Friday, July 15, 2011

SPL Shelf Life [Kids]

These reviews appeared in the Stratford Gazette on July 14, 2011

Written by Sally Hengeveld, Librarian
 
15 Minutes Outside: 365 Ways to Get Out of the House and Connect With Your Kids, by Rebecca P. Cohen, 228 pages.
@ SPL: J 790.191 Coh

What could your family do together, outside, in just fifteen minutes a day? Quite a bit, says Rebecca Cohen, mother of two and host of a television series, “Get Out of the House”.


In our rushed, overscheduled age, in which so much time is spent indoors, taking fifteen minutes each day to escape to the outdoors is – well – like a breath of fresh air. And there’s no lack of ways in which to spend that outdoor time. From playing hopscotch, blast ball or flashlight tag, to creating ice cube art, engaging in some bubble or water play, making a butterfly station, growing some herbs or vegetables or simply observing clouds or hummingbirds, 365 uncomplicated projects, games and crafts perfect for your backyard or the neighbourhood park are detailed in this practical book. Parents will also find suggestions for activities at night, in the winter and in rainy weather. The whole family will have fun together, enjoying some fresh air away from the television or the computer screen, while making connections with nature and creating some positive family memories.


With busy parents (or grandparents) in mind, the suggestions are easy and inexpensive, requiring little or no planning and few resources. Intended for either rural or urban families, the book is organized into twelve chapters – one for each month of the year.


Rebecca Cohen is a “spokesmom” for the U.S. National Wildlife Federation’s “Be Out There” program.


** Recommended for parents, grandparents and caregivers.



Fun Family Projects: 15 Great Ideas that Mom, Dad and Kids Can Build and Enjoy! by Edward Potokar and the “crew” of “This Old House”, 141 pages.

Fun Family Projects@ SPL: J 728.9 Pot

A lemonade stand, soccer goal net, tree swing, sandbox, stilts, bat house, birdfeeder, mini golf course, tree fort, easel, toy chest and a wall cubby are just some of the fun and very eye-catching projects outlined in Fun Family Projects.


Parents will find that these projects are more time-consuming than the activities in “15 Minutes Outside” (reviewed above), but all are quite doable, and again, are activities that families will enjoy together. Some tools are required.


Materials to buy, an estimated cost and the tools needed, are listed for each project. Easy-to-follow instructions, which include photos and diagrams, are supplemented by templates and how-to videos available on the “This Old House” website. Safety is emphasized – for example, safety glasses are always recommended, and parents are advised to use any power tools.


This easy-to-use resource is just one of the various craft and activity books to keep children and families busy this summer, available at the Stratford Public Library.


** Recommended for parents and grandparents.

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