A Baker's Dozen of Books to Keep the Kids Occupied When They Can't Go Out

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Are you running out of inspiration for what to do with the kids when they can't go out? We've come up with a baker's dozen of books to give you some brilliant ideas.


100 Simple Paper Flowers by Kelsey Elam

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100 Simple Paper Flowers is an easy-to-follow guide to creating impressive floral artworks that could almost be mistaken for the real thing. Whether it is a craft project, something to brighten up a room, or a full-on display for a big event, the book has plenty of styles and designs to fit the occasion. And unlike real flowers, your paper creations will never die. Full Review


Dadcando: Build, Make, Do ... the Best Way to Spend Quality Time with Your Kids by Chris Barnardo

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The ideas in this book originated as a website that Chris Barnardo set up for divorced and separated fathers to help them spend quality time with their children Now he's written a book that although aimed at single fathers is equally as useful for married dads, and mums too or grandparents or carers to inspire crafty ideas of things to make with kids. Full Review


Drawing Projects for Children by Paula Briggs

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Drawing Projects For Children is a beautiful, full-colour guide that encourages children to use a range of materials to create stunning and thought-provoking artwork. As the author points out, the end result is not always as important as the journey and this book helps children to move away from the more traditional, or 'safe' type of drawing styles and indulge in a little more experimentation and risk-taking. The book is ideal for parents to use with their children, but each chapter is a self-contained lesson plan that facilitators and teachers can use with groups. Full Review


Explore and Draw Patterns: An Art Activity Book by Owen Davey and Georgia Amson-Bradshaw

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Explore and Draw Patterns is a beautifully presented interactive workbook designed to spark creativity and imagination. The appeal of the subject matter is universal; everyone loves to doodle, so the book would be equally enjoyable for adults or children. Full Review


Fiona Goble's Fairy Tale Knits: 20 Enchanting Characters to Make by Fiona Goble

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It's a lovely idea: knitting patterns for twenty fairy tale characters and a brief story to go with them. There's the pleasure of knitting the characters and then of a child playing with them alongside a story and then being able to use their imaginations to build their own stories. Best of all, it's done without a battery or a computer/games console in sight. It's a winner all round. Full Review

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Flowerpot Farm: A First Gardening Activity Book by Lorraine Harrison

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With the demand for us to eat seemingly more fruit and vegetables every day, the world of grow-your-own is back. Why buy from the supermarket when you can release the kids into the garden to graze like cattle? However, before you do this, perhaps you should pick up a book like Flowerpot Farm by Lorraine Harrison and Faye Bradley which will show them how to create their own fruit, veg and flower garden no matter how small a space they have to work with. Full Review


Harry Potter Magical Places & Characters Postcard Colouring Book: 20 Postcards to Colour by Various Authors

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Take a book of postcards - go on, take it - it's small enough to pop in a pocket or even a handbag and there's a substantial backing to it so that even when you get to the last one there's still a reasonable surface to work on. You get twenty postcards and they are proper postcards with space for you to write a message and a name and address on the back. They're more substantial than a lot of postcards I've received through the post so they're not going to get all mangled when they come through the letterbox. The thick card also means that you don't get bleed through from one side of the card to the other when you use a felt-tip pen or paints. Full Review


Make a Mobile: 12 Cool Designs to Press Out and Hang by Lydia Crook

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Make a Mobile is a delightful crafting book crammed full of projects for parents and children to share. The book contains 12 unique designs that fit together beautifully and are surprisingly easy to make. The perforated pages allow the components of each mobile to be simply pushed out from the page without the need for nimble scissor skills. Full Review

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My Year in Small Drawings: Notice, Draw, Appreciate by Matilda Tristram

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In recent years there has been an upsurge in the publication of 'interactive' books, designed to spark our creativity. Colouring books for adults, as well as my teenage daughter's current favourite: Wreck This Journal, seek to tap into our creative side, whilst promoting mindfulness and relaxation. By actively encouraging us to slow down and look at the world around us, books like these enable us to take time out of our busy lives and just enjoy the present moment. And this method must be working because they are proving incredibly popular. I was intrigued, therefore, at the idea behind My Year in Small Drawings, which invites readers to create a visual diary of the world around us by creating a series of small pictures on a given subject. Full Review


Paper Play by Lydia Crook

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Paper Play is a virtual time machine, taking us back to an era before the PC, tablet and games console, when children had the ability to amuse themselves for hours with a few sheets of paper, some scissors and some glue. Simple papercraft skills were passed down from generation to generation, arming creative minds with a seemingly endless supply of crafting ideas, including paper dress-up dolls, flying contraptions and finger puppets. Full Review


Pattern Play: Cut, Fold and Make Your Own 3D Animal Models by Danielle Kroll and Nghiem Ta

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Here's a neat idea for you. Provide pages with animal prints on one side - only by animal prints, I mean the sort of colours and pattern which you see on animals, not paw prints! Some are subtle and others are rather more in-your-face. On the reverse of these printed pages provide a cutting line so that you can cut and fold the paper and it becomes a 3D model of an animal. Provide some stickers which replicate faces, tails or beaks - or whatever else you feel needs highlighting - and number these so that they get into the right place. All you need to add to the mix is a pair of scissors, parental supervision if necessary for the cutting, a little imagination and you have hours of fun. Full Review

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Rainforest Masks: Ten 3D Rainforest Masks to Press Out and Make by Gavin Rutherford and Tanya Batrak

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I have been having the most tremendous fun making rainforest masks: you know the effect that you get when a really talented face artist does a young child's face and you see the tiger? Well, this is an even better result and it's in 3D. All the creatures are, as you would expect, from the rainforest regions of the world, but there's decidedly more here than the usual suspects. You get a green iguana, toucan, jaguar, emperor tamarin, blue morpho butterfly, red-eyed tree frog, Brazilian tapir, giant otter, blue-and-yellow macaw and the emerald tree boa. Never heard of some of them? Well, don't worry: the book is gently educational, with a paragraph telling you just enough about the creature. Full Review


The School of Art: Learn How To Make Great Art With 40 Simple Lessons by Teal Triggs and Daniel Frost

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Written with an interesting approach, this book treats the reader as a new art student to The School of Art. The five professors of the school take the student through 40 different lessons, looking at a huge range of ideas right from how to draw a line, perspective and proportion, composition and aesthetics. Aimed probably at senior school children it could, however, also be used by older primary children who are particularly interested in art, and if you were working through the book with your child then a younger child could also try out some of the lesson ideas and suggestions. Full Review


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