Book reviews - activity books (page 7)

There are all sorts of activity books available now, some of them featuring characters from well-known children's stories. They can be a very good way to get your child involved with books. This section includes lots of great ideas for entertaining your children at home - many of which will support the work done in school - so do try some of them to encourage and develop your child's creativity. There are also books which involve children as they try to solve the puzzles. We also have 2018 annuals.

Mythical Beasts Masks: Ten 3D mythical beast masks to press out and make by Gavin Rutherford and Tanya Batrak

This book contains 10 ready coloured masks to press out and assemble. Each includes step-by-step instructions to assemble the mask and these are easy to follow by using the numbers on each piece. Scissors aren't needed, so children can safely assemble these on their own; glue is needed. Once assembled, the masks are perfect for imaginative play and will encourage children to act out role-play scenarios. The masks include dragon, phoenix, basilisk, griffin, werewolf, unicorn, vampire, sphinx, mermaid and hydra - a great variety for girls and boys.

Once Upon a Magic Book by Lily Murray

A magic toyshop has suddenly appeared in the town, and in it Sophie and Jack find a dusty book with a glowing key. It's the way in to magical adventures. join them on their magical journey through them on their journey which includes a fairytale forest, a pirate island, a flying carpet and many other exciting places. But beware the wicked witch who is there in every scene, determined to thwart the friends' efforts to escape. The reader must solve the puzzles to let the friends escape through the magic red door. There's lots going on in the lively pictures and the challenges offer plenty of variety.

100 Screen-Free Ways To Beat Boredom by Kris Hirschmann

This is a great book to have around for wet weekends and school holidays, with plenty of ideas to suit all young members of the family. The activities are all relatively brief, simple to set up, don't need masses of special materials, and are easy to follow with step-by-step project instructions. The varied range of activities includes cooking, games, painting, crafts, gardening and much more, with ideas for both indoors and outside, as well as when travelling. Whenever you hear the cry of 'I'm bored!', bring out this book and suggest some of the ideas. A super way to entice children away from their screens!

She Believed She Could, So She Did: A Journal of Powerful Quotes from Powerful Women illustrated by Flora Waycott

This unusua book is a journal full of quotes from successful women; alongside each attractively illustrated quote is a lined page for girls to write in their own throughts, aspirations and successes. Each of the women featured battled adversity and won, thereby providing inspiration to future generations. Each page encourages reflection and provides motivation as girls live their lives in what can be challenging times. An inspiring and uplifting idea that provides plenty of opportunity for reflection. Published by Sterling, August 2018, ISBN 978-1454928379.

Let's Make Comics!: An Activity Book to Create, Write, and Draw Your Own Cartoons by Jess Smart Smiley

This is a brilliant way to encourage writing skills, creativity and imagination. The author is both practising cartoonist and comic book making instructor, so perfectly placed to share her expertise. The book will appeal to all ages and would be great shared as a family - make your own comic book, perhaps? 65 activities are presented by Bramble the Bear and Peanut the Turtle; each activity teaches a new skill, so the skills are learnt in small incremental steps which can be achieved easily and confidently. Humorous and informative one-page comics and exercise prompts offer easy-to-master lessons covering a range of essential skills including creating expressions, writing captions, creating original characters and producing stories. By the end of this engrossing book, readers who complete the activities inside the book itself will have created several comics of their own... and will be full of inspiration for future projects. Children will be inspired by the ideas in the book, which are simple to do and will promise good results.A really fascinating book for all ages. Published by Watson-Guptill Publications, August 2018, ISBN-13 978-0399580727.


Minecraft Stem Challenge - Build a Theme Park from Carlton Books

There's lots of emphasis in schools on STEM subjects - science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Here's a brilliant way to build children's enthusiasm for these key subjects by utilising their interest in Minecraft. There's all they need to build their very own Minecraft theme park, including a bouncy castle, water ride, haunted house, ferris wheel, roller coaster and animal park. Once they have completed these, children are encouraged to think about the logistics of their park, including access and lighting. As they create each project, there's plenty of information about the science and technology needed to make everything work, providing a really valuable learning element to the book. Each project is well explained, with plenty of illustrations to help, guide and inspire. Friction, materials, pressure and structures are among the topics covered, helping children to learn how the principles apply to real-life situations.their very own theme park, they will have a real sense of achievement. A superb book. Buy from Carlton Books.

DIY Circus Lab for Kids: A Family- Friendly Guide for Juggling, Balancing, Clowning, and Show-Making (Lab Series) by Jackie Leigh Davis

This wonderful book makes circus skills accessible and enjoyable for every child, enabling them to try out a whole range of skills which will, in turn, enhance their physical, motor and coordination skills. Meet the international youth circus community, and then learn about the circus skill families - juggling, acrobatics, manipulation, balance and clowning. The creative element is well covered, with an introductory section on do-it-yourself prop-making class. The varied skills covered include toss juggling, flower sticks, poi, human pyramids, and how to move on to even more tricks and skills, including developing a complete show. It's a super book for a group of friends to enjoy together and put on a show for friends and family; or for families to share. Safety Check boxes are shown whenever skill-learning requires adult supervision. Each skill is illustrated with colour photos and there are step-by-step instructions which are easy to follow. A very well presented book which will encourage and motivate children. Great for teachers looking for something different to put on a show too.


Origami Ocean Friends: 35 water-based favorites to fold in an instant by Mari Ono

The four sections of the book will inspire children to take a greater interest in marine life, as well as enjoying the craft activity. It starts with Along the Coastline, then In the Rock Pool, followed by Around the Reef, and finally In the Deep. Each project is graded by difficulty, with three levels, so children can build up their skills progressively; there are 35 different creatures to create. The step-by-step instructions and clear photographs, as well as helpful arrows showing you where to fold, make the projects easy to follow. There is brief information about each creature as well as ocean insights which are interesting snippets of information. The book includes 50 pieces of beautifully illustrated origami paper which stores neatly in a plastic wallet at the back of the book. This beautifully presented book is a lovely way to encourage creativity.


Look I'm An Engineer by DK Children

Make the most of young children's inquisitiveness and love of discovery with this pre-schoolers' book which introduces the concept of STEM subjects. The projects are perfectly designed for ages 3 to 6, using readily available resources, and parents will really enjoy sharing them with their children. Projects include painting gravity, making your own cooker, moving pictures and building bridges. Each is illustrated with diagrams and photos, along with step-by-step instructions that are simple to follow and which will build children's confidence in their own abilities, as well as giving simple explanations of scientific concepts. The projects fit in with Early Years and KS1 subjects taught at school, including science, maths, and technology, supporting and enhancing learning. It's brilliant to see a book like this aimed at a young age range and what a super way to encourage discovery.

