Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Summer Books "There's nothing to do!"

It's that time, again.
School closed.
Mosquitoes buzzing (and biting).
Sunscreen flowing.
Frogs and fireflies temporarily free.
S'mores roasting!
And, at my house, the constant whine of...
"Mom, there's nothing to do."

Years ago in summer camp, we made God's eyes and lanyards, painted rocks, sang camp songs, and put on skits. Personally, when I wasn't in camp, the books I checked out of the library made my summer. With help from craft books, cookbooks, and anthologies, I created paper mache bowls, ate ice cream cone people, and performed puppets shows.

In my kids' activities (class parties, Brownies, and preschool), they have experienced all the tried and true crafts, snacks, and games at least twice. It's a tough crowd. For personal and professional reasons, I perused many books to find unique ideas to hopefully elicit comments like... "Mom, this is cool."

Here's a small sampling of my favorite books to help keep kids happy this summer:

38 Ways to Entertain Your Parents on Summer Vacation
Dette Hunter (author)
Kitty Macaulay (illustrator)
Annick Press 2005

Hands down, the best children's book for summer, and check out the title... what child wouldn't want to see what's inside? Having taught winter after school classes titled "Summer Arts and Crafts", instructed ten years of Art Appreciation activities, and bought and read every art and craft book known to man, I thought I had seen every craft possible. The ideas, activities, and fun things to do in this book are so simple, unique, and creative. But most importantly, it's a book written for kids... to empower them and to give them the ideas to enrich their summer. The illustrations are very cute and engaging.

The Kids Summer Games Book: The Official Book of Games to Play (Family Fun)
Jane Drake, Ann Love (authors)
Heather Collins (illustrator)
Kids Can Press May 2002

An indispensable book for fun in the summer. Easy-to-follow instructions for over 150 classic and new indoor and outdoor games. Yes, there are alternatives to Lego Star Wars on Playstation 2 and Guitar Hero on the Wii.

The Super Duper Art and Craft Activity Book Over 75 Indoor and Outdoor Crafts for Kids (52 Series)
Lynn Gorden (author)
Karen Johnson, Susan Synarski (illustrators)
Chronicle Books October 2005

Written by the authors of the 52 deck activity series, this book compiles the same simple, easy-to-do, creative projects that are in the card series. Fun title, cool graphic styling, and the well-written simple instructions make this book a must have.

Betty Crocker's Kids Cook!
Betty Crocker's Editors
Betty Crocker July 2007

Updated version of our old favorite. Girl and boy-friendly with fun, graphic novel styling, and awesome dishes to create. Personally, I really like photos in cookbooks so this book is perfect.

Betty Crocker's Cookbook for Boys and Girls
Facsimile Edition
Betty Crocker August 2003

Don't you just love looking at this cover? (Sorry, I had to put this in here for me.)

The Skit Book: 101 Skits from Kids
Margaret MacDonald
August House October 2006

Nothing says summer to me more than the words, "Let's put on a show". The skits in this book are so kid-friendly; easy-to-read, relatable, funny, and quite creative.

The summer after first grade, all the kids in the neighborhood performed a play, The French Doll's Surprise. I just recently found the script borrowed from a library book. My garage was the stage with the garage door as the curtain. I also found the script I wrote for a puppet show the summer after fourth grade, The Runaway Princess. I may post it on my website someday... it's priceless.

While perusing to write this post, I found many other great summer activity books. Stay tuned until next month for more fantastic boredom-busting books. Do any of you have a favorite summer activity (from your childhood!) that you would like to share in the comments?

Here's to a great summer. Now, get out there and take a hike, eat a s'more, make a craft, play a game, and have some fun!


Linda Salzman said...

Great suggestions! I think I'm going to have to order that skit book and maybe the 38 creative ideas book and maybe....Between you and Don I'm going to be broke.

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