robot (With Your Dad) by Aubrey Smith

What a super way to encourage fathers to enjoy some creative activities alongside their children! The book contains 20 suggested projects - many of them are designed to be made with objects that will be found around the house and carefully planned so they can be completed in an afternoon, so no frustration either by lack of materials or time. There's even an edible robot - a great idea for parties perhaps. The instructions are clear and easy to follow and there are plenty of decorating ideas included. Here's just an idea of the variety - a greeting card, a bedside robot, a robot whose hair actually grows and a robot suit.

 My Colouring and Drawing Book from Buster Books

Another creative idea from Buster Books. There are lots of ideas here for artists young and old, as they complete the suggestions given in the pictures. It's packed with inspiration and a fantastic range of different activities - and every time the reader is given a starting point to work from. There are patterns to complete, things to design, animals and insects to draw, robots to decorate...and these are just a idea of what's there. There's hours of fun, for travelling, for sitting in front of the TV or just relaxing when feeling creative.

Fashion World: Drawing and Colouring from Buster Books

Perfect for young fashionistas!  This is much more than just a doodle books, although there are plenty of chances to doodle. There are patterns to complete, outfits to design, models to dress, accessories to complete and much more. There are lots of ideas to copy but also plenty of scope to exercise your own creativity. Produced on good quality paper, you will create designs that you want to keep. THere are ideas based on fashion from all around the world - and not just clothes - there are hats, gloves, shoes and bags. Get doodling!

Sticker Colours (First Concepts) by Roger Priddy

Children love sticker books, and they are a great way to teach your child while he has fun at the same time. Children of 3+ will enjoy this sticker book, with its strongly coloured backgrounds and bright stickers. There's an extra page of stickers included too - just for fun! There are pages for each colour, and then mixing colours and a rainbow garden to enjoy at the end. Helps with learning first words - each object is clearly labelled - as well as hand-eye coordination and matching skills. Talking to your child about the colours will extend learning too.

Sticker Shapes (First Concepts) by Roger Priddy

Another colourful sticker book, this time concentrating on a concept which young children can find it hard to grasp - shape. The basic shapes each have a page to themselves. There are also pages on making shapes and missing shapes as well as town and sweet shapes. There are some fun shapes too. Also in the series - Farm (First Concepts Sticker) (First Sticker Concepts) Numbers (First Concepts Sticker) (First Sticker Concepts) and Words (First Concepts Sticker) (First Sticker Concepts)

Builder Sticker Activity Book by Roger Priddy

Ideal for children from three up,  this colourful book has far more than just stickers - there are puzzles and colouring to encourage children's creativity. Imagination is encouraged by giving children the opportunity to decorate the city and fill up Terry's toolbox and Barry's truck. They can build scaffolding and a house, dress Hilda the Builder . With over 60 stickers, children will enjoy hours of fun while learning coordination, creative, counting, problem-solving and matching skills - a lot for one sticker book!  

Anholt's Artists Activity Book by Laurence Anholt

I have long been a fan of Laurence Anholt's superb series on famous artists and here is a great opportunity for children to learn from all the famous artists featured in those books. The book is presented as if the artists are taking children by the hand and teaching them personally how to create their own works of art. Monet shows how to make wild wet watercolours; Cezanne teaches how to use charcoal; and five more artists show a variety of skills. The excellent thing about this book is the way it builds the child's confidence - all work is a work of art and something to be proud of. Each artist has a feature on chat about the world of art. This book is a wonderful accompaniment to the others in the series and will be especially welcome in the classroom.

Pretty Patterns Around the World by Hannah Davies

I love doodle books - they are such a great way for all ages to relax and be creative, and Buster Books produce an excellent range. This title contains a selection of patterns from around the world - Spain, Turkey, Russia, Australia and lots more. The patterns are detailed and intricate, and small areas of each are coloured so you can copy the colours to make an authentic picture - or choose your own colours. Appropriate patterns would make a great addition to topics done for school, for example the patterned urns from Greece when studying Ancient Greece. Visit the doodle website at www.doyoudoodle.co.uk

Holiday Fashion by Nellie Ryan and Katy Jackson

Perfect to take on the beach or to while away a long flight or car journey! There are over 350 reusable stickers to complete the outline pictures of all sorts of holiday activities - from skiing to swimming. Not happy with your creation? The reusable stickers mean you can create all sorts of different outfits and keep ringing the changes. And you can even colour and design your own fabrics. Also in the Sticker Style Studio series -  Catwalk Fashion: Sticker Style Studio and Fun Fashion: Sticker Style Studio

Make Your Own Fun by Josie Curran

'Over 140 boredom-busting games and activities for children!' Full of inspirational ideas to get children away from computers and electronic games, this book is packed with fascinating games and activities.  Parents will get quite nostalgic as they are reminded of games they played as children. There's blow football, apple bobbing and Pooh sticks for starters. Plenty of new ideas too. Divided into sections, it's easy to find games to suit the occasion, including journeys, Christmas and family times. The games encourage sharing, creativity, outdoor fun, and much more. Take this book with you on journeys, holidays and visits to relatives and children will always have something yo do.

Dress Up Kate illus by Georgie Fearns

Young girls will love this colourful sticker book - in fact, I don't think it will be long before I succumb to the temptation to have a play with it! There are over 350 reusable stickers, all in full colour, to place on the 24 coloured pages. Dress Kate (and William) for every occasion - from a gala dinner to an evening at home. Not just clothes - there are lots of objects to include too, so you can make up your own scenes on the backgrounds - lots of times!.Then try your own creative skills by designing a wrap dress for Kate. Plenty of fun in this book.

Doodle Animals from Buster Books

My husband asked me "Why do we have doodle books? Aren't doodles spontaneous drawing?" My view is that, for those of us with absolutely no artistic talent, it's great to be able to doodle and produce something worth looking at. We don't all have the imagination to produce drawings and this book is full of inspiration to get going, with its pictures of animals to complete and ideas of how to fill up the pages (fill the pigsty with little piglets and don't forget their curly tales, for example), which all have animal pictures taking up part of them. Good quality paper makes doodling a delight and there's hours of fun for young and old. 

The Usborne Titanic Sticker Book by Megan Cullis and Emily Bone

This is a really high quality sticker book, not one to be discarded as soon as the stickers are all in place. A really attractive presentation, with pastel coloured backgrounds to each page - the position for each sticker is shown in subdued colours and there are 100 brightly coloured stickers to insert. Starting with the history of travel at the time, children will learn about the construction and the incredible luxury of the ship. Interestingly, it shows the wonderful range of activities available to passengers. The book tells what happened during the sinking, the aftermath of the tragedy and the discovery of the wreck. An entertaining way to learn about the Titanic.

London Sticker Activity Book by Roger Priddy

London is a focus of attention at the moment, with the Olympics and the Diamond Jubilee. Your child will take their very own tour around London, visiting all the sights, including London Zoo, the Tower of London and the London Eye - and even tea at The Ritz! And different forms of transport are included too. Not only stickers though - there are puzzles to complete, pictures to colour and dots to join. Bright colourful pictures and more than 60 stickers will give children plenty to do as they learn about our capital. A lovely souvenir.

First Stencil Cards: Farm by Vicky Arrowsmith

Perfect for those very first attempts at drawing!  Using stencils is a great way to give children confidence when they start drawing as they can produce a really good result, and then colour it in. These are very simple shapes, very easy to draw around, and very sturdy. Additionally, each card has a small picture to give for ideas for colouring in. Not just farm animals - there's a tractor, an apple tree and more. Ideal to allow your child to create a complete picture and use their imagination.

Nursery Rhymes Sticker Activity Book by Roger Priddy

Over 200 stickers to match with the nursery rhyme pictures. Lots of the nursery rhymes are given in full - you and your child can enjoy finding the words to the others if you don't know them. There are pictures of nursery rhyme characters to colour in, drawings to do and nursery rhyme themed puzzles to complete. Hours of entertainment for young children - ideal for 3+. A lovely big brightly coloured book to enjoy.

