Create Your Own Paper Crafts with These 4 Activity Books!

Paper crafts have long been common in Japan and now they are becoming more popular in the U.S. as well, thanks to some amazing books that will entertain your children (or you), while promoting hand-eye coordination at the same time.

Papertoy Monsters: Make Your Very Own Amazing Papertoys!
Brian Castleforte
Ages 5+

My children received this title for Christmas and it was a huge hit. The book contains 50 pre- perforated monsters, ready to pop-up, fold and glue. Also included are 10 blank templates, and I wish the kit had included more, because my 5-year-old son really enjoys creating monsters from scratch. Eventually the kids made so many monsters that we needed to bring my daughter’s doll house downstairs to house them all. I like how this set is boy-friendly, while still appealing to girls. The kids love how each monster has a detailed story that accompanies it. A true winner!

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My Book Of Easy Crafts
Kumon
Ages 4+

Kumon is famous for their academic classes and workbooks. But they also produce beautiful crafting books for younger children. My Book of Easy Crafts contains many folding and cutting projects that are both educational and fun. Most four-year-olds will need extra help, but the results are worth the trouble!

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My Book of Amazing Crafts (Kumon Workbooks)Kumon
Ages 5/6+

The crafts in this activity books are similar to My Book of Easy Crafts, but increase in difficulty. This was the first paper crafting book my daughter ever did and she has been hooked ever since.

Paper Wonderland: 32 Terribly Cute Toys Ready to Cut, Fold & Build
Michelle Romo
Ages 8+

This book is considerably more challenging than the others mentioned above. Some of the projects are so sophisticated that adults would find it challenging and enjoyable. For instance, one craft is a toaster that actually pops out little paper toast! That said, my 8-year-old daughter adores this book. She carefully constructed each item and took enormous pride in her accomplishments. 

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Here are few more books that we have not yet tried, but plan on getting soon. Enjoy!

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2013 Gift Giving Ideas: 14 Plush Characters From Children’s Literature

Children learn best through creative play and at least in my house that play often involves a pile of stuffed toys. Each and every one of my kids’ beloved plush animals has a name, back story and designated location in the house. So if you are looking for a holiday gift for that special child in your life, here are fourteen (plus) book/toy pairings that promote literacy and fun.

Book: The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter
Character Traits: Peter Rabbit is adventurous and daring, but he sometimes has difficulty extracting himself from tricky situations.
Toy: Nursery Peter Rabbit, 11″ Plush – $17.30

Book: Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! by Mo Willems
Character Traits: Pigeon knows what he wants and is not afraid to go after it – even if that means throwing a fit.
Toy: Stuffed Pigeon Toy (with Voice) – $23.41

Book: We Are in a Book! (An Elephant and Piggie Book) , among others, by Mo Willems
Character Traits: Gerald is cautious and anxious, but very devoted to his friend. Piggie is carefree and funloving. Together, they make a great combo.
Toy: Elephant 7″ & Piggie 5″ Soft Toys – $15

Book: Horton Hears A Who! by Dr. Seuss
Character Traits: Horton is cares for his friends – no matter how small.
Toy: Dr Seuss Collection – Horton Plush – $19

Book: Olivia by Ian Falconer
Character Traits: Olivia is smart, determined and highly dramatic.
Toy: Olivia Large Plush Cuddle Buddy – $16.65

Book: Duck & Goose
Character Traits: Duck and Goose are best of friends, but they don’t always see eye-to-eye.
Toy: 9″ Duck & Goose Doll Plush Pair - $15

Book: Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney
Character Traits: Like all toddlers, Llama gets nervous when his mama isn’t around, especially at nighttime!
Toy: Llama Llama 13.5″ Plush Stuffed Animal Doll – $15.17

Book: The Complete Adventures of Curious George: 70th Anniversary Edition by Margret and H.A. Rey
Character Traits: George is curious, of course, and somewhat of a troublemaker, but he is always eager to help out.
Toy: Gund 16″ Curious George Plush Figure – $18.31

Book: Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans
Character Traits: Madeline is the smallest and bravest of the little girls at her boarding school.
Toy: My Friend Madeline Soft Doll 10″ – $18.90

Book: Paddington by K.W. Alley
Character Traits: Paddington is a very well-mannered bear from Peru, who manages to get into quite a few scrapes.
Toy: My First Paddington Bear 7.25 Plush Teddy Bear Stuffed Animal by Yottoy $20.80

Book: Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale by Mo Willems
Character Traits: Knuffle Bunny is a loyal friend, unless she is accidentally misplaced by her owner.
Toy: Knuffle Bunny – $23.40

Book: Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons by James Dean
Character Traits: Pete likes to play it cool, even when things don’t go his way.
Toy: Merrymakers Pete the Cat Doll – $14.59

More Stuffed Toys Based on Children’s Literature

Happy Holidays!