Sign Here by Gabrielle Djanogly

This unusual book contains Twenty-Two Unofficially Official Pull-Out Forms to Apply for Dreams, Pets, More Pocket Money, Report Feelings, File Secrets and So Much More. Forms - perhaps the bane of the life of adults - are given a fascinating new take in this impressive collection designed to fit many of the occasions children will encounter. Wondering how to apologise, how to report a fear, how to express sadness or even how to say thank you? There's a form for every occasion. Highly adaptable to meet the needs and desires of any boy or girl, these forms can be endlessly photocopied - and of course filed away by parents and grandparents for future reminiscences and chuckles. Each is illustrated in its own distinctive style. It's an unusual and inspiring book and hopefully will encourage children to design their very own forms to fit in with their own lifestyles.

Make and Play Safari by Joey Chow

Once again, Nosy Crow have come up with a fresh new idea to stimulate children. The jungle is a colourful and exciting place and now children can assemble their very own safari animals. There are 20 unique and colourful creatures, including lions, elephants and monkeys, plus a safari truck and trees to set the scene and provided additional imaginative play value. The double-sided press-out pieces just slot together, no need for scissors - or adult help - unless you want to, of course! And there's more - children can sing a safari song and enjoy the craft ideas which include a safari map, cupcakes and a snake sandwich (!). So much packed into one book, and the spiral bimding makes it all easy to use. I am always excited to see what Nosy Crow have for us - you can guarantee child-friendly books every time, and this is another winner.

Look and Find Bugs from Usborne Books Questions galore will have children poring over the pages of this richly illustrated book - 'Who has left a slimy trail?' 'Can you find a camping caterpillar?' 'Spot a bug wearing boots.' Such wonderful things to spot in this book full of all manner of insects and other creepy crawlies to spot, count and match. There are bees and butterflies, caterpillars and centipedes and many more, all in weird and wonderful colours and quirky pictures. These detailed illustrations make these seemingly simple puzzles more complex than you might expect - luckily, answers are provided. Lots of fun while developing observational skills.

EtchArt: Forgotten Jungle by AJ Wood and Mike Jolley, illustrated by Dinara Mirtalipova

I just couldn't resist trying these books - as soon as I saw the vibrantly coloured illustrations, I just had to get the enclosed stylus out and start creating my own pictures to see what happens. Use the wooden stylus to reveal the wonders of the jungle in nine stunningly illustrated scenes. As you scrape away the special scratchable coating, you uncover jungle animals and other marvels of jungle life. To accompany each picture, there is a short verse and some text about the scene. A superbly relaxing way to enjoy being creative, with great results

EtchArt: Enchanted Garden by AJ Wood and Mike Jolley, illustrated by Dinara Mirtalipova

The embossed cover with its shiny silver embellistments shows just what you can expect inside this gorgeous book. There are fantastic flowers, a bird fountain, a strawberry patch and six more beautiful pictures to make your own.The pages are on strong card, so there's no worry about scrunching up the pages as you etch; the stylus has two different ends to allow for differing styles of etching. As you become more confident, follow the additional suggestions on each page to personalise your picture and make it better than ever, etching in your own patterns and shapes and giving creatures different markings, for example. It's a great way to relax and put cares aside, as you need to concentrate to etch these pictures carefully for good results. Beautiful.

This Book Thinks You're an Artist by Harriet Russell

I love the title - immediately, you know it's going to give confidence. It's an engaging combination of art history together with practical activities that anyone can try. It challenges the reader to alter their perception of art in an engaging and immersive manner, through a lively approach which is totally different from any I have seen before. Focussing on six areas of art - painting, sculpture, illustration, decorative art, photography and contemporary art - there is plenty to try out based on clear illustrated instructions which feature real art works to inspire the user. It's a light-hearted approach, perfect for those who have less confidence in their own abilities and encouraging a new perspective - it would make a super book for school art clubs and classes. The end of the book includes a fascinating range of paper-based activities. A superb book - so unusual and inspiring.

Painting ROCKS! by Laura Baker

A new craze is sweeping the nation! Starting with the first step of preparing rocks to paint, and moving on to to hiding and tracking your creations, get the full benefit of this fun family activity with this practical book. Short of ideas? No need to be, as there are lots of suggestions including food, flowers, beach scenes (of course), cars, monsters and much more. Of course, half the fun lies in the hiding and discovering rocks and there's plenty of advice, including finding and tracking rocks and even a rock painting party. It's a great way to get children outdoors and to encourage their creativity and I'm all for it.

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: A Puzzle Adventure (Aleksandra Artymowska Puzzles)

Inspired by Jules Verne's classic novel and making the very most of the wonderful story, there's plenty here for all the family to enjoy as they learn more about the world of the time. The challenge is set by Captain Nemo - search the seven seas to find the seven keys to open the secret sea chest. The challenges really make you think - it's not a straightfowrard seek and find book by any means - and it's all the better for that. Each detailed scene contains hidden symbols and keys to uncover, in an engaging and varied series of challenges. A beautifully produced hardback book, generously sized and perfect to share and spot together. Fascinating. A great way to encourage children to read the original story, too.

Secret Seven Brain Games: 100 fun puzzles

The Secret Seven are great at solving puzzles... and now young readers can develop their own puzzle solving skills with codes, wordsearches, crosswords, sudokus and more. All the puzzles are themed around the Secret Seven and short introductions to each set the scene as the seven undertake the activities. The format is engaging and varied and Tony Ross's illustrations are lively and appropriate. Children will thoroughly enjoy the challenges and they are a great way to develop key skills such as logical thinking, concentration and puzzle solving.

Beano Builds: Go-Kart

This is an interesting concept - and just what Dennis the Menace would have loved to build! More than just a go-kart - there's also instructions complementary creations - a racing helmet, a racing flag and a racecourse. You will need big cardboard boxes, and plenty of imagination to decorate them - but the jumbo stickers provided will kick-start that. The step by step instructions are straightforward, but adult involvement will be welcome. A super way to encourage imagination and creativity, and also to encourage children to make their own fun rather than relying on screens all the time. Dennis is an enduringly popular character and children will respond well to the theme. The book also includes some excellent themed puzzles and challenges for children to enjoy.