Pocket Patterns to Colour and Doodle from Usborne Books

Slip a copy of this small chunky book and a few crayons into your bag and you will be prepared for boring train journeys or delayed appointments! Dozens of varied patterns - the variety is excellent. The start of the book discusses the four styles and will encourage the creative amongst us to try starting from scratch. Some include a few coloured parts to get you going; others are completely blank for your own inspiration. There are plenty more doodling ideas from Usborne including - Drawing, Doodling and Colouring Book (Art Ideas), Pocket Doodling and Colouring Book: Red Book (Usborne Art Ideas) or Pocket Doodling and Colouring: Travel (Usborne Drawing, Doodling and Colouring)

Customise Your Clothes (Be Creative) by Anna Claybourne

Feel that everyone looks the same? Get your child to try out the simple colourful ideas to make their clothes unique - inexpensive too. Ever wondered what to do with all those craft activities generated when you encourage your children to be creative? This series has the answer! Written by an author experienced in writing for KS2, the projects are simple to follow and each step is clearly illustrated. Some ideas may be familiar but I can guarantee there will be some you haven't thought of! Children love to take a pride in what they have made, so here are really great ideas that can be put to use and shown off.  Bedroom Makeover (Be Creative) is packed with colourful ideas to decorate a bedroom - bunting, throw, photo frames, cushions and many more. Perfect to make a room a child's very own space. Plenty of opportunities for personalising presents and making them more special to the recipient in Cards, Wrap and Tags (Be Creative). Make your own accessories with the ideas in Accessories for All (Be Creative). Lots of jewellery and I love the button necklace - it always seems such a shame to throw those buttons away!

Pen Control (Wipe Clean Learn to Write) from Priddy Books

26 board pages to use with the wipe clean pen, which is included. This is one in a hugely popular series from Priddy Books, and deservedly so. Children love drawing and tracing and this practical book is ideal to channel those activities in a way that will help with pencil control. It's a lovely colourful book, with a different bright colour on each spread. It starts with lines, moves on to shapes and animals and then encourages independent drawing. Finally there are letters and numbers. A really bright, fun and colourful way to develop pencil control - an essential skill. 

Muddle London by Janine Ho

Take your child on an interactive bus ride around London with this fun magnetic book. There are activities on every page  Short rhymes and colourful text will engage children and anticipation builds as they look forward to the next stop on the journey. The pack includes 16 colourful magnets and four scenes and it lies flat for ease of play  - there is also a carrying handle, clip to hold the book shut and a plastic storage pocket to store the magnets safely. A weekly schedule of activities is a fun feature and the transport magnets will have especial appeal. A lovely gift for visitors from abroad or a great souvenir of a trip to London - well thought out and practical as well as great fun and educational. What more can you ask?.

The Stick Book: Loads of Things You Can Make or Do With a Stick by Jo Schofield and Fiona Danks

An amazing and unusual book! Who would have thought that there are so many things that can be done with a simple stick? The ideas include making a den, storyboards, building a nest, making a witch's broomstick........ you will have to get yourself a copy of this wonderful book to find out the rest! This book will help develop many skills - imagination, creativity, observation, music, sharing and playing together are just some. Packed with photos which bring the projects to life, this is a great book to have at home to inspire children to get outside and play, as well as an inspiring classroom resource.

Games on the Move by Lisa Regan

There's no excuse for anyone to be bored on a journey with this book packed with some of the best travel games around. Keep a copy in the car - you never know when you are going to be stuck in a traffic jam, on even the shortest journey. Each game is shown in full colour, with step-by-step instructions - particularly noteworthy is the fact that every game has an 'On your own' option; a great idea. Just some of the original games - Monster Mad; Scribbles and Don't Laugh. Try these in the same series  Indoor Games (Games Handbook), Outdoor Games (Games Handbook)  and Party Games (Games Handbook).

Wipe-Clean Mazes by Jessica Greenwell

14 brightly coloured mazes and the animals need help to find their way through. Made a mistake? Never mind - the shiny pages mean that your child can try over and over again with the special pen provided. The mazes vary in complexity and there is even some counting practice! Rabbit and Cat at the airport is just that little bit different but all the mazes vary enormously. This is an ideal way for children to learn pencil control and have fun at the same time.

How Machines Work by Nick Arnold and Allan Sanders

This is far, far more than just a book! It is a unique guide to understanding simple machines and mechanisms. It's a history of machines too, as you follow the timeline which runs through the book, showing how simple machines have been used and adapted. Each spread introduces a key topic, for example levers, gears and pulleys. Then children put learning into practice by using the colour-coded and numbered machine pieces (on heavy duty card), plastic nuts and bolts, and a detachable peg board. These are accompanied by leaflets with clear diagrams and instructions. It is absolutely perfect for supporting KS2 science in a fun and practical way. The opportunity to create simple machines will really enthuse boys and girls and stimulate them to move on to more complex machines. A brilliant book - well thought out and excellently presented.

Pocket Money Easter by Clare Beaton

Any book which encourages children to be creative is to be welcomed and this is no exception. Here you will find plenty of ideas for Easter decorations, recipes and presents. The instructions are really clear and copiously illustrated, making it easy for even the most non-creative adult to follow and help their children. There are practical suggestions of items to collect from around the home to use for crafts. I like the idea of the star guide, which shows how long each project should take. As well as fun for the home, this is a great book for teachers looking for classroom inspiration. Also in the series Pocket Money Christmas and Pocket Money Halloween.

Starting Gardening by Cheryl Evans

There is a lot of interest at the moment in getting children interested in gardening, knowing where food comes from and caring from our environment. This colourful title from Usborne Books is a great introduction with plenty of simple gardening projects, including plenty that can be tackled indoors or in a window box or balcony - and without having to wait too long for results. Step by step instructions together with what to expect make the book easy to follow and of course there are plenty of illustrations. An excellent book for home or school. The links to www.usborne-quicklinks.com mean there are lots more activities for children to discover.

Hearts by Clare Beaton

This is a charming little book - just perfect for Valentine's Day or anniversaries. The heart shape on the cover isn't there just to look pretty - you use it for the crafts on five themes inside - cooking, making cards, making gifts, decorating and making accessories. The step-by-step instructions are easy to follow, and they are illustrated throughout. The results produced will look really professional and I love the way the book covers such a wide variety of crafts. There are even stickers included to decorate your end product.

Eggs by Clare Beaton

Another lovely book in the 5 Crafty Ideas series - these crafts are all inspired by the cracking egg shape depicted on the front cover. You are shown how to make chocolate eggs, spring greetings cards, cress eggs, decorated eggs, a mobile and an Easter bonnet. The instructions are clear and a full list of materials needed is included so no last-minute hunting around! There are also egg-themed colour stickers to finish off your creations.  Two more creative books in the same series -  Crafty Birthday Balloons (Five Ideas) and Crafty Halloween Pumpkins (Five Ideas)

Grow Organic Eat Organic by Lone Morton

It is so important to get young people interested in healthy food and where it comes from, so this brightly coloured book is a great way to inspire them - and their parents too! It would make a great addition to a school library, as so many schools now have the opportunity for their pupils to grow fruit and vegetables. The book explains how to grow and  cook in harmony with the natural world - important issues for children to consider. It explains, not just what to do, but why to do it for the benefit of our world. The suggestions are accessible for all - plenty of the plants could be grown in window boxes, for instance. Practical ideas are attractively complemented by lots of pictures, which are entertaining as well as factual.

Vanishing Tricks (Secrets of Magic) by Stephanie Turnbull 

Lots of vanishing tricks which anyone can try - no rabbits needed! Start off with some tricks of the trade and then start off with some attention grabbing tricks - make your leg vanish and make sweets magically appear in your mouth. How about evaporating sugar and a money-making machine? The principles are clearly explained and there are step-by-step instructions for the tricks - these are well illustrated and really clear to follow. The reader will also learn about famous magicians. The book includes a list of useful websites to help you hone those new-found skills even further.

 

Mind Reading Tricks (Secrets of Magic) by Stephanie Turnbull 

A very attractive book, packed with detail and copiously illustrated, making it really appealing to try and astound your friends with your amazing ability to mind-read. Find all the tricks of the trade and then put on your own show. This is a fascinating series which should appeal to all age groups - here are some more: Card Tricks (Secrets of Magic), Incredible Illusions (Secrets of Magic), Prop Tricks (Secrets of Magic), Close-up Tricks (Secrets of Magic, and Card Tricks (Secrets of Magic). Hours of fun for any aspiring magicians.

Origami (Make Your Own Art) by Sally Henry and Trevor Cook  

Easy to follow instructions to produce really effective results. An interesting introduction to Origami is followed by instructions on the basic skills. The step-by-step illustrations which accompany each project are superb and will encourage everyone to have a go, and there is a photo to show each finished piece of work. Here are a few more titles, to show how wide-ranging this series is - Eco Crafts (Make Your Own Art), Papier-mache (Make Your Own Art), Making Mosaics (Make Your Own Art) and Card Making (Make Your Own Art). A great resource for teachers - especially those who are not artistically inclined! Equally useful, however, for use at home to encourage children to be creative. An excellent series.

Prof. Zacharias Zog's Splat-A-Fact Olympics Activity Book

Professor Zog really does produce some entertaining titles and this is no exception. Just in time for the 2012 Olympics, this is a great way to get children into the mood to enjoy the great sporting spectacle. The range of activities in this big book is huge - I particularly like the story writing activities such as the comic strips to complete. There are also lots of pages to help develop drawing skills and plenty of puzzles. Something here for everyone - not forgetting the corny jokes which will have everyone groaning!

