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Activity books are a great way to keep kids entertained. Pack one of these activity or puzzle books for your next long journey. To help you choose, download an extract and you can order the book too!
September 2019 Book of the Month | This lovely book is packed with a whole host of ideas so that parents, with the help of their children, can throw a fabulous party themed around Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s much loved Room on the Broom picture book. It’s all there, from invitations to party games and decorations, to tasty food – cauldron sandwiches and ice cream potion anyone? All the ideas are fun but straightforward and well-explained, while extras helpfully include photocopiable and traceable pages. Guaranteed to make the party preparations lots of fun while the two hours party time itself will fly by!
September 2019 Book of the Month | Room on the Broom, Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s story of a kind-hearted witch is now recognised as a modern classic, a book that should be in every little child’s collection. With its rhyme and repetition, jolly cast of characters and wonderfully satisfying ending, it can hardly be bettered – except that here it can, because as well as the story and the pictures and the rhyme, there are also sound buttons so that children can join in and croak with the frog, woof with the dog and ‘whoosh’ with the broom. One to share for Hallowe’en or indeed any night of the year.
Every Harry Potter fan worth their salt will know their wingardium leviosa from their expelliamus, but this handsome book takes a really close look at the myriad different spells cast and warded off in the books, using stills and images from the Warner Brothers films as illustration. There are quotes and anecdotes from the actors too together with behind-the-scenes information on how the spells were created on screen. It all makes for fascinating stuff, and added extras include stickers, pull out posters and, best of all, a set of special Patronus cards for characters including Harry, Ron and Hermione. Guaranteed to keep Harry Potter fans spellbound for hours!
August 2019 Book of the Month | Inside this sturdy and pretty little box, children will find the story of Alice in Wonderland, but told via 20 double-sided puzzle pieces (and with some thoroughly modern twists – the White Rabbit sports a natty baseball cap and unlocks flamingos from what looks a lot like a bike docking system). It’s up to readers to put the pieces of the story together which, of course, allows for endless new and different versions. The illustrations by Anne Laval are bright, lively and attractive, and surely Lewis Carroll would have thoroughly approved of the concept. Great fun for children who enjoy reading and creating their own stories.
Brain Factor is a colourful picture quiz with question cards that introduce children to the world around them. Questions feature number and pattern games, letter and blended sound recognition, shapes, mixed up stories, rhyming words and questions about the world. The questions for these age groups are picture based with simple supporting text and Milly the Mouse to guide you through. We asked a mum what she thought of Brain Factor - "Brain Factor are a range of quiz fans for children ages 3 – 7. The convenient fan format means you can read a question then slide just slide out the next card to get the answer. It is a good size for children and robust, so it’s perfect for popping in a bag or in the car so you can pull it out and entertain the kids whenever you need. A very handy product for occupying those spare moments while waiting for a bus or for older siblings etc. A great alternative to them playing on a screen. The questions cover a wide range of topics including number and pattern recognitions, shapes, letter recognition, rhymes and mixed up stories. The simple text for the 3-4, 4-5, and 5-6 fans are accompanied by colourful appealing illustrations. Each of the younger fans has an animal character who leads the children through the question and introduces them to the world around them. Milly the Mouse in the fan for ages 3-4 gets involved in everything from gardening to learning to use a pedestrian crossing. There were lots of questions in these fans that opened up broader conversations with my 3 year old daughter about the world around. She’s enjoyed going back to the fan over and over and I’ve found the question level well judged. She was able to answer plenty of them, but found others challenging. Each of the fans have somewhere between 130 – 250 questions so you get a lot of use from them. I think these fans are helping her develop skills that will be useful when she starts school, but the best thing is she loves playing with them." Vanessa Parker
These books hit the back of the net every time as far as I’m concerned. Packed full of facts, information and insight on a range of school topics, but all of them explained through football. Subjects covered include biology, via close-ups on footballers’ feet (not nearly as nice as you’d think apparently); physics – why it pays to be small when you’re dribbling (Lionel Messi anyone?); history, includes a look at the creation of the rules of football, something that took place in Sheffield in 1857; while the chapter on English is all about how to be a successful commentator. It’s fascinating stuff, and really memorable too. Anyone who reads this will learn a lot, no matter their age, and they’ll laugh a lot too – much of it is very funny, and cartoons by Spike Gerrell add to the entertainment value. Top of the league reading! One of our 2018 Books of the Year.