Beano Builds: Secret Den

This time, children can create their very own secret den, just by using a big cardboard box, the jumbo stickers provided - and plenty of imagination! As well, they are shown how to make a gadgets chest, a bat mobile and a grown-up proximity alarm - dennis would love all these! Related puzzles are a super way to develop thinking skills and they keep to the theme of the book, such as a code to make up a password. We all know that recycling is something we should be encouraging from a young age, and the message and its importance gets stronger all the time, so this is a great way to encourage practical recycling from which children directly benefit. Well thought out and with plenty to engage children - and to encourage imagination and practicality.

The Beano Book of Mischief, Mayhem and Fun!

Mischief is synonymous with Dennis the Menace and this book is packed full of it, and it will delight children. Dennis could find mischief and cause mayhem anywhere - and children can get the same fun through this book, indoors or out, with over 100 activities to enjoy. There are activities galore - become a juggler, a tastebud triathlon and a super sticky spiderweb for indoors. For outdoors, how about a gushing geyser, a barmy bird bath or a mucky mud face? There's also creative fun plus sports and games, all in colour-coded sections for ease of use. Dennis would love them! The book starts with a list of the essential mischief-making kit to be gathered from around the house. Great fun and full of inspiration that will keep children, boys and girls, happily engaged for many hours, alone or with friends.

Exactly One Numbers Sticker Activity Book (Charlie and Lola)

This book, as you would expect from anything starring the irresistible Lola and Charlie, takes a different and unusual look at numbers. The activities include counting, number recognition and simple sums, all accompanied by a range of activities using the colourful and creative stickers provided - it's a super way to make early learning enjoyable and something to look forward to. There are lots of short stories about Lola too, which show how long she takes for various activities - how long does your child take?

Flamingos, Llamas and Other Cool Things (Press Out & Decorate) illustrated by Kate Mclelland

These gorgeous turquoise foil push-outs will make lovely decorations for a child's room, with the added satisfaction of being their own work. There are 20 different designs and the press-out pieces just slot together. Even quite young children can create these on their own, once they have been shown how. The pieces can be decorated with felt tip pens before assembly, and they can be stored in the book after - well thought-out. The pieces can be used to create three-dimensional ornaments or threaded together to make a hanging garland, giving children a choice. From cool llamas to tropical flamingos, and cactuses and pineapples too, there are some lovely creations to make. They can also be used for make-believe games, to stimulate the imagination as well as creativity. Children will love this.

Pack Your Suitcase Riddle Puzzles (Hidden Pictures Riddle Puzzles) by Highlights

Ideal for summer holidays, these puzzles and riddles include the beach, travel, the zoo, museums and other favourite family destinations. Each page has a riddle to solve by finding hidden objects (the answers are included). The puzzles are great fun to do and have the benefit of encouraging children's thinking and reasoning skills. The pictures can be coloured in too. "Often imitated, never equalled, Highlights(TM) Hidden Pictures® puzzles have delighted children - and adults - for over 70 years." Perfect for taking when out and about, this will keep children entertained for hours. Published by Highlights for Children, ISBN 978-1629799254, April 2018.

My First Origami Book: 35 fun papercrafting projects for children aged 7 years+ by CICO Kidz

This is a good introduction to the art of origami. Origami is fun to do, needing just paper - preferably in a range of colours. The book shows how to create 35 varied projects including penguin pals, helicopter, party hat, paper flowers and pop-up cards, arranged by topic. All the projects are clearly explained with illustrated steps which show every fold, plus photos of the finished creations. Skill levels are given for each one (shown as smiley faces) so children can start with the easiest projects and move on to those needing greater skills. The attractive presentation of the book is an excellent way to encourage children to try their hands at origami.

My First Rock Painting Book: 35 fun craft projects for children aged 7+ by Emma Hardy

Stone painting has become a really popular craze - it's a great way to get children outdoors as well as encouraging creativity. So this book is perfectly timed to give children plenty of new ideas. First off, children need to go out with their parents or another adult to collect suitably shaped stones - often the shape of the stone will dictate the project. The projects in the book are suitable for decorations and make lovely personal gifts. There's Fabulous Food, Creative Creatures, Patterns and Shapes and Home and Garden. The projects are graded for difficulty, so children can develop their skills gradually. Step-by-step illustrations plus photos of the completed creations ensure that children can see exactly what to do - and once they have been inspired by the book, they are bound to come up with ideas of their own. A lovely book, full of inspiration and excellent results, easily achievable.

My First Painting and Collage Book: 35 fun and easy art projects for children aged 7 plus by Clare Youngs

Cico Kidz produce a fabulous range of craft books, guaranteed to inspire children and with projects that everyone can tackle. The range of techniques is excellent - Printing Fun,; Ink, Paint, and Pastels; Beach and Vacation Art; and Collages and Paper Pictures. This variety is great, as there will be something to appeal to everyone. Practical suggestions start off the book, including advice on collecting a range of useful materials. The pictorial instructions are easy to follow and each project includes a list of required materials. Photos of the finished creations will inspire children to have a go. This is a great book for school use too, for lessons and clubs.

How to Make Paper Dinosaurs: 25 awesome creatures to fold in an instant by Mari Ono and Hiroaki Takai

The book usefully includes 50 pieces of beautifully decorated origami paper - everything a child needs to get started in one useful package. Donosaurs big and small, from ocean-dwellers to high flyers, there are origami projects here to entertain any dinosaur lover. Try the flying Pteranodon or fold one of the largest land animals that ever existed, the Apatosaurus; from the Cretaceous period make the king of dinosaurs, the Tyrannosaurus Rex, and from the Jurassic age comes the spiny Stegosaurus. Every project has visual and text step-by-step instructions and clear photographs, as well as helpful arrows showing you where to fold. Children are fascinated by dinosaurs, so the finished models will inspire creative play and further discoveries about these magnificent creatures - the book usefully includes a few facts about each, which is good.

Spot the Difference: In the Park by Naomi Wilkinson

This board book is not just spot the difference but lift the flap as well. There are five flaps on each page which children are encouraged to lift as they spot the difference between the pictures on the facing pages. Underneath, they will find another different picture so there are lots of opportunities to spot and talk. Catchy rhyming text flows through the book, which is full of colourful little pictures of familiar activities in the park to enjoy. And at the end of the book, it starts to rain! A lively fun book to encourage observational skills.