My Very First Art Book by Rosie Dickens

Another super book from Usborne Books, guaranteed to inspire an interest in art   - Usborne do this type of book so well! Using great works of art as the basis, children are given a plethora of ideas based on each of these, so they can produce their own masterpieces. The techniques used are simple enough for young children to feel confident in tackling them and the ideas they learn will stand them in good stead for artistic efforts through the years. The ideas are practical and use resources most families will have at home - and there are lots of ideas here to inspire teachers too. The book is a well-deserved Children's Choice Award winner in the 0-7 age category at the inaugural SLA Information Book Awards. Children are the best judges of waht they like!
Title: My Very First Art Book;  ISBN: 9781409522850; Price: £9.99; Website: www.usborne.com/art

Having Fun With Paper (Let's Do Art) by Sarah Medina

Children are encouraged to  uses a variety of techniques to carry out a range of simple projects.In doing so readers investigate different kinds of art, craft and design enabling them to explore and develop their ideas eg an event in their lives, or a natural object.Projects are easy enough for children to achieve alone, with minimal adult assistance. More in the series -  Having Fun with Printing (Let's Do Art), Having Fun with Sculpture (Let's Do Art), Having Fun with Collage (Let's Do Art), Having Fun with Paint (Let's Do Art).

Peek-a-Boo Penguin: Ready for Reading by Ruth Owen

Designed to help children take their first steps towards reading, this is a well thought out book, which parents can use as a basis to develop their own ideas, once they have shared the ideas in the book with their child. Matching, spot the difference, shapes, route finding, looking at labels, putting pictures in order...... the list goes on. These are just the sort  f ideas which parents will find valuable and there is plenty of fun here to engage children's interest. The page of notes for parents and teachers is very practical, too. Peek-a-Boo Penguin is an engaging character - spot him on every page.

Drawing, Sketching and Cartooning: Learn Art by Deri Robins

An art class withy a difference! A wide range of techniques covered in one book - using a grid, drawing a view, drawing faces, cartoon and scary monsters -  these are just a few of the topics covered and will give you a feel for the wide variety covered. The topics are split into easy to use sections, so children are guided through a step at a time, in both words and pictures. THis will develop confidence as they work through the ideas and with such a variety, there will be something to appeal to everyone. It is an attractively produced book, with lots of examples and ideas for children to follow

The Lego Ideas Book: You Can Build Anything by Daniel Lipkowitz 

This really is an inspiring book - it is packed with ideas (over 500 of them). It will appeal to LEGO fans of all ages, and hopefully will encourage many more to enjoy this creative toy. Divided into sections - transport, town & country, space, history, adventure and practical things to keep, there is something for everyone, experienced or novice. It's a great way to move on from the pre-set kits and extend imagination - and perhaps a way to use all those pieces of LEGO you don't know what to do with! The book will also encourage children to develop their own ideas based on the book. Each project is fully illustrated and there are detailed instructions. Don't worry if you don't have all the pieces mentioned - just use the book as inspiration to try things out. The book is a typical Dorling Kindersley product - authoratitive and beautifully produced.

Fudgy Bear book

Fudgy's Activity Book by Sarah Marley

Designed to accompany the Fudgy Bear books (see my reviews here and also here, this is a colourful and fun way for young children to learn early concepts such as shapes, colours and numbers  - and much more. Join Fudgy on every page in a variety of activities which really do make learning fun - and even more fun if accompanied by your very own Fudgy Bear. Children will love to see Fudgy going about his everyday activities and will want to join in with their very own bear. Buy the books and Fudgy Bear at www.fudgybear.com.

The Bumper Book of Bob (The Man on the Moon) by Simon Bartram 

Fans of Bob, the man who goes to the moon every  day to keep it tidy for the tourists, will be thrilled with this action-packed book. There are pages of beautifully bold stickers to create some lovely pictures - and to learn the planets. Stories, poems, crosswords, colouring, puzzles, facts about space .... this book is just packed with fun activities and lots of information about space. With its hard cover and good quality paper, it is much more of a book to keep than a normal activity book. A lovely gift and a book to treasure.

The Glittering Guide for Girls by Deborah Chancellor

A different approach to activity books for girls, this book is a refreshing change. The glittery, girly cover will have immediate appeal and I like the elastic bookmark. Four sections - Best friends; Cool creative; Star performer; and Happy and healthy illustrate the wide range of topics covered. Best friends is full of ideas on enjoying friendships and keeping them strong, as well as fun ideas to do together. Cool creative is packed with craft ideas; Star performer will give gilrs the confidence to tackle things they weren't quite sure they could do and there are some great ways to help with schoolwork. Finally, lots of ideas to keep healthy. An ideal gift. 

book

How to be a real Princess

How To Be A Real Princess by Mel Williams

Girls will love this book, which comes in the wake of the Royal Wedding. What will life be like for the new Duchess of Cambridge as she takes her place in the Royal Family? The book is full of activities that show what life is like as a royal princess and there is lots of historical information and background detail about the monarchy to be learnt. The range of activities is wide - write Kate a letter inviting her to your school; design your own evening dress and plan your dream day; all good ways to encourage creativity. Hours of fun to keep girls entertained and answer lots of their questions.

Magnetic Shape World Mix Up by Kate Thompson

This is a novel idea - a book with a set of colourful magnetic shapes to use through the story. All the labels from the parcels in Shape World have fallen off. The challenge for children is to match the parcel to the correct shaped letter box, thus giving practise in identifying shapes and hand-eye co-ordination. With colourful pictures and a fun story, this is an unusual and practical book.  In the same series -  Magnetic Number World Mix-up (Magnetic Sorting Books)

Number Puzzles by Roger Priddy

This set of super sized books from Priddy Books will be hugely appealing to children. I can just imagine a child lying on the floor completing one of these books. In full colour and full of activities, each includes a huge page of stickers to complement the activities. The books are designed for 5+ and help with key skills - writing, problem solving, number, creativity, hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills and reading. Number Puzzles has a wide range of practical number problems to solve and activities to help an understanding of number and number sequencing. Colouring Fun has lots of pictures to colour and plenty of practical ideas to learn colouring techniques. The colourful range of activities in Picture Puzzles are perfect for developing problem solving skills and the range of activities will provide hours of fun. Word Fun helps with those all-important early reading skills and will help word recognition through a range of activities. 

Colouring Fun

Word Fun

Picture Puzzles

Big School from Top That! Publishing

This colourful book is attractive from the outset, with its bright shing cover and stiff pages full of activity. Cleverly planned to include the 45 Reception High Frequency Words, this is a great way to familiarise children with these all-important words. There are over 100 hundred sticker words. Firstly, children can match these words to the words on the page and then, as confidence grows, they can make up their own sentences. This is a book to sit down and share with your child and a lovely way to build early confidence with words. My only negative comment is that it would have been good to see the 45 words actually listed separately - but these words can be located elsewhere quite easily.

 

Play Days from Top That! Publishing

Another colourful early learning sticker book to help your child learn whilst having fun. Each of the colourful scenes gives your child plenty to talk about. Then you and your child can share the number questions and find the correct stickers (all reusable) to give the answers - as well as plenty of fun completing the pictures with some of the 100+ colourful stickers. The book adheres to the National Numeracy Strategy so parents can be reassured that they are reinforcing or prreparing for the work done in schools.

Fun to Finish Animals from Buster Books

Buster Books produce a huge range of super doodling books, guaranteed to inspire almost anyone. It is so much easier to add your own artwork to an already started picture and a good result is easy to obtain, thus developing confidence and generating an enthusiasm in budding artists. This is a colourful book - every page is in full colour and there are suggestions for how to add spots, stripes, squiggles and wiggles to complete the pictures in a fun text that swirls through the pages. 

Pirates v Ancient Egyptians in a Haunted Museum (Mega Mash-Up) by Nikolas Catlow and Tim Wesson

I can't praise this series highly enough! They are a brilliant way to get children - especailly boys - right into the heart of a book and to develop their creativity and writing skills. The topics are always cleverly chosen to appeal and the strange juxtaposition makes them even more appealing. In this case, it is up to the reader to stop the pirates and the Ancient Egyptians stealing a priceless treasure from the  museum - or will the ghosts get there first? Full of laughs and plenty of opportunities to doodle and put your own take on the story while you read. Perfect for 6 - 9 year olds - my young tester loves them!

Justin's Jokes by Justin Fletcher

Not really an activity book, but hopefully this will appeal to those looking for something to do. Justin Fletcher is a popular children's TV presenter so is familiar to millions of children. He also manages to be popular with adults! This book comes with a warning - 'This book will make you laugh out loud!' Children will love the jokes - simple two liners just right for them to learn and repeat and the book will make an ideal gift - if you can bear it! Two of my favourites - 'What do giraffes have that no other animal does? Baby giraffes!' and 'What is white and furry and smells of peppermints? A Polo bear!'

