I don’t usually post kid stuff, but I couldn’t resist this one because it’s really fun, utilizes a bunch of recycled stuff, and plays into something that’s been on my mind a lot lately – how plugged in my kid is. He knows all about You Tube, Amazon video and every cartoon on PBS at almost five. At the end of the day, it’s probably fine – we’re fully ensconced in the digital age, and it would be remiss for us to not teach him how to navigate that. But still – balance is key. I want to make sure he gets a chance to use his imagination and develop that, and has fun without a screen being involved.
Make Your Own Zoo: 35 Projects For Kids Using Everyday Cardboard Packaging by Tracey Radford is one of the answers (and I was lucky enough to get a review copy from the publisher). This book shows you how to turn toilet paper rolls, cereal boxes, egg cartons and the like into fun animals and scenery. You can make everything from a safari scene, to jungle, aquarium, and aviary – a veritable zoo. My son loved making his own lion, and has started a zebra for it to chase. That’s the great thing about a book like this – you get two times the fun out of the projects – first the joy of making a fun craft, and secondly by playing with the toys you create. And for us parents, a few choice creatures will make their way into the keepsake box when they’ve been played with. And I really appreciate how these project utilize items that would otherwise be recycling – giving them new life before they eventually make their way out of the house. All around, it’s a really fun book and I’m glad to have it on the shelf – we’ll be working our way through all of the animals.