Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Busy Books- A Review

Per a recent reader's request, I've decided to review some of my homeschooling stash. I thought I'd start with some of my first and favorite books. Come to think of it, I probably should have grouped my baby and toddler books together (as they were my first purchase), but I will go with a trio of books I have by Trish Kuffner- one of which was the first I purchased...back in the day.

This is the one! The Toddler's Busy Book- A book I bought when E9 was a toddler of 18 months. I googled "activities to do with toddlers" and came up someone's list of fun things to do. Being resourceful, I checked this woman's bibliography and this is one of the books that was listed there.

My copy is worn and loaded with small post it notes! I adored this book when I needed it most. Some categories in this book include: rainy day play, kids in the kitchen, water play, outdoor adventures, out and about, early learning, music and movement, arts and crafts, birthdays and holidays, an appendix full of recipes for modeling dough and bubbles, and the first part of the book has general ideas of encouragement- organizing the activities, planning them and stocking your craft cupboard. Here we have the origins of my preschooler planning sheet and my craft closet.

One of my favorites from this book is the felt face from the out and about category. I cut out a round face out of felt and then bunches of face accessories from ears to hats and hair and everything in between. It goes in a little plastic container and travels with me to doctor's offices.


The Preschooler's Busy Book- This book is organized in much the same way only the activities inside are for kids ages 3 to 6 years old. Imagine a book full of a year's worth of fun activities and games for kids. One of my favorite activities from this book helps kids to learn to recognize their name. You write out the child's name on a strip of cardstock and then cut out the letters individually. Then you have the child arrange the letters in order. Brilliant!

She has ideas for setting up centers and playing grocery store, bakery, and library with your child- among other similar ideas. She has instructions for learning games like Number Match. You write numbers on index cards and then make matching cards that have magazine pictures of things with the corresponding number of them. The kids have to match up the number with the corresponding set of objects.

Or how about Dictionary Zoo? On a rainy day have your child write out a letter of the alphabet on a sheet of paper (or you could write it out for them) and then draw an animal that matches the letter. What a great on-going project for a preschooler.


The Children's Busy Book- This one is for 6 to 10 year olds and is, as you might guess, patterned in the same fashion as the other two. Rainy day play includes the alphabets of codes such as American Sign Language, Morse Code, Braille, and Semaphore among others. Pretty cool.

Even for this age she suggests having busy boxes and bags, rainy day boxes, baker's boxes (full of items to play with dough), tickle trunks (full of dress up items), etc. There are 365 of these fantastic ideas for this age group.

One of her ideas is the Crazy Can- aka The Boredom Bottle at my house- this is full of little slips of paper that have ideas on them. Ideas for things to do that require little of my time or supervision. When things get a little crazy or the kids are bored, I send them to the bottle.


Mrs. Kuffner has written a few other books for kids including another one I will review shortly. She is a homeschooling mom living in a rainy region of Canada. If you have kids in any of these age groups, I highly recommend these books. They are just full of simple ideas for kids to have lots of fun. She also has some words about the habit forming tendencies of the television. Great stuff!! Her words of encouragement and wisdom are worth seeking out. Enjoy!

1 comment:

Lynn said...

Ewww, they sound like great books. I wish I had had them!! I love the felt face idea. So simple, but would go such a LONG way.

Lynn