 

Terrible Tricks and Devious Disguises by Susan Martineau

The front cover says 'Jolly jokey fun' and this book (another in bsmall's excellent range of activity books) is full of fun with tricks and disguises with real child-appeal - guaranteed to make parents go 'yuk'! I like the variety of activities -  tricks, crafts recipes (toasted tongues, anyone?), disguises and challenges. These are complemented by interesting snippets of information. Every activity is clearly explained with step-by-step instructions and illustrated in full colour by Martin Ursell. A book children will love!

The Planet of Puzzles (Maths Quest) by David Glover

Maths - boring? No way, with this super series from QED Publishing. Children go through the exciting stories and on the way through they have to solve a range of mathematical puzzles. What really impresses me with the series is the way it covers such a wide range of maths concepts - every time in a fun way. They are excellent for reinforcing the concepts taught in KS2 maths - a brilliant concept.
Every book is really attractive, with lots of pictures and diagrams.
The Planet of Puzzles focuses on data handling and these skills are used to unfold the plot as the reader tries to rescue Space Station Alpha. There is a very useful list of data handling terms and guide notes for parents and teachers.

The Mansion of Mazes (Maths Quest) by David Glover

This title helps children with Space, Shape and Measures skills. The Museum of Mazes has been burgled and the reader is asked to solve the mystery by solving a series of maths puzzles. Can they stop the villains from escaping? It's a great story as well as a fun way to practise and reinforce maths concepts. It is attractive and there are guidelines to help parents, as well as valuable explanations of the terminology.

 

The Cavern of Clues (Maths Quest) by David Glover

A third book in this excellent series - another review further down this page. With all the features previously described, this is another valuable book. The focus this time is Calculations. The fearsome pirate Black Beard has buried his gold, and the reader has to find it, to avoid being trapped inside the cavern. A great adventure and lots of thinking needed to reach a successful conclusion.

Dinosaurs Magnet Book from Egmont Books

Children are fascinated by dinosaurs so they will love to make their own scenes in this sturdy board book, which comes complete with eight coloured dinosaur magnets. Rhyming text takes children through the story as they learn to identify the dinosaurs before putting them into place. Plenty of scope for children to develop their own stories too, and play other games with the magnets. 

You Can Draw Monsters by Ursell Martin

A lovely book to increase children's confidence in their own artistic abilities. It is bright and colourful and the topics range from the simple to the more complex, meaning skills are developed through the book. There is plenty of supporting information too - find out all sorts of weird and wonderful facts to bring monsters to life. The book encourages children to observe the world around them and then to translate this into pictures. Plenty of variety in this book and ideas that can be extended into other types of drawing. Colourful and inspiring.

Make Your Own Creepy Castle by Clare Beaton

THis series from b small publishing allows children to create a building from the card cover and centre of the book, and then complement this with plenty of cut-outs of figures which can be coloured. Great for extending the imagination and for putting on a performance for the family.  THere are facts about ghosts and dragons, a story, dressing up ideas and even a glossary opf creepy words - good to use in those stories! Plenty of rainy day fun to be had with this book.

Pocket Money Halloween by Clare Beaton

Halloween has become increasingly popular, so this book will be welcomed in homes and schools, with its range of fun and inexpensive activities. Decorations, masks, hats, recipes and more are all presented in full colour and in an easy-to-follow format, complete with difficulty guides. At the end of the book is an idea for storytelling, and a story, which is a great way to encourage children's imagination and creative writing. The template shapes can be used in all sorts of ways.  

Pocket Money Christmas by Clare Beaton 

Christmas can be an expensive time of year, so it's great to see a book which encourages children to use their creativity to make presents and decorations - this is what Christmas should be all about ! Starting off with useful advice on things to use - most of which can be collected from around the house, the book gives clear and simple instructions along with plenty of pictures to show the stages and the finished product. Colourful decorations, festive food, party hats - full of ideas to make the lead up to Christmas even more exciting - and to keep young ones busy!

Bubbles in the Bathroom by Susan Martineau

This is a super series, which allows children to have fun whilst learning about science. Hands-on is the best way to learn, and these simple experiments teach all sorts of things - each experiment is accompanied by a box which explains the science behind the experiment. Siphons, floating, sinking and more. Each one has simple step-by-step instructions and there are lots of facts and quizzes too. Bathtime has never been such fun! 

Prehistoric Activity Book (Creative Fun) by Sue and Steve Weatherill

Another fun creative book from b small publishing. Children are fascinated by prehistoric times so they will enjoy learning more whilst developing their creative skills. The book is well presented on good quality paper, so any creations will look good. Make your own planet earth, find fossils, make lava lolllies - just a few of the activities which are described in easy to follow steps. The dinosaur stencils will provide plenty of creative opportunities. Look out for  Roman Activity Book (Creative Fun)Egyptian Activity Book [With Hieroglyph Stencils] (Creative Fun), and Greek Activity Book (Crafty History) too.

The Usborne Girls' Activity Book 

This colourful book is jam-packed with a huge range of activities. Doodles, crafts, cookery, puzzles, it's all here...and four pages of brighlty coloured stickers to use on the pictures provided. There are some unusual pages too, to keep interest alive, such as French Fashion and Animal Magic. The beauty of this type of book is that they do wonders for helping children develop lots of skills, for example concentration and creativity, whillst having fun. Excellent value. Got a boy? Then you need Boys' Activity Book (Usborne Activities)

Pull-Back Busy Car Book by Fiona Watt

Children will have plenty of fun with this colourful book which is halfway between book and car track. There are four colourful scenes as the busy car sets off on its journey to the seaside. Just pull the car back a few times (quite hard!!) and then quickly set it on the track for its journey. Masses of things to spot and discuss on the way in the detailed pictures. Also in the series -  Busy Bug Book (Pull-Back Books) and Pull-back Busy Santa (Usborne Pull-back Books).

Driver Dan's Story Train Colouring Book by Rebecca Elgar

Children's favourite charachers from the new series are here to be coloured. Activity books are a great way for children to learn basic skills and to get more involved in TV series rather than passively watching. Full of activities on good quality paper, this is an attractive book.
"Driver Dan's Story Train is a brilliant new CBeebies television series perfectly pitched for the pre-school audience. Visually distinctive, it features a whole cast of endearing animated characters, each with their own personalised carriage on the Story Train driven by Driver Dan. Already a big hit with parents and children, the series is set to become a classic."

 

My Big Driver Dan Activity Book by Rebecca Elgar 

This is a high-quality activity book, based on the Story Train series. Full of activities that will get your child thinking and learning in a fun way - things to spot, drawing, counting, writing and lots more. Many of the first learning skills your child will need are included in this book. More activities to enjoy from this great new series - Driver Dan's Story Train: It's Sticker Time! and Driver Dan's Story Train: It's Play Time!

It's Fun to Draw Safari Animals by Mark Bergin

This book makes it look really easy to draw zebras, lions, giraffes and many more. The way the instructions are broken down into step by step shapes to copy make it possible for even the least artistic of us to produce recognisable animals. Plenty of tips on colouring and completed scenes containing the animals make this a really practical book. Get a copy and create your own jungle scene! Try these titles too -  It's Fun to Draw Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Creatures, It's Fun to Draw Fairies and Mermaids or It's Fun to Draw Princesses and Ballerinas.

The Big Busy Book from Buster Books

What do you look for in an activity book - puzzles, mazes, searches, spot the differences, dot to dot, doodling, drawing, colouring? Then look no further, because it's all here in this A4 160 page book. There is such a variety here and plenty of activities to extend learning skills in a fun way. All you need is a set of crayons and you will be set up for hours of fun. The good quality paper means you can keep your works of art too! 

Find Chaffy Now by Jamie Smart

As soon as I saw this book, I thought of 'Where's Wally?' and this certainly has the same appeal. Chaffy has got so lost that he has dropped off the edge of the map and landed up in Fantastico Island. But where is he? Can you find him amongst the weirdly named Bipples, Skellingtuns, Schnoodges and Glumbos? On each page there are more and more Chaffys to find. There are fun activities and stickers to add to the fun. And if you are one of the first 1000, you could claim a Chaffy soft toy!

The Usborne Write Your Own Story Book

One of the most common questions we are asked at Parents in Touch is 'How can I help my child's creative writing?' This book is an excellent resource for doing just that.;In the format of a spiral bound notebook, it is divided into two main sections - a writing section and a writing toolkit. The coloured illustrations and ready to use lines are just crying out to be filled and whatever interests your child has, they are sure to find it covered here. Try something new - create a comic strip, tell a picture from a story, create a fairy tale.... all illustrated in full colour. The writing toolkit is packed with ideas for amazing stories. Children will never run out of ideas with this inspiring book which really makes writing fun. Give them a head start on writing and make sure you get a copy of this super book.