Little mouse Winston stars in a perfect Christmas adventure. Even for a mouse, he’s small but Winston’s got a big heart and when he finds a lost letter for Father Christmas he’s determined to see it delivered. His expedition is full of challenges, but along the way he’s helped by some equally warm-hearted and generous animals, including a beautiful white cat and a rat who ‘works’ at the famous Fortesque’s department store. Winston’s good deed is rewarded and the little mouse finds a warm bed and a new family for Christmas. The book is divided into 24 ½ chapters – one a day for 1st – 24th December plus a treat for Christmas morning! Interspersed are festive craft activities too and there can’t be a better book to set readers up for Christmas. Alex T Smith’s illustrations are gorgeous – big, busy and dramatic scenes but always with our little hero centre stage.
In typically lively style Andy Seed provides youngsters and their families with loads of ideas for things you can do outdoors, whether that’s in the garden, at the beach, in the countryside or town. Some of the activities offer great opportunities to get delightfully mucky, while there are lots of quieter, more specifically educational ones too (like making a bird feeder, or a paper Frisbee). There’s a section of graded activity challenges at the end, which can and will be enjoyed by the whole family and it’s all laid out in a way that makes every suggested activity seem both fun and eminently do-able. ~ Andrea Reece
Our field guide contains tips, tricks, secrets, character guides and insider info on how to catch 'em all. Features insider insight from Casey Halter (aka Ivy St. Ive, who went viral for offering Pokémon Go training sessions), whether you're a Level 1 newbie or a Level 25 master trainer, the Unofficial Pokémon Go Field Guide is the ultimate handbook for tracking and catching Pokémon all over the world!
Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell wants children to draw more – in fact he’d like them to do what he does and draw every day. This little book is a wonderful way to encourage us all to do just that. In it he suggests something to draw for every day of the year. Some suggestions are quite specific: draw a family member being attacked by a household appliance; illustrate the word sinister. There are ‘how to’ pages and some very useful and interesting tips, e.g. look at your drawing upside down or in a mirror to see if you’re distorting your pictures; and lots of fun story starters too. Chris Riddell’s enthusiasm for drawing shines through, and you can’t help but feel inspired and ready to take up your pencils. Put this in a stocking or under the tree and you’ll prompt a year’s worth if not a lifetime’s happy scribbling. ~ Andrea Reece
It's everything you ever wanted to know about every Pokemon - all in one place! This revised and updated edition of the 2008 bestseller has stats and facts kids need to know about all 646 Pokemon. The book includes 64 new pages focusing on the 153 new Pokemon that just debuted in the Pokemon Black & White videogames. The revised & updated Ultimate Handbook is an absolute must-have for Pokemon fans. It's sure to be a bestseller with kids of all ages.
Fans of David McKee’s friendly little elephant – and let’s face it, who doesn’t love Elmer? – will thoroughly enjoy this fun activity book. Each page is a feast for the eyes, busy scenes of Elmer’s friends with various challenges for readers. There are things to spot, characters to find, and lots to count too. Though there isn’t a story as such, the book is still brimful of the warmth and conviviality that are Elmer’s trademarks, and of course it’s always a pleasure to gaze at McKee’s fabulous illustrations.
As bright and colourful as the books about him, this Elmer activity book is full of fun drawing and colouring activities, all starring our favourite patchwork elephant and his friends. In day-glo primary colours there’s a lovely sunny feel to it and quite a few jokes have sneaked their way in too, guaranteeing smiles all round. Just the thing to pass the long summer days.
Doing exactly what it says on the tin, this book is indeed packed with things for kids to do with science and the great news is that all 101 of them are fun and generally easy to do, and that they can be created from craft materials or items that all of us will have readily to hand. The instructions are straightforward and written in a conspiratorial style that positively encourages children to ‘create mayhem’ while on each page a paragraph called ‘The Sciencey Bit’ explains the scientific process behind each experiment. Diagrams and colour photos make it more accessible and attractive to look at too. With activities that can be carried out indoors and outdoors, this will be great for the Easter and summer holidays. ~ Andrea Reece ***There is special activity pack with ideas to celebrate Science Week to download here! British Science Week is 10–19 March - find out more at www.britishscienceweek.org