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dinosaur

10 Dinosaur Books Your Child Will Roar For

Despite their fearsome appearance and unpronounceable names, children adore dinosaurs. When I was a child, I had a T-Rex toy that I regularly fed bits of food and then pretended to attack other dinosaurs. I was a complete girly-girl, but T-Rex provided an outlet for my more savage side. In many current picture books, dinosaurs tend to represent the kind of questionable (but entertaining) behavior that children frequently engage in, namely, disregulation, with a touch of ferocity.

Tea Rex
Molly Idle
Ages 3+

If I was planning on throwing a civilized tea party, this would be the last character I would want to invite. T-Rex initially comports himself well, but the temptation to misbehave soon overwhelms him and his menacing size quickly becomes problematic. Despite his terrible behavior, which includes almost eating a teddy bear and drinking tea out of the hostess’ hat, all is forgiven and T-Rex returns the favor by throwing his own tea party for dinosaurs and children. I love children’s books where the illustrations intentionally clash with the text; in this case, the words as straight-laced as the pictures are outlandish.

Dinosaur vs. the Library
Bob Shea
Ages 2+

Dinosaur loves books, but does he know how to behave in the library? Kids understand the consequence of trying to contain a dinosaur in an enclosed space – complete chaos! But like other more humanoid, wild creatures, Dinosaur must learn the right way to act. Toddlers will also love Dinosaur vs. Bedtime and Dinosaur vs. the Potty.

How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night?
Jane Yolen, Illustrated by Mark Teague
Ages 2+

Yolen and Teague are superstars and this book truly deserves its popularity, as do many of the books in the How Do Dinosaurs… series.  I love the detailing in this book, from the very realistic looking dinosaurs to looks of increasing exasperation (and maybe fear?) on the faces of the parents, when their beloved dinosaur offspring refuse to go to sleep. This book has been a regular part of our bedtime routine for years now and it never fails to elicit a laugh or a smile.

Dinosaurs Love Underpants
By Claire Freedman and Ben Cort
Ages 3+

Many children already know the scientific reality behind the age of the dinosaurs: that it ended millions of years ago – long before humans walked the Earth. But it is much more fun to imagine early humans interacting with dinosaurs. In Dinosaurs Love Underpants, there is a standoff after a group of all-male cavemen came up with an amazing new invention – briefs, and dinosaurs start pursuing them. “I don’t want to eat you up,” menaces T. rex, “I want your underpants!” Of course, there are not enough underpants to go around, and the ensuing fighting eventually results in the demise of the dinosaurs. My son particularly enjoyed looking at the many kinds of underpants featured in this book.

Dinotrux
Chris Gall
Ages 4+

The idea that dinosaurs evolved into birds may be a controversial idea with some people, but what about the idea that they evolved into trucks? After all, why not pair two major fascinations of young boys – dinosaurs and construction vehicles, and throw in a lot of potty humor to boot? This book may not be for everyone, but it is certainly original, as long as you can figure out how to pronounce names such as Dumploducus and Dozeratops. Fans of DinoTrux should also check out Revenge of the Dinotrux.

Dinosaur Dig!
Penny Dale
Ages 3+

Dinosaur Dig pairs dinosaurs and trucks in a softer, gentler and somewhat less creative way.  I like this book because it provides the names of all of the different types of dinosaurs and vehicles, which is always helpful when reading to inquisitive children. My son likes how they worked together to build a prehistoric water park.

Tadpole Rex
By Kurt Cyrus
Ages 4+

Tadpole Rex is my son’s favorite dinosaur book and it is not even really about dinosaurs, it is about a tadpole that thinks he is a T-rex! Few species remain from the Jurassic Era, but it apparently frogs are one of them. By watching realistic-looking dinosaurs interact with a more familiar animal, children can appreciate how enormous they would seem in our modern world.

Dinosaur Bones
By Bob Barner
Ages 3+

Today, we mostly know dinosaurs from their bones and when children visit museums, like we did the other day, they are primarily looking at skeletons. Dinosaur Bones is a straightforward explanation about what we actually know about the creatures and why we know it. For more detailed information about dinosaurs for slightly older children, check out The Magic School Bus in the Time of the Dinosaurs.

Dinosaur Roar
By Paul and Henrietta Stickland
Ages 1+

When my children were babies, this silly book of opposites was one of our top picks. The illustrations are farcical, and the language is simple and direct. “Dinosaur roar, dinosaur squeak; Dinosaur fierce, dinosaur meek.” I probably read this book a hundred times and eventually it ended up in five pieces, which is a toddler’s highest compliment.

Dini Dinosaur
By Karen Beaumont and Illustrated by Daniel Roode
Ages 2+

Small children will also go wild for Dini Dinosaur, a childlike dinosaur who can’t seem to take off all of his clothes before he gets in the bathtub. The fun, repetitive language makes this a perfect read-aloud for groups of preschoolers, and early readers (like my son) will recognize many sight words. Dini proves that while dinosaurs may be extinct, they remain in the hearts and minds of children.

Early Readers about Dinosaurs

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