The Girls' Back to School Book by Lottie Stride 

This is a great way to make going back to school fun. Buy a copy for your daughter - or the companion book for boys The Boys' Back To School Book (Buster Books) - a few weeks before the start of a new term and get off to a head start with lots of exciting things to look forward to. Packed with puzzles, things to do, ganes and quizzes, doodles, stories and sections for the child to complete about themselves. The fun activities, such as designing covers for exercise books, will really brighten up the new term. A really varied book which has much to appeal to every girl.

Once Upon a Doodle by Andy Cooke

Another fun doodling book from Buster Books. This time, childrenenter the realms of fairy tale land, as they find a whole page of doodles dedicated to all our most popular nursery rhymes. Turn Cinderella's pumpkin into a carriage; decorate the knight's shining armour; make a ginderbread house and much, much more. Plenty of ideas and don't forget to make sure you retell the tales to your child to increase enjoyment of this book.

My Art Book from Dorling Kindersley

A cross between a book about art and an activity book, this is full of inspiration. The activities are based on a huge range of works of art, from cave paintings through to Degas and on to Andy Warhol. Children will learn about famous art through the pictures and explanations about the background to the works, with lots of fascinating snippets of information. This is followed by detailed and well illustrated instructions on how to use the same techniques to produce your own work of art. For example, we are shown Degas' Star Dancer, told about the artist and then shown how to draw with pastels - and even how to create a pavement painting. A lovely way to develop enthusiasm for great art and gain inspiration. I think it is a great resource for teachers, too.

My Life in Doodles by Hannah Chapman

This is a super book for all age groups - why not buy a copy for a grandparent and ask them to fill it in as they would have done as a child? Or a child could complete it as a surprise gift to a parent. Colourful and attractively designed pages contain spaces to include all sorts of mementoes - photos, doodles, pictures and all your own work. The ideas will inspire all sorts of ideas - awards, fashion, what you do each day, food, your street and much more. It would be great to look back on this in years to come and completing it would make a lovely school holiday project.

This Book is Totally Rubbish from Maggie and Rose

What child could resist a book with such a title? Maggie, Rose, Oscar and Bentley are four friends who love making things. Everything is the book can be made from objects that have been recycled so it is great for encouraging children not to throw too much away. The activities are ingenious and attractively presented in a way that will inspire children's creativity and encourage them to develop their own ideas. The instructions are clear enough for children to follow on their own - an important learning porocess. Children can also make their own moulding clay, paint and even brushes. Look out for these fun characters in Maggie & Rose: This Book Totally Makes Stuff Grow (Maggie and Rose) too.

Games Handbook by Lisa Regan

Spiral binding and elastic to keep the book open at the right page - instantly I knew this would be a really practical book and I was not wrong. There are over a hundred games - some familiar and many lesser-known. Indoor games, outdoor games, party games and games for on the road are the 4 sections of the book.I like the fact there are suggestions for playing the games on your own as well as fascinating snippets of information about many of the games. Clear instructions and colourful pictures make this book a pleasure to use. Keep a copy at hand fpr those 'I'm bored' moments. Look out for Outdoor Games (Games Handbook) too.

Magic With Numbers by Jon Tremaine 

Magic Handbook - another really interesting series from QED Books. Children love to amaze their friends and family with magic tricks and with this book they will be honing up their mathematical skills as well. A really attractively presented book with plenty of pictures and clear diagrams to illustrate the tricks. Interesting facts about famous magicians too. This book will provide hours of entertainment for all the family. Also in the series -  Mind Tricks (Magic Handbook) Coin and Rope Tricks (Magic Handbook), Paper Tricks (Magic Handbook) and many more!

Museum of Mysteries (Maths Quest) by David Glover

Now I have prised this away from my husband, I can review it! He found it fascinating, which says a lot about the book's appeal to all age groups. The story jumps you around all over the place as you unravel the clues and practise your mathematical skills in the process - a huge range of maths skills are covered, but this title focuses on Numbers. It's a fun mystery to enjoy as you collect keys and other objects to help you solve the mystery. Packed with clues to solve, this is a fantastic way to develop thinking and reasoning skills in a really enjoyable way. A brilliant idea! Enjoyed this? Then you'll like The Planet of Puzzles (Maths Quest) , The Mansion of Mazes (Maths Quest) and The Cavern of Clues (Maths Quest)

The Colouring Book by Herve Tullet

This thick A4 book is a refreshing change from the average colouring book and will really stimulate children's imaginations as well as giving hours of colouring fun. Try the longest colouring line in the world, colour your own super heroes, follow the arrows and answer the thought-provoking questions such as 'What colour will towns be in the future?'. Lots to think about, talk about and enjoy and some quite challenging colouring, as well as simpler pages. Great fun!

Club Penguin 2012 Official Annual 

Club Penguin is hugely popular so this annual is guaranteed a good reception. Packed with activities which feature everyone's favourite characters from www.clubpenguin.com, there is something to appeal to everyone. Stories, activities, puzzles and comics feature.The annual includes downloadable coins to spend within Club Penguin on outfits, igloo decorations and more.

Bugs in the Garden: Science Around You by Susan Martineau

I wondered whether to put this and Bugs in the Garden with my non fiction reviews, but decided that they fit better on this page as they are both jam-packed with activities.
This is a perfect summer holiday book - children can get out into the garden or park (with an adult)  and carry out lots of fun experiments, which will really enhance their knowledge for and appreciation of nature. Experiments have simple step by step instructions; quick facts, a Did You Know box and  quizzes, giving plenty of variety in the approach. Make a home for worms, learn about clouds, make a rainbow and lots more fun experiments - all of which will help in a practical way to understand KS2 science. As with all b small books, this is attractively presented and easy to use.

Cool Circuits and Wicked Wires by Susan Martineau and Nick Bushell

Most of the experiments in this book - some of which give spectacular results - can be done using things most people have at home. The experiments are clearly explained and the science behind them is described, thus providing excellent support for KS2 science. Children will learn about currents, magnetism, circuits, batteries and much more. Hands-on learning is so much more valuable and memorable than just reading about it, so encourage your children to have fun with these experiments - they won't realise just how much they are learning!

Make Your Own Coral Reef by Clare Beaton 

I wish this series of books had been around when my children were young! I like the fact that there are such a great range of titles so there is something to appeal to every child. b small publishing have a wonderful range of creative books, many of which are reviewed on this page - but do take a look at their website to see the full range. Make Your Own Coral Reef would be ideal to support KS2 geography and is lovely and colourful to display. The card cover and centre pages create the reef and there are 24 fish to cut out and colour. You can also make a fishing game and a shell box. There is also plenty of information about coral reefs - and especially on how important it is that they are preserved - food for thought.

Make Your Own Fairy Garden by Clare Beaton

One for the girls! A lovely colourful fairy garden to assemble and then lots of fairies to colour and cut out - and then play with and make up stories about. The books are well thought out, with detailed instructions. There are instructions on making a daisy chain and a fairy wand, costumes and food - enough to have a fairy garden themed party. I enjoyed the section on famous fairies. Hours of entertainment and a great way to develop the imagination.

Make Your Own Pirate Ship by Clare Beaton 

Boys will love this one! Create the pirate ship, colour and cut out the figures (which come complete with tabs to stand them up and then enjoy playing pirate games - great for the imagination. Why not put on a play? And that's not all - there are instructions to make a Jolly Roger; to make a treasure chest and how to tie knots. Plenty to learn about life aboard a pirate ship in 8 pages of information plus a useful glossary. Hours of fun!

My Family Tree Book by Cath Bruzzone

It is so important for children to know about their families and this is a lovely way to get started. The book starts with basic information about family trees, then there are colourful and clearly laid out pages for information about the child, his mother, father and siblings. It then goes on to pages for information about aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents. The book is a wonderful way to stimulate discussion with other people - contemporaries and older ones, as it asks about things such as school, work and things remembered from the past. Children can create their own family tree, then there is a useful section on finding out more. A colourful and attractive book which will be a lasting keepsake.

The Great Big Art Activity Book by Sue Nicholson and Deri Robins

This practical spiral bound book is packed with a huge range of creative ideas.The four main sections are drawing, sketching and cartooning; painting and printing; world art; and collage, sculpture and special effects - each delineated by a tab. I like the range covered by this book, both in terms of materials and in the different cultures and traditions explored - this makes it an excellent resource for school project work. The step by step instructions are clear and the book is copiously illustrated throughout. I especially like the fact there are plenty of works of art to inspire children as well as to familiarise them with great art. There are topics to do such as cards and decorations so children can share their work with an appreciative audience! The ideas are very original, for instance string prints, paper sewing and Faberge eggs. A book which will come out time and time again, offering new inspiration each time. A super book to have to hand.