Winnie-the-Pooh's 50 things to do before you're 5 3/4 from Egmont Publishing

This format has become very popular for books recently, and rightly so, because it's effective and child-friendly. And who better than Winnie-the-Pooh, with his well-known love for Pooh Sticks, to introduce these ideas? Helped, of course, by all his friends who are, of course, depicted in E H Shepard's much-loved drawings. Winnie-the-Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore and the rest of the friends introduce 50 outdoor activities they think everyone should enjoy before they are six. They include splashing in puddles, raising a ladybird and telling cloud stories. The activities are all simple and easy to do and the book makes the perfect accompaniment to a family day out as even older children will enjoy the ideas. Better still, the book acts as a lasting record, with spaces for drawings and photos. There's also a tick list at the front, to check off the activities completed. A colourful and attractive book for adults and children to share and enjoy together.

The Tiger Who Came to Tea Party Book

This book is designed to give the reader everything they removes much of the stress of party planning as everything is here. It celebrates 50 years since this classic story, which has never been out of print, was published. Easy to use, the book has three sections - Getting Ready; At the Party; and Time to Go. There are invitations, ideas for decorations, recipes for tea, games to play and much more. There are plenty of spaces for you to write in your own thoughts and reminders, plus lots of practical tips to help it all run smoothly. On a practical note, the spiral binding means the book lies flat, making it easy to use. A really novel idea, and so easy to use. I wonder if more will follow, based on other book favourites? I'd love to see that.

The ABC Song (Highlights™ Song and Puzzle Books) by Highlights Press

Based on the well-known ABC song, children will be helped to learn the alphabet and expand their vocabulary with a wide range of activities, including mazes, matching games, word searches, spot the differences, Hidden Pictures® puzzles, and other activities based around each letter of the alphabet. The pictures are full of fun and add an interesting extra element to enjoy, as well as working well to encourage observational skills. Plenty to enjoy while reinforcing learning. Published by Highlights Press, March 2017, ISBN 978-1629797618.

Dinosaur Adventure Activity Book illustrated by Jen Alliston

Great fun for all young dinosaur fans, who are going to love the huge range of activities in this colourful book. There are dot to dots, spot the differences, mazes, colouring in and plenty more. There are some lovely craft activities, including Make a Waffleosaurus and Make a Dinosaur Garden - these are lovely to do and would be good school projects. There are lovely big colourful stickers and also some sticker words to help develop word recognition and vocabulary. The book will help to develop a wide range of skills in a fun way, including observational, conversational, creative and motor skills. Excellent value and many hours of constructive fun. Published by Button Books, May 2018, ISBN 978-1787080058.

Pirate Adventure Activity Book illustrated by Jen Alliston

Button Books publish some really excellent creative activity books, full of inspiring ideas, and this series is another success for them. There are over 100 activities and games to be enjoyed, including dot to dots, mazes, jokes, puzzles, colouring and wordsearches. There are some lovely craft activities too. These are all fun to do, but also have real educational value, helping with vocabulary, observation, motor skills, literacy and number skills, imagination and creativity. The generous size of the book means the pages are clear and well presented, with plenty of space as well as being very colourful. Answers are included and there are four pages of well-sized stickers. A really well thought-out book with so much to offer. Published by Button Books, May 2018, ISBN 978-1787080072.

Next-Level DIY Slime by Karina Garcia

Karina Garcia is a YouTube star known for creating how-to videos about slime and makeup, as well as writing the bestselling Karina Garcia's DIY Slime. The recipes in this book, which is aimed at crafters of 10+, include Holographic, Super Gloss, Ultra Crunch, Colour Changing, Instant Clear, Slushie, Butter, Cloud, Candle, Highlighter, Cereal, Fishbowl and the Thickest of All slime - an amazing range of all manner of textures. The step-by-step instructions are clearly presented. and easy to follow, with colour photos throughout. The ingredients are easily sourced and there is buying advice which is very usefulOn a practical note, there are tips on removing slime from clothing, keeping slime fresh and becoming a professional slimer. Great fun!

The Travel Activity Book from DK

Absolutely perfect for holiday travel, this book is packed full of puzzles, doodles, stickers (over 300 of them!), a journal to keep and more, to keep children entertained on the go. There are also quizzes designed to increase children's knowledge about the world, which include safari animals and 'Where are they from?'. All these offer educational value, including developing thinking skills, number skills and recognition. Neatly slotted in down the sides of some pages are car journey games which will help keep children occupied during the journey. The stickers form a major part of the book, and are linked with each page; there are lots of extras too and these have educational value, such as those showing famous landmarks - they could be placed on a world map. A super book for holiday fun, with lots of different activities.

Purr-fect Cat Puzzles (Highlights™ Puzzle Activity Fun)

All young cat lovers will enjoy this colourful book with its cartoon-style cat illustrations. Children's attention will be held through the book as they try to spot the 28 mice hidden throughout the book. There are plenty of other spotting tasks too, as well as spot the difference, mazes, riddles, drawing and more. There are over 50 stickers to use to complete a variety of tasks. Lots of fun to be enjoyed as well as offering learning value. Published by Highlights Press, September 2017, ISBN 978-1629798271.

Fabulous Figures and Cool Calculations (Stem Quest) by Colin Stuart

STEM is a curriculum based on four disciplines — science, technology, engineering and mathematics; it is taught in an interdisciplinary and practical way. It's a high profile approach so this series is very timely. This book focuses on the maths strand of STEM. Mathematics is all around us, and an essential part of everyday life. The practical activities in this book include number bingo, make chocolate crispy cakes with the ingredient ratios, build a 3D pyramid, create your own unique tessellation masterpiece, and much more! The approach puts maths firmly into its place in day-to-day life, for example probability cab be used to show the chance of it raining tomorrow and data shows how well students are doing at school. Engaging presentation gives the book great appeal; it's very user-friendly and easy to follow.

Astonishing Atoms and Matter Mayhem (Stem Quest) by Colin Stuart

Each of the four books in the first publications in this series from Carlton Books focus on one of the STEM subjects, so together there is a complete overview; the focus of this book is science. Children will be encouraged to marvel at the wonders of science as they learn how to build a model atom with marshmallows, pick up an ice cube without touching it, build a volcano, extract DNA from a banana, and much more! There are over 30 experiments for children to try out and these have step-by-step instructions plus illustrations to make them easy to follow. The book also includes extraordinary facts, statistics and plenty of illustrations.

