Reviewed by Gwen Bates
When you go to the shelf at your local library looking for children's crafts, you'll be amazed at the collection. There is an abundance of books on entertaining your children, but most are specific to an age group or activity theme. Pamela Waterman's The Absolute Best Play Days addresses all areas to create theme days for the whole family to enjoy.
Ms. Waterman's book is unique in that she constructs an entire day (or week) around a particular theme. This includes activities for indoor and out, suggestions for books, videos, snacks and crafts, all revolving around the central theme. There are 52 weeks of theme day activities in this book, including bears, boats, dinosaurs, hair, inventions, kitchen fun and more! The Absolute Best Play Days provides helpful suggestions which make theme ideas flexible for both indoor and outdoor activities, especially important as we face the cooped up days of winter. The book also includes the always needed "Quiet Time" activity!
Each theme section contains the following:
- Art/Craft Suggestion(s)
- Indoor Activity
- Outdoor Activity
- Music Suggestions
- Book List
- Videotape List
- Hints for Your Own Situation
- Snack Time
- Extra Follow Up Activity
Ms. Waterman presents each project clearly with helpful notes and pictures. It is easy for you to say "I can do this!" Her use of resources found around the house and library makes it easy and inexpensive, so even on a tight budget you can provide days full of fun for your children. Supplies can include tubes from paper towels/toilet paper, shoe boxes, plastic baskets from berries/tomatoes, baby wipe boxes, egg cartons, catalogs, construction paper, washable markers, yarn ... as you can see all commonly available items with very little expense.
Another great feature of this book is that the ideas are adaptable to multiple age groups simultaneously. I would suggest this book to anyone who has children of varying ages to entertain. It is one of the few choices I have found to provide the adaptability to meet all my children's needs - ages 3, 4 and 8!
The Absolute Best Play Days, Pamela Waterman, Sourcebooks Inc., Naperville IL, 1999.
Gwen Bates is the Support Coordinator for 4nannies.com Inc., the original online nanny employment service.