If you have a couple of hours to fill this summer but you can’t make it to a museum, here are a few new books that will keep you busy. They don’t tell stories; they inspire you to create.
For crafters: You don’t need a kit to turn ordinary objects into artwork, jewelry or toys. “Project Kid: 100 Ingenious Crafts for Family Fun” by Amanda Kingloff includes projects that use many objects you can find around the house: Turn a bottle into a yarn-covered vase. Make a family tree of photos using sticks and Play-Doh container lids. Transform a can of nuts into a bird feeder (see photo below).
For jokesters: Big Nate wants you in his latest book. Lincoln Peirce’s popular character is back in the puzzle and game book “Big Nate Laugh-O-Rama.” Grab a pencil and write funny captions for Peirce’s drawings. Or draw your own panels. There are also word finds, trivia quizzes and crosswords.
For explorers: National Geographic’s “Get Outside Guide” wants readers to have fun in the great outdoors. Authors Nancy Honovich and Julie Beer present five settings — by the water, in the woods, in your back yard, in town and at a park — and then urge kids to investigate them with hands-on projects. There’s a kite, a bark rubbing and a telescope, just to name a few.
For geometry lovers: Shapes are all around us, but often we don't notice. “Shapes in Math, Science and Nature” by Catherine Sheldrick Ross and Bill Slavin examines squares, circles and triangles, and shows readers how to make shape-based fun. Try an easy paper-plate flying disc or a tetrahedron (that’s like a pyramid) of chickpeas and toothpicks!
For builders: Making a model car is fun, but making one that will zoom across the room is 10 times better. Klutz’s “Air Power: Rocket Science Made Simple” includes parts to make four vehicles that are powered by the air inside balloons. The parts are easy to assemble, and there’s no danger of running out of fuel.