Lots of Things to Find and Colour on Holiday by Fiona Watt and Stella Baggott

Do get your children a copy each of this super book to take on holiday - or just to have fun at home over the holidays. It is packed with activities - mazes, things to spot, colouring - hours of fun. Most of the book is in black and white, so there are lots and lots of colouring opportunities. Don't forget to look out for the little white mouse on each page too!

Flowers Colouring Book by Susan Meredith, illustrated by Jenny Cooper

This book really has me itching to get my hands on some crayons and start colouring! Read the useful colouring tips at the back of the book first and then have a go! 16 different flowers to colour with full colour illustrations on the opposing pages. They are all very detailed and accurate, like botanical drawings, and the book is produced on good quality paper. Alongdise the coloured illustrations are plenty of snippets of information about the flowers. This really is a super colouring book  and I can see it appealing to adults as well as older children.

Things to Make and Do for Girls from Top That Publishing

I love to see books which encourage creativity and these two titles from TopThat Publishing do that brilliantly. The practical design, with lie flat ring bound pages immediately told me this is going to be a practical and easy to use book. It is split into four sections. First - the projects themselves, most of which can be made from bits and pieces lying around the house. Second - additional components for some projects. The third section is stencils to use with the projects (great for other craft activities too) and finally there is a lovely collection of stickers. Just a few of the 33 ideas are - nail art, keyrings, funky skittles  - something for every taste. The instructions are really clear and easy to follow, and there is a list of everything needed for each project.

Things to Make and Do for Boys from Top That Publishing

A second book that is great for creativity and which makes excellent use of things you will find around the house. Boys are offered a selection of 26 projects, ranging from lots of things that fly, to a totem poile and an erupting volcano. Everything not readily to hand in the house is supplied in the book, in the form of templates, push out models, stencils and stickers - all of high quality. Again, there are clear instructions and even the more detailed projects are easy to follow but challenging enough to give a real sense of satisfaction. Excellent value. 

First Words Sticker Activity Book

'This book has been designed to introduce your child to words. Read and talk about the objects on each page...' That sets the scene for this series of books - they are for parents to share with their children to maximise the learning opportunities. The illustrations are really high quality - more what would be expected from a picture book than from a sticker book and the book does in fact tell the story of David and Lizzie and a busy day out. Talk through the book with your child and then encourage them to find the correct stickers. The high quality of the books in this series mean they will be books to treasure once the activities are complete.

Sticker Activity Books Shapes

Full of  lots of different shapes and activities to help learn them, this is another high quality book. Far more than just stickers, there are words to trace around, drawings to do and even the opportunity to find pictures from other sources to stick in. Well thought-out, this is a fun way for children to learn their shapes with the help of their parents. All the books in this series support National Curriculum Learning Objectives.

 

Counting Sticker Activity Book

Packed with top quality illustrations and lots of things to count, this book promises hours of learning fun. Not only learning the numbers, but also some fun sums. I like the page which gives children the opportunity to design their own numbers. The stickers are top quality, generously sized and vibrantly coloured. Parents should take their time over this book, making sure children benefit from the huge range of activities.

Colours Sticker Activity Book

A fourth really top quality sticker book to help children have fun learning important early concepts. Each page is packed with colourful activities - most pages include writing, colouring and stickers to find as well as lots of detail to enjoy in the illustrations, which are outstanding for a sticker book. Observational skills are encouraged as children have to search out the correct stickers from the wide range included. All the stickers can be reused, guaranteeing hours of fun.

Aliens and Mad Scientists Under the Ocean by Nikalas Catlow &  Tim Wesson

This is the third in the excellent Mega Mash Up series, which has been a huge hit. Cleverly designed to appeal directly to boys' interests, they combine an exciting story - can the mad scientists build a machine to save the earth? - with opportunities for lots of doodles to complete the story. Children's imagination is fostered as they complete the pictures and help design wondrous machines. The illustrations in the book are drawn in such a way that children feel they are able to copy the style and produce really good artwork of their own - and there are lots of hints to help plus a picture glossary at the back. Doodle book or fiction book - what do you think? More fun at www.megamash-up.com

My Book of Things to Make and Do by Clare Beaton

A compilation of four titles - Rainy Day; On a Journey; Outdoors; and Indoors - this is excellent value and is guaranteed to give your children hours of fun, whatever the weather. A4 and in full colour throughout, all the craft ideas are clearly presented, with a list of materials required, step-by-step instructions  and pictures to illustrate. I love the cut-out templates provided for a group of animals and the plaster plaque will make a wonderful holiday memento. Lots of ideas for groups of friends to do together, such as fund-raising  and picnic food. Friendship cards, button people, the night sky, famous journeys, songs and games.....there is so much variety, that I can only give a snapshot but I hope this has whetted your appetite to take a look at this book - you will be impressed!

1000 Playtime Stickers by Roger Priddy

'A sticker book to get really stuck into!' I don't know many children who don't love stickers and this big collection will be well received. It may seem expensive for a sticker book, but there are lots and lots of stickers and colourful scenes on which to place them - and the stickers are reusable, ensuring hours of play. Far more than just a sticker book though - there are puzzles, drawing ideas, colouring, counting and more..... A lovely chunky book packed full of fun, this would be great to take on holiday.

Make Your Own Roman Arena by Clare Beaton

Cleverly designed, the front and back covers of this book, together with the centre pages (all in full colour) , fold out to make the Roman arena. Tabs hold the construction together and the sturdy card means this is a durable construction that will give many hours of play. There are stand-up cards in black and white, showing activities at the Arena - these are double sided and are fun to colour in before cutting them out and displaying them around the Arena. The bok also includes lots of information about gladiators and battles - put together the construction and the information, and you have a great resource to support KS2 history. It would make a good classroom display.

 Make Your Own Rainforest by Clare Beaton

Again, another super resource from b small publishing to support classroom learning and give hours of fun at home. The colourful scenes and the birds, animals and insects to colour produce a really effective display and there will be hours of amusement. Lots of facts are given as well, to bring another dimension to the book. All the books include another fun activity and a useful glossary.  Here are some more great titles in the series - something here to capture any child's interest: Make Your Own Pirate Ship (Make Your Own); Make Your Own Castle (Make Your Own); Coral Reef (Make Your Own); Make Your Own Football Stadium (Make Your Own); Make Your Own Fairy Garden (Make Your Own) and Make Your Own Farm (Make Your Own).

Make and Colour Under the Sea by Clare Beaton

Another book full of creative activities from b small publishing. There are 53 double sided pictures to colour and cut out, and then these can be used to decorate the seascapes children can make using the ideas in the book - there are some lovely original suggestions here. Templates and stencils are provided, with clear instructions on using them, inlcuding making a mobile.Boost children's knowledge with some interesting facts about sea creatures as well. Just add crayons and scissors (plus a little imagination!) to create your very own undersea world. 

All About Me by Catherine Bruzzone and Lone Morton

'A Fill in and Keep Activity Book', this is a lovely book for children to complete and keep - or maybe to give to grandparents as a memento. Children are encouraged to complete a range of pages, including a self portrait, all about my day, my family, school, home and much more. There is plenty of encouragement to be creative - for instance write a poem about a friend, and opportunities to record achievements for example in sport. Illustrated trhoughout with cartoon-style pictures and presented on good quality paper, this will make a super lasting record.

Art in a Box by Sarah Richardson

This is an excellent resource on many levels. The pictures in this collection of 20 famous works of art are beautifully produced and would make a great wall display - but make sure you have tried out all the activities first! It is an interesting and varied collection of artwork, carefully chosen to appeal to children. Each A5 card has suggestions on how to look into and appreciate the work of art, and lots of activities to encourage children to develop their own creativity - ideas include drawing, collage, bubble prints and sculpture. These would work just as well at home with one or two children, or in the classroom. The cards come in a sturdy box that will keep them safe.

365 Things to do With Paper and Cardboard by Fiona Watt 

Usborne Books always produce brilliant and practical activity books and this is an excellent addition to their offerings. From the sturdy board cover, to the lie flat ring binding and heavt duty paper, this is a book which will withstand the heaviest of use - and that is what it is bound to get. Aperfect resource to have at home for those rainy days, there is something to appeal to all ages and skills. Double page spread each focus on one idea, with lots of variations. The Blue Sky collage is just one example of a great activity for a group of friends or even a classroom display.Each idea is clearly explained, and the materials will be available in any home. I love the fact that there is a variety of activitoes around each theme - these aren't ideas that wil be finished in 5 minutes, but will keep children entertained for hours and they will have something worthwhile to show. A brilliant book - do buy a copy!