Coding Robotics and Gadgets Galore (Stem Quest) by Nick Arnold

This book focuses on technology and again, there are lots of hands-on activities which help children's understanding. Make your own stethoscope, build a speedy jet boat, concoct your own plastic, create a bio-tech yummy yoghurt - just a few of the fascinating activities included. I like the fact the books all include a comprehensive index; something often overlooked in books of this type but which really helps get the best from the book. The editorial consultant is Georgette Yakman, founding researcher and creator of the integrative STEAM framework. Friendly illustrations and plenty of interesting facts make these books engaging and informative; the layout encourages reading.

Fantastic Forces and Incredible Machines (Stem Quest) by Nick Arnold

Completing the series at this point, this book concentrates on engineering. Engineering is about the magic of forces and the wonder of machines. Discover how to make paperclips float in air, design a skyscraper, construct a super submarine, experiment with gears and springs, launch a plane and much more - all clearly explained and easy to carry out. The practical application of learning and knowledge is at the heart of STEM teaching, and this series of books picks that up to perfection, with the wide-ranging activities that can be done at home or in school.

Art Masterclass with Van Gogh from Wide Eyed Editions

These books are a brilliant way to get children involved with art and to gain a greater understanding of how artists work. This book opens with suggestions of materials required, folloed by a short introduction to Van Gogh plus an interesting timeline. Then it's time for the hands-on experience, with a varied range of drawing, colouring and collaging activities that show children how Van Gogh worked. Children will discover what inspired him to create the art that we still enjoy and marvel over. There are instructions on one side of each two page spread and opposite there is a whole page for children to try out the suggestions. There are plenty of illustrations of Van Gogh's work. After working through the activities, there are stickers to use and finally a pull-out poster at the back on which children can create their own masterpiece. An excellent book which really gives an insight into the artist and his work.

Art Masterclass with Wassily Kandinsky from Wide Eyed Editions

These books from Wide Eyed Editions are so attractively presented; clear and easy to follow with masses of practical advice on creating works of art. Kandinsky is a fascinating artist and children will learn about him and discover a range of techniques including learning how to draw from the imagination to listening to music for inspiration. There are 12 art lessons to help children create their own Kandinsky-inspired masterpieces and 20 drawing, sticking and colouring activities - plenty to keep the budding artist happy for hours! Using the experience they have gained through the book, children then have the opportunity to create their own work of arrt on the big pull-out poster at the back. This also includes, on the other side, a wide range of pictures of Kandinsky's work to inspire children further - this is great to display. These books are well thought out and a real inspiration for budding artists - I do hope there will be more in the series.

Brain Lab for Kids: 52 Mind-Blowing Experiments, Models, and Activities to Explore Neuroscience (Lab Series) by Eric H Chudler

The brain is an amazing thing which plays a part in every single thing we do - but we can take it for granted. Find out more about our wonderful brains with this fascinating book. And yet, we take for granted many of the amazing things our brain does for us. There are 52 activities which will be enjoyed by all the family - they are great to do together, as all ages will enjoy them. This fascinating book also includes science experiments, and models to help us understand how the brain accomplishes all that it does. It is divided into 10 sections and these include the neuron, reflexes, vision and memory. Each experiment gives the time needed, materials and method, as well as further information and photos showing the experiment. The range is fascinating - make scratch and sniff cards, create a braille alphabet, find out how long it takes to fall asleep, or build a brain model. Neuroscience is an expanding field hich offers the opportunity for all of us to learn about ourselves and others, and how we can better communicate, motivate, inspire and collaborate together.This is an excellently presented book which makes a complex subject approachable and engaging, and really makes the reader aware of the marvels of the brain.

Brick Building 101: 20 LEGO® activities to teach kids about STEAM by Courtney Sanchez

STEAM subjects are science, technology, engineering, arts and maths; this book is a great ay to develop interest in these as children indulge their love for LEGO - and make good use of that multitude of bricks! The book includes 20 step-by-step projects which cover a range of abilities from beginner projects, such as block letters and a tic-tac-toe game, to more challenging projects, such as a bird feeder and balloon racer. Each project is illistrated with full-colour photos which show each step along the way and the instructions are clearly numbered. There are also extension ideas to stimulate and extend the value of the book. The emphasis on STEAM learning is increasing in schools and this book is an ideal way to inspire play and generate interest in STEAM subjects, as well as increasing creativity and manual dexterity. An excellent book.

The Great Art Activity Book (National Gallery) by Paul Thurlby

Paul Thurlby's books are a brilliant way to get children interested in art. He makes paintings accessible and understandable, as well as offerening lots of hints and techniques so children can improve their own artistic abilities. This wonderful activity book is created in consultation with the National Gallery and introduces children to one of the richest collections of paintings in the world, including famous works by the greatest painters - Rembrandt, Rubens, Velázquez, Degas and many others - as well as masterpieces by less familiar artists. Throughout the book, children are offered the opportunity to try out a range of activities based on the paintings, as well as learning more about the ay the great masterpieces are created. It's an inspiring book, full of encouragement to 'have a go' and a great way to develop children's love for art.

My Brilliant Big Activity Book from Carlton Kids

All children's favourite activities can be found in this bumper book, which will keep them amused for many happy hours. Packed with brilliant activities for kids, this book guarantees hours of fun! Mazes, join the dots, colouring, spot the difference, craft activities, recipes and much more are here to enjoy. The topics, which include pets, dragons, pirates, space, fashion and celebrities, will appeal to boys and girls. There are lots of holiday themed activities too, making this a great book for the summer holidays. All these activities are enjoyable to do, and also really beneficial as they develop children's puzzle solving, concentration and thinking skills. A lovely bumper collection.

I Spy Bible Sticker and Activity Book by Julia Stone

Children love stickers books and they are a great way to encourage them to look closely at pictures and appreciate the content. This colourful book recreates eleven Bible scenes with child-friendly cartoon pictures with plenty for children to spot and discuss. There are activities, games, crafts to complete, lots of stickers. The spreads include David, Baby Jesus and the story of the lost sheep. Simple text explains each story and there are associated activities on every page. A lovely way to introduce young ones to the Bible.

