Books that have crafts and projects for all kinds of kids


(DEB LINDSEY/For The Washington Post)
April 16, 2013

Question: What can you do with pipe cleaners, duct tape, construction paper and a box?

Answer: Just about anything!

That’s the fun message from three new books that have crafty themes. And, boys, if you think crafting is something just for girls, read on. We promise these books have projects for kids of all types and ages.

And the best part? You can create items with things you probably already have around the house, which makes these books the perfect rainy-day boredom busters.

Sneaky Art: Crafty Surprises to Hide in Plain Sight

by Marthe Jocelyn. $12.99.

Age 8 and older.

Our favorite part about this book is the “sneak” factor. These projects encourage you to create art that will surprise and delight people because it’s unexpected. And many of the projects are so easy to make, you could do several in one afternoon. For example, you can cut bird shapes from heavy colored paper, glue them onto clothespins and clip them onto branches, bushes and even shopping carts to create an unexpected flock of birds. Or, after having your parents save corks from wine bottles, create boats for the bathtub, sink or fountain. You also can create little characters using corks, dressing them with buttons, mini-muffin cups and scraps of fabric. As many ideas as this book has, we bet it will spark your imagination to come up with even more.

The New World Champion Paper Airplane Book

by John M. Collins. $16.99.

Age 8 and older.

Okay, we know, EVERYBODY knows how to make a paper airplane. But this book was written by the guy who designed a paper airplane that flew 226 feet, 10 inches. That, my friends, is the world record for paper airplane flight. So if you want to take your airplane folding up a level, this is the book for you. Collins has really good explanations for why planes (paper or otherwise) fly and describes 18 versions you can make. The step-by-step directions, complete with pictures, make even complicated planes (and some have as many as 29 steps) easy to complete. Perhaps the best part of the book are the 16 sheets of patterned paper in the back that you can tear out and use to create really cool planes.

Welcome to Your Awesome Robot

by Viviane Schwarz. $13.95.

Age 7 and older.

Any kid worth his or her salt has made a robot using a big box. So you might be asking what makes this robot so special. Part of it is that the book is so funny. The directions are done as comic strips. It describes the box as “the base model” for your robot and includes warnings that will make you laugh out loud. “Do not test your robot near stairs and steep drops. Stair climbing mode is NOT enabled upon delivery.” But our favorite part is that after the book walks you through making a basic box robot, it encourages you to personalize your robot in wild and imaginative ways: “The brain is the central component to your robot. Use it to design any further upgrades you desire.”

— Tracy Grant

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