Fairy Tales Sticker Activity Book by Roger Priddy 

Children love fairy tales and this book is a super way to extend that interest. It includes over 200 stickers and lots of fun activities - give Mr Wolf some more teeth; decorate the gingerbread cottage; and many many more fun sticker activities. But there is far more to this book - enjoy sharing the fairy tales, doing the mazes, spot the difference, join the dots, counting, tracing and more. Lots of fun for children - this would be a super book for travelling or holidays.

Farmyard Tales Colouring Book by Felicity Brooks 

All the favourites from the Farmyard Tales are here and this is a lovely way to introduce children to this popular series. Colouring the outlines against the colourful backgrounds, writing - and lots of colourful stickers too . , And, yes, the Usborne Little Yellow Duck is there to be spotted on every page. A lovely way to give children the opportunity to try out their early learning skills.

Farmyard Tales Sticker Book by Jessica Greenwell 

Introduce your children to Apple Tree Farm with this lovely sticker book. There are lots of scenes to complete with the colourful stickers - Dolly the horse in her field, Mr Straw the scarecrow in his field, meet Poppy and Sam and much more.There is colouring and words to complete too. With The Little Yellow Duck to find in every picture as well.

Wipe Clean Early Learning Fun

This is another super series of activity books from Priddy Books. Designed for children of 3+, the sturdy pages wipe clean so children can practise over and over, using the special pen provided. Writing, counting, drawing and puzzles can be found in each book, designed to help hand-eye coordination and develop numeracy and literacy skills in a fun way. All are clearly illustrated in bright colours with lots of illustrations giving the opportunity for plenty of discussion. Attractively presented, these would be ideal for travelling and holidays. With plenty of popular topics to choose from, there's bound to be one to interest your child. I like the football one - a slightly less common topic for this age group but one that is bound to be popular.

Royal Wedding Doodles by Katy Jackson

Buster Books produce a wide range of really fun doodling books and this one is very topical. Get yourself a copy to doodle on the big day! This book is packed full of ideas for doodling, with outlines and plenty of tips to get you going. I like the way it gives ideas, so those of us who are less artistically inclined are encouraged to 'have a go'. The book also includes scrapbook pages to make a lasting memento of the day. I think this book would also be a fun present for children attending any wedding and would be lovely for them to complete through the day. Take a look at www.doyoudoodle.co.uk for lots more super colouring ideas. Try a page for yourself at http://www.parentsintouch.co.uk/Colouring

Make and Colour Greetings Cards by Clare Beaton

I love books which encourage children to be creative. The 20 pull out cards ready for colouring mean that children can produce a card to be proud of every time. All sorts of special occasions are included - birthdays,  Christmas, Mother's Day, as well as cards just to show friends they are in children's thoughts - and all for the cost of a couple of standard greetings cards. Further ideas are given for making more cards and these are super. There is even a template for envelopes. See www.bsmall.co.uk for lots more creative ideas.

Roman Activity Book by Sue and Steve Weatherill 

Romans are studied by children in KS2 and this is a super way to reinforce their studies and bring the subject to life. Lots of fun things to make, including a water clock, your own toga (useful for those fancy dress parties!), and some recipes (though you will only want to make one of them!). A handy stencil of Roman numerals and decorations will give rise to lots more activities and encourage creativity. All this, and lots of information about the Ancient Romans too, including a useful glossary.

Prof. Zacharias Zog's Splat-a-fact Mummies Activity Book

I know two young boys who will be thrilled with these two books! They are just perfect for boys and girls who love doodling, drawing and puzzles - and learning something as well! 
Every page is crammed with activities - let me just take one as an example. The page about the inside of a tomb has spotting scarabs, a joke, and drawing and colouring. Splat-a-fact boxes contain all sorts of fascinating bits of information that children will absorb whilst having fun. A4, with bold black and white illustrations, this series is bound to be a big hit for Salariya Books.  

 

Prof. Zacharias Zog's Splat-a-fact Dinosaurs Activity Book

Dinosaurs are always popular, but this book has a different and novel approach. Packed with activities - colouring, word searches, spot the difference, dot to dot, mazes and jokes, to name just a few. All sprinkled with a seasoning of interesting information - the sort of facts children will love to quote back at youfun!. I poarticularly like the activities aimed at extending children's creative writing skills, such as a storyboard and a comic strip to create. Great  

Kid's Garden - 40 Fun Indoor & Outdoor Activities & Games by Whitney Cohen

This brightly coloured and attractive set of durable cards is perfect for encouraging children to get outside and get active. An introductory sheet highlights each section covered on the colour-coded cards - Exploring the garden; planting and growing; fun with plants; discovering creatures; and creating garden art. This is a really practical yet fun guide - each activity has a time, season and list of necessary items. There are some really novel ideas here - plenty of inspiration. I like the tip at the end of each, which gives an extension activity. There are plenty of indoor activities for those rainy days too! A super set.

I Can Draw Playtime from Kingfisher Books

This is a super book for children to develop early drawing skills. Four simple stages are shown on a grid, making it easy for even young children to copy the objects, which include a train, a rocking horse and a scooter among others and vary in complexity, thus allowing skills to be developed. A great way to encourage confidence and a 'Can Do' attitude. This sturdy board book comes complete with a pen, which can be used on the wipe-clean pages. Bright pictures surround each page, making this a very attractive book. There are lots more in the series - do look out for them as children will find them great fun.

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Love2read photo book review

I was given the opportunity to compile a photo book so I decided to do this as a present for my granddaughters in Australia. I inserted photos of all their English family. The result was excellent and when I showed it to ‘the English family’ they immediately sent me more photos to send the girls another book in a few weeks time. They were delighted with the concept and thought it was a lovely way to keep families together.
The girls in Australia were very excited and loved their book. My daughter was very moved that I had taken the time to search for photos and to see her sisters and her niece and nephews. This is a delightful way not only to help children learn to read but also for them to begin to have a love of books. It is also extremely useful to keep families together all over the world. I would recommend this to parents, grandparents and friends as a simple but effective way to stimulate children to reading, communicating and having great pleasure from a book. I look forward to compiling my second edition! Try it and see! http://www.love2read.co.uk/

 Ye Olde Doodles by Andrew Pinder

This is a fascinating book and had me really keen to get drawing! I am not in the least artistic but this book makes it really easy and such fun. It is also a great way to brush up on history as it takes you from 2 million BC, through topics including Ancient Egypt, the Middle Ages, the building of the Taj Mahal, up to the 1970s - learn all sorts of weird and wonderful facts. Full of pictures to copy and complete and plenty of suggestions on how to tackel them, this is a great way to encourage children to draw and doodle. The quirky drawings are full of fascinating detail, yet make it look easy. GReat fun and continue practising your skills at www.doyoudoodle.co.uk. Hours of fun! Good to include in those school topics too.

Meeting the New Baby by Sue King

First Experience Sticker Books are a new series from Parragon Books. Each one contains over 50 colourful stickers; more than 20 learning activities and a fun story to help your child familiarise himself with the new experiences every child faces. Brightly illustrated in colour throughout, these books are full of opportunities for discussion and reassurance.
In this story, Alexander meets his new baby sister - and he can't wait! he learns that having a baby sister can be fun and his parents are very grateful for his help. Share with Alexander as he goes through the emotions older siblings feel at the advent of a baby.

Staying with Grandma by Sue King

More activities and sticker fun as Sam goes off to stay with Grandma for the first time. Another reassuring story to share with your toddler as you share in the fun Sam has with Grandma. A rich variety of activities to foster learning - a map to follow; counting; spot the difference; matching; colouring and more. Carefully finding and sticking in the stickers is ideal for developing hand/eye coordination. Plenty to do here.

First Day at School by Sue King

Simple colourful illustrations help children share Mia, Luke and Sophie's first day at school. Help your child learn what to expect - meeting the teacher; finding their pegs; the new desk; playtime and all the rest of the school routines. The ideal book to share with your child as you prepare together for that all-important start at school. Make the most of the interactive opportunities in this book to discuss your child's concerns in a fun way. Plenty to do and lots of learning opportunities.

 Going to the Doctor by Sue King

Another First Experience book to help your child find out what to expect in new situations. This time, join Joshua and Isabella as they go to the doctor. Joshua is unsure of himself and Mum reassures him through the pages of this book, just as you can reassure your child. Simple text and bright colours make these books an enjoyable read. These interactive books are a great opportunity to share and talk about common situations and to reassure your child. More books to come in the series soon - look out for them and buid up a complete set.

Funny Felt Farm Faces by Hannah Wilson

A brightly coloured interactive book with over 20 felt pieces to play with. Humorous pictures and rhyming text depict a range of farm animals - match the felt pieces to complete your own farm animals, using the suggestions in the book or mix them up to create your own faces. Help your child develop early vocabulary and creativity with this innovative book, which is a fun twist on the old favourite Fuzzy Felt. Great fun and a sturdy durable book, with a pocket to help ensure the pieces don't get lost. Look out for more in the series.