The Big Book of 100 Outdoor Activities (Little Button Diaries) by Laura Minter and Tia Williams

The authors, who run the superb blog Little Button Diaries, really know what appeals to children and how to put their ideas across in a simple, fun and easy-to-follow way; this has gained them a huge online following. Their books support this success and this nature-inspired craft book is perfect to encourage children to get out and about. The activities are in 8 sections, including Outdoor Cooking, Messy Makes and Wildlife Spotting, so there's plenty for everyone and many of the ideas can be carried out indoors on rainy days if you build up a collection of bits and pieces when out and about in the good weather. Step-by-step instructions are accompanied by engaging photos which will really motivate and inspire. The ideas will all help to increase children's appreciation for the natural world, and encourage observation and awareness of the need to care for our environment. A super book, full of simple inspiration, which will encourage children's creativity. Published by GMC Publications, May 2018, ISBN 978178944049.

My Favourite Me by Anna Brett

Children are often initially enthusiastic about keeping a journal or diary, but that enthusiasm can wane as they find they don't really know what to write. This inspiring journal, which is just for girls, will overcome that problem, as it's full of ideas for young diarists to follow through. From the perfect start to the day to routine tracker and on to sleep tyle, girls can record daily lives. Far more though - ambitions for the future will help girls aspire and dream. With inspirational quotes and practical tips and tricks along the way this book will bring out your favourite "you", encouraging and motivating There is so much to record and all beautifully presented to keep girls enthused. It's a great way to encourage creative writing and will give a lasting record of a specific time in a girl's life. I'd love to see a similar book for boys.

Paperplay - To the Moon and Back by Susie Brooks

With 25+ models including press out and build, art projects to frame and display, masks to accessorise, games to play, and gorgeous stationery to create, there is plenty here for all creative young space fans. The projects differ in complexity (each has a difficulty rating clearly shown), but they are all achievable for children working on their own, with simple instructions and only occasional need for adult help with scissors. The pieces pop out cleanly and slot together well. The notebook binding makes it easy to tear out the paper for each activity. Reusable stickers are included for extra creativity and there will be lots of attractive results to display; creating a space display will be a big part of the fun and hopefully, children will be inspired to look for more information on their creations.

Pet Puzzles (Highlights™ Sticker Hidden Pictures®)

This long-running brand has delighted children and adults for 70 years, and is still very popular. Many similar collections are black and white, but it is the full colour illustrations which make these a joy to explore. There are classic black-and-white puzzles too, and extra fun is offered by the opportunity for colouring-in. There's even a special bonus eight pages of colourful high-quality stickers to mark the hidden objects, and this really adds to the enjoyment. The pictures offer lots of opportunities for discussion and for extending vocabulary and awareness of the world around us, too. The answers are included if you get stuck!

Fuzzy Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Creatures: Touch and Feel Colouring by In Papio Press and the NHM

With its thick lines, this is an excellent colouring book for younger children, who will find it easy to keep within the lines - that will help to build confidence in their ability too. As they enjoy the colouring activities, children will be increasing their knowledge of these magnificent creatures, including the plant-eaters, the meat-eaters, the sea-dwellers and the high-fliers. Featuring some of the world’s best-loved and most spectacular dinosaurs to colour, from the tiniest Compsognathus to the gigantic Argentinosaurus, there are seven prehistoric flocked charts to complete, with fact boxes on the opposite page. The prehistoric timeline and accompanying facts help to put these beasts into context. The fuzzy pages add to the fun and the end results, especially with vibrant felt tips, are very impressive.

Fuzzy Animals by Papio Press and the NHM

With seven different habitats, including savannah, polar regions and ocean, there's lots of variety in this informative colouring book. Each spread is accompanied by fact boxes to increase children's learning plus a Learn More section and a world map to locate the habitats, there's lots to discover. The fuzzy pages will help with colouring and make for a spectacular end result, and the thick lines are perfect for younger children. The good results achievable will boost children's confidence in their ability. Young artists can follow the suggested colours or let their imagination run riot - it's up to them! Unusual books with plenty of appeal.

The Slime Workshop by Selina Zhang

Slime is hugely popular at the moment, and children love it! This colourful book includes 20 DIY projects to make slime. There is a very useful introduction to the variety of ingredients used in making slime, and why and how they work, which really enhances understanding of the medium. How about Glow-in-the-Dark Slime, Fluffy Slime, Metallic Slime, Foam Slime, Fishbowl Slime, Unicorn Slime and more. All these can be made with readily obtained ingredients, which are clearly listed, along with the essential equipment. On a practical level, the book includes advice for preserving your creations, lots of useful tips and troubleshooting common problems. A fun book which will offer many hours of creative - and inexpensive - fun. Published by Lark, November 2017, ISBN 978-1454710660.

Ada Twist's Big Project Book for Stellar Scientists (Ada Twist Scientist) by Andrea Beaty

Ada Twist is an excellent role model - she loves to investigate and work out solutions to problems. Her endless curiosity will encourage children to investigate for themselves This STEM project book has Ada herself taking readers through various aspects of science, including chemistry, botany, astronomy, and environmental science. The book is presented in an enticing way, as a real record of the experiments carried out, and a good example of how to keep records. Throughout the book, children are encouraged to add their own thoughts and ideas - this is very definitely a hands-on book. Young scientists can solve everyday mysteries, such as why the moon changes shape and why fruit rots, with simple experiments which are clearly explained. The scientific processes and ways to carry out experiments are easy to follow, and children are really encouraged to question what happens in the world around them. A totally engrossing book which has much for every child.

Brain Gaming for Clever Kids: More Than 100 Puzzles to Exercise Your Mind by Dr Gareth Moore

Brain games are an excellent way to encourage and support children's thinking skills, which in turn enhance all manner of other essential skills. They are especially good for use during long breaks from school, as children will have fun while keeping their brains active and alert. Logic, reasoning and problem-solving puzzles and include battleships, Kakuro, visual puzzles, codes, alphabet games, logic problems and much more. The variety is excellent and children are bound to find plenty to appeal - but do encourage them to try the less familiar ideas too. Parents will will glad to know answers are included! The games are timed, for an extra challengemake up this book designed to help kids make the most of their grey matter. A good mix of puzzles and a great way to kkeep those brains active.