I Can Make Things for Easter by Jocelyn Miller

'Easter is all about life springing up new and fresh and joyful.' Help children to share in the joy of the season, both religious and secular, through the 16 colourful activities. They range from an Easter wreath, through to an unusual Easter Bunny card, recipes and woolly sheep. All are fully illustrated with step-by-step instructions, simple enough for children to follow on their own. There are plenty of ideas for classroom use with some lovely ideas for gifts for children to take home. Enjoy this book with your child and help them get into the spirit of the season, as well as developing their creative abilities and giving the satisfaction that comes from making things. 

Romans v Dinosaurs on Mars by Nikalas Catlow and Tim Wesson

Is it a fiction book or is it a doodling book? I will leave you to make up your own mind - but you can find another title (Robots v Gorillas in the Desert) on our fiction pages. In this hilarious story, imagine Romans and dinosaurs harmoniously living together on Mars - and a gigantic asteroid about to crash into the planet. Readers, especially boys, will revel in the funny story whilst having fun completing the pictures. Ideas are given to help creativity, making this fun for everyone. A nine year old boy enjoying this book said "The best book ever!" Great stories in themselves, with the added dimension of the doodling. I look forward to more in the series.

Little Learning Library 6 Sticker Activity Books by Priddy Books

A lovely box, with a carry handle perfect for little hands, of mini sticker and information books that will delight young children of 3+. Six books - Trucks, World, Baby Animals, Dinosaurs, Farm and Sea Life. Encourage your child's love for learning with the facts and then discuss what they have learnt  using the simple questions posed on most pages. The children can enhance learning and have fun with the colourful stickers in every book. A beautifully presented set which will make a lovely gift.

Fizz in the Kitchen by Susan Martineau

This book is subtitled 'Discover the fascinating science in everyday life' and that is exactly what this book helps children to do. Packed full of experiments to carry out in the kitchen, using the simplest of household ingredients, this is an excellent way to demonstrate to your child the science behind everyday happenings such as mixing oil and water; growing mould; and melting chocolate. The best way to understand science is to see it in action so this practical book is ideal. Clearly laid out and with appropriate safety warnings, this is a great book to share with your child and show that science is fun and an essential part of our lives. Quiz questions and a useful glossary complement the material well. Look out for others in the series from b small publishing.

Make Your Own Pyramid by Clare Beaton

This is an ingenious book, perfect to encourage your child's creativity at the same time as supporting KS2 studies of Ancient Egypt. Read the book first and learn all sorts of fascinating facts about pyramids, mummies, treasures, hieroglyphs and gods - with tricky words explained in the glossary. Then make up the pyramid from the sturdy card cover of the book and colour in the stand-up images to surround the pyramid. The final touch is the instructions on how to make your very own Egyptian necklace. Lots of variety in this super book to keep children entertained while learning.

I love dinosaurs giant activity book by Roger Priddy

This is a wonderful series! The books are absolutely jam-packed with activities and all beautifully presented. Each book includes 200 detailed and colourful stickers to enhance learning and enjoyment. The activities are all designed to stimulate children's learning and creativity and the mix of activities is well-balanced. In this book, learn about dinosaurs, with loads of interesting facts; colour the pictures; practise handwriting; enjoy the dot-to-dots.......... the list is endless. Dinosaurs are perennially popular but there is something new for everyone in this book. The activities are a marvellous way to increase your child's skills in all sorts of areas which will support and enhance their learning abilities.

I love trucks giant activity book by Roger Priddy 

200 stickers alone would make this book a great buy! Children will be absorbed by searching for the right place to put these beautiful stickers - the amount of detail in them is phenomenal. Add to that colouring, word searches, games, spot the difference, mazes, counting activities and fascinating facts and your child will be kept busy and happy for hours. The quality of the presentation of this series means they are not just books to use and discard, but to keep as a permanent addition to your child's library. A guaranteed success!

 

I love animals giant activity book by Roger Priddy

What child doesn't love animals? Children will be fascinated and entertained by the wealth of material in this book. Lots of fascinating facts about animals and plenty of opportunities for parents to interact with children throughout the activities. Help your child develop learning skills whilst having fun at the same time with the carefully the"Priddy Books publish innovative titles especilly for babies, toddlers and young children. Our brilliantly designed books use simple novelties that spark children's creativity and encourage their development." - from Priddy Books website.

Colouring Fun by Roger Priddy

This is one in a new series from Priddy Books. They have instant appeal with the clever carrying handle, making these perfect travel books. The books are designed to increase your child's creative skills and cover a wide range of activities ensuring there is something for every child. Creativity is encouraged by, for example, giving a picture of a desert and plenty of ideas on completing it. There are pictures to colour, join the dots, things to identify, tracing and how to draw. If that's not enough, there are also 100 stickers to add to the enjoyment. Full of super ideas for hours of fun.

 

I love the farm giant activity book by Roger Priddy 

Children are fascinated by life on the farm and it is great to introduce children to where our food comes from. Children learn, for example, to link farm animals, crops and the food we get from them. Plenty of activities to develop essential skills, such as observation, concentration, reading instructions and practising writing. Just the right blance so children enjoy one activity andf then move on to something fresh. 200 wonderful stickers too. This series would make great travel books or wet day books - I highly recommend them. Try the online games on the Priddy Books website. 

Number Puzzles by Roger Priddy

Encourage the development of your child's number skills in a fun way with this title from Priddy Books. Lots of different ideas to make learning to count fun, all brightly illustrated with bold pictures that will appeal to children. Dot-to-dot, sudoku and counting games are included, ensuring there is plenty to keep your child occupied and having fun whilst learning. The book also works well to increase children's observational skills, as there are lots of opportunities for spotting objects and having discussions about the pictures. All this, plus 100 stickers makes this great value.

 

 
   

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Film Poster Book

This behind-the-scenes Film Poster book is packed with film photos and facts about the stars of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Find out what the actors’ favourite filming moments were or what they would like to do if there weren’t acting. The full-colour portrait and film photographs feature all the favourite characters, including Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, Draco Malfoy, Luna Lovegood and many more. There is also a big fold-out poster at the back for Harry Potter fans to stick on their bedroom wall.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Mini Sticker Book

Go sticker-tastic with this Mini Sticker book containing a whopping 200 mini stickers to complete the pages and relive memorable moments from the latest film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1™!

© Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Harry Potter Publishing Rights © JKR. www.penguin.co.uk

The Penguins of Madagascar: Operation Attitude

This little book has everything! Cartoon strip stories, penguin puzzles, quizzes, activities, jokes and stickers. This is one of a series of books published by Ladybird to tie in with the Madagascar films. In the first story, the penguins sense that they are being watched, but they turn the tables on the watchers.This book is excellent value for money, with lavish illustrations. Great entertainment value!

The Penguins of Madagascar: The Perfect Zoovenir Sticker Book

Take a tour around New York Zoo and have fun populating all the various areas with the 50+ stickers provided. When the zoo closes to the public at the end of the day, the fun is just beginning for these lovable, humorous characters. Great fun to go along with the Nickelodeon series on TV.

 2013 Annuals

 

Justin's Annual 2013 by Justin Fletcher

Justin Fletcher is one of the most popular stars on children's TV, so  i am certain that this, his first ever annual, will be found in many a Christmas stocking! The well-tried and ever popular annual format includes puzzles, games, stories and activities to keep young ones entertained for many hours - and they will love to share the jokes with you! It is all fun, but children will be developing essential early learning skills at the same time. Children will love to spot their favourite characters as they enjoy the multitude of colourful activities.

Deadly Annual 2013 by Steve Backshall

Fans of the wonderful Steve Backshall will be thrilled to see this, his first annual. The first of many, I hope, as Steve has done so much to raise awareness of the wonders of natural life and to inspire children.A year packed full of adventure from the Deadly 60 team as the reader joins their travels around the world. Containing brand new material, children will enjoy many hours of fun while learning about deadly creatures through facts, photos, quizzes, puzzles and activities.

 

 

Horrid Henry Annual 2013 by Francesca Simon

The appeal of annuals never fades! Children love to see their favourite characters in a variety of situations and with a range of quizzes, puzzles, jokes, activities, extracts, and much more to enjoy. Annuals back up their interest in the character and extend interest in the books. Perennial favourite Horrid Henry is back with annother action-packed annual for 2013. There's a huge range here, with something for everyone and it may well make new fans for Horrid Henry. Enjoy making a bat mobile, learn how to survive when camping, find ideas for the school fair, see if you can be a star.... just some of the many things to do. 

 

 

 
 
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