The Walkabout Orchestra: Postcards from Around the World by Chloe Perarnau

Wide-Eyed Editions can be relied on to produce unusual and visually stunning books - and this is no exception. Oh dear! The orchestra is due to play at a concert but where are the musicians? They have all gone off travelling around the world, and the only clues to their whereabouts are on their postcards. Look at the pictures of the musicians on the first page, and then see how many you can spot in the various locations, including Italy, Greece, USA, Russia, Iceland and many more. Detailed pictures are full of images of the places, and these are really absorbing. Be warned - the musicians are sometimes hard to find, but that's all part of the fun and really encourages a close look at all the intriguing details. Even more of a challenge are the objects the little yellow bird is seekingYou will be glad to know answers are provided! This is a fascinating book that will occupy seekers for many hours as they absorb the atmosphere in the fascinating illustrations, and learn about the instruments that make up the orchestra.

Maths Games for Clever Kids by Dr Gareth Moore

Again, this is a book that offers the perfect opportunity to keep children's brains working during school holidays, helping them have a head start when the new term starts. Of course, it will help greatly with all maths skills as children become confident in handling numbers and realise they can be fun. The book includes a good range of puzzle types, such as times table tests, sudoku, kakuro, word problems, calendar questions, mental arithmetic and more; and the answers are provided. Libvely cartoon illustrations make the book fun, and there are questions at lots of different levels, so encourage children to dip into the book and return at a later stage if necessary. This is an exvellent way to make maths fun and to develop children's skills.

Colassal City Count illustrated by Andy Rowland

This giant book will intrigue children as they add up all the animals, objects and people to find the total given on the page. Look out - there are lots of dastardly villains about too, along with their pet dogs and you need to spot these and help out Inspector Metropolis and Constable Magnate. Explore 18 destinations around the world as you look for the villains; places include Amsterdam, Sydney, Cape Town, Tokyo and Timbukto. Each vibrant illustration gives a good picture of the culture of the city, and of its inhabitants. As children spot the objects, they will be increasing their counting and mental arithmetic skills - without even realising it! Some of the pictures are quite a challenge, which is great - luckily, answers are provided! An interesting and unusual concept that will provide plenty of spotting challenges and also increase children's knowledge of cities around the world.

Historopedia Activity Book: With Colouring Pages, a Huge Pull-Out Timeline Poster and Lots of Things to See and Do by Fatti and John Burke

This is an excellent way to learn about the history of Ireland, and a good way to discover and remember by carrying out the activities. There are lots of puzzles to enjoy, including join the dots, word searches and spot the difference. The colouringpages are perfect for younger children and include iconic Irish scenes such as O'Connell Street. The GPO picture may need some explanation and reassurance though. There are activities to encourage creativity, such as designing a stained glass window. Activities such as Who's Who and Family Tree will increase knowledge and put events into historical context, as does the colourful pull-out timeline. Lots of different activities make this an excellent support to discovering about the history of Ireland.

Let The Dice Decide: Roll the Dice to Create Picture and Word Mash-Ups from Buster Books

Here's another unusual and enjoyable book from Buster Books. the reader rolls the dice and then select the appropriate inmage to copy to create their own creatures, mash up incredible monsters, randomize names, assemble their own superheroes, plot their own adventure stories, draw-a-saurus and much, much more. There is a huge variety, as you can see. The quirky illustrations by Sophie Foster are fun and lively and will help children draw their own pictures as they are simple to copy. This is a book with loads of possibilities and every time, the outcome will be different - you may want to have additional paper to hand to carry on the fun.. No searching around for a dice either - there is a template in the book to cut out and make your own colourful dice.

i-SPY Garden Birds: What can you spot? (Collins Michelin i-SPY Guides)

Collins have recently published more books to add to the extensive i-spy range, meaning there are lots of titles to appeal to every child. We all have the opportunity to spot garden birds, whether in our own garden, at school or in local parks and open spaces, as may of these birds frequent a range of habitats. Each book has up to 200 things to spot - Garden Birds includes our best-known birds plus some more complementary items such as birds carrying nesting materials, trees, insects and a nest box. This is great for added interest and for increasing knowledge of bird life and habits.

i-SPY Butterflies and Moths: What can you spot? (Collins Michelin i-SPY Guides)

Children will learn to spot and identify for 140 butterflies and moths with this colourful guide. Each is shown with a good quality photo set against an appropriate habitat background to aid easy identification. The butterflies and moths included range from the common like the Large White and Common Blue to the rare, including Purple Emperor and Hummingbird Hawk-Moth. The range of ooints to score ranges from common sights like Meadow Brown (10 points) to top spots such as Slender Scotch Burnet (40 points).This is a fun, interactive way to encourage curious children to learn about the world around them, and to learn to appreciate andd care for nature; the book is endorsed by Butterfly Conservation. A super way to encourage observation and perfect to take along whenever out and about.

i-SPY at the Shops: What can you spot? (Collins Michelin i-SPY Guides)

Shopping won't be boring any more for your child if you take along this i-spy book. While you shop, they can be looking out for various fruit and vegetables (and on the way, learning to recognise them and hopefully stimulate interest in trying them out!), shops fixtures, packets and jars and much more. Each is illustrated with a vibrant photo and the points gained reflects the ease of spotting. As well as the photo, each entry in the range of books includes useful information so children learn as they go. i-spy books are perfect for so many occasions.

i-SPY In the City: What can you spot? (Collins Michelin i-SPY Guides)

Off for an outing to the big city? Take this book along with you and children will gain so much more as they look around them to see what they can see. i-spy books are so well thought out - they offer excellent value; encourage observation skills, increase knowledge, include excellent photos and give children a challenge they enjoy. I am impressed that Collins have taken the trouble to include an index in each book - a really useful feature and another skill for children fostered by the books. Each section in the books is colour coded for ease of use. Children can send off for a certificate once their total reaches a certain point - it's not necessary to spot every single item to be eligible. See the whole range on the Collins website 

Monet's Gardens by Catherine de Duve

Monet's paintings of his beautiful gardens at Giverny ar,of course, well known, but this book encourages children to take a closer look at the paintings and then try the techniques and ideas for themselves. The book gives a fascinating insight into Monet's garden and encourages children to think about how he designed and used it. There are plenty of pictures to colour in, and a variety of other activities too - help Monet choose the flowes for his garden, plan a menu and colour in his dining table are just some. There are lots of animals in the garden to spot too - cats, snails, hedgehogs, dragonflies, birds and more. A really good way to encourage children to engage with art. Published by Happy Museum, July 2017, 978-2875751034.

The Fantastic Monsters of Bosch, Bruegel and Arcimboldo

Three very different but equally fascinating artists are the subject of this book. Discover the fantasy world of the famous painter Hieronymous Bosch and his Garden of Earthly Delights, and colour in the mystical and weird creatures he painted. Look at the detailed paintings and wonderful array of pepple in Bruegel's pictures; answer the questions that encourage a closer look at the paintings. Arcimboldo certainly drew some strange portraits; children can use thier creative skills to bring to life the fruit and vegetables in the pictures. Explore the magical worlds of these painters of genius. An engaging look at three artists that offers plenty of interaction.Published by Happy Museum, July 2017, 978-2875751058.

The Little Hokusai by Catherine de Duve

Introduce children to the world of Japanese artist Hokusai and encourage them to learn about Japan in his day - there are many insights into Japanese culture and history. Young artists can colour in fans, tigers, flowers, Samurai warriors and archers, as well as adding their own ideas to the pictures. A lovely way to encourage an interest in artists and develop creative skills at the same time. Published by Happy Museum, July 2017, 978-2875751096.

Make and Play Farm by Joey Chou

This is a lovely way for children to play and use their imaginations. There's so much here to enjoy. The book includes 20 press-out pieces in strong card, which are people, animals and objects found on the farm; each has a stand to hold it. Once pressed out and standing up, children can enjoy lots of imaginative play, especially is they use other farm-related items from the toybox. As well, there are instructions for making an animal mask, horse handprints to create, a recipe to enjoy, a game to play and a song to sing. All perfect for a day's fun activity themed around the farm.

Roald Dahl's James and the Giant Peach Sticker Activity Book by Anna Bowles

The story of James and the Giant Peach, with all its fantastical insests, is perfect for a sticker activity book. There are llots of puzzles and activities to enjoy - missing words, drawing, crossword, maze, spotting, matching... Of course, Quentin Blake's wonderful illustrations are included, even for the stickers. The pretty stickers will give plenty more fun as children enjoy this activity-packed book.

Hidden Words Puzzles (Highlights™ Puzzlemania® Puzzle Pads)

The aim of the book is to "Find cleverly concealed words in fun scenes". We are all familiar with finding little pictures in bigger scenes but this puts a different twist on the idea, as the reader searches for the hidden words which have been cleverly concealed in all manner of different ways. The pictures are really fun, and each has its own theme - snow, playground, weather and much more. Once they've found the words, children will delight in trying out the related tongue twisters. The puzzles are on one side of the page, with bonus content on the other side for even more value. Published by Highlights Press, April 2018, 978-1629798332.

Jumbo Book of Hidden Pictures® (Highlights™ Jumbo Books & Pads)

There will be many hours of fun for all ages with this jumbo book which is perfect for holidays and days out, as well as for time at home. It is packed with over 175 black and white drawings full of detail and fun. Each puzzle is carefully designed to engage and entertain children; this will develop their concentration and observation, and can be used for memory games too. skills and attention to detail. There are lots of scenes to choose from and the book also doubles up as a colouring book. With more than 1,5000 things to find, this is an ideal gift for all ages. Published by Highlights Press, April 2018, 978-1629798264.

Horse Puzzles (Highlights™ Hidden Pictures®) Horse lovers will relish this book specially for them, with over 1200 objects to find - many hours of fun. There are more than 120 scenes to enjoy, ranging from harvest to to horse shows to the stables and much more. There's plenty of humour to enjoy in all the pictures and they are also great for colouring in, with plenty of detail to enjoy and refine those motor skills. Doing puzzles is always fun, but they have many benefits too, helping with concentration, reasoning and much more. Published by Highlights Press, April 2018, 978-1629798417.

National Trust: Nature Origami illustrated by Clover Robin

This attractively illustrated origami book is a great way to encourage children to try this creative process. There are 13 projects which include a shell, a fox and a snail and the book provides 50 sheets of colourful paper, patterned on one side to make the finished craft even more attractive. There are practical tips to start off with, and then each object has step-by-step illustrated instructions; for even more help, it's great that you can scan the QR code and watch videos. The projects are graded in three difficulty levels, so there's plenty here for beginners and more experienced ones. There's an inspirational quote on each page too. A beautifully presented book which is a joy to use.

Undersea Kingdom (Little Paper Worlds) illustrated by Anna Styles

I love the concept of these colouring books which have the added dimension of creating scenes once the coloiuring is done - and then changing them around to let the imagination run free. First, you colour inthe detailed pictures on the cards and then build your own 3D underwater world. There are all manner of creatures and plants to be found including mermaids, seaweeds, exotic fish, magical palaces and more. There are 24 double-sided press-out sheets which can be arranged in any order you like once they are coloured, to make impressive poop-through scenes. Plenty here to stimulate creativity and imagination.

How to Draw: Into the Blue by Nicola Davies

This serries, based on the popular picture book series Animal Surprises, is designed to encourage children to understand and appreciate the natural world - and it succeeds excellently in that aim. Nicola Davies is a zoologist, poet and top children's book author who combines these talents effectively in this interesting series. Children will discover, through step-by-step instructions by illustrator Abbie Cameron, how to draw aquatic animals of all shapes and sizes, including colourful jellyfish and silvery sand eels. They will also discover lots of fun facts by Nicola Davies. A good combination of information and creativity which will raise children's awareness of the importance of caring for the natural world.

Minecraft Master Builder World Tour from Carlton Books

Minecraft fans will love this! Nw they can extend their play fun by creating their very own amazing Minecraft masterpieces. As well as the creative aspect, the book also includes Minecraft facts, figures and trivia to engross fans. The projects take children (recommended age 9+) around the world, with step-by-step illustrated instructions showing how to build incredible masterpieces including theatres and bridges, monuments and palaces, cottages and clock towers - a super variety. The book includes step-by-step instructions for 15 constructions created by expert Minecrafters. They are laid out by five continents and each build is rated as Quick, Intermediate or Master, ensuring children start at a suitable level. A list of materials is provided for each project, plus guidance on how long each build will take. It's well thought-out, practical to use and full of inspiring ideas.

The Superhero Craft Book: 15 Things a Superhero Can't Do Without! (Little Button Diaries) by Laura Minter and Tia Williams

Offering 15 great ideas suitable for boys and girls aged 3+, tis is another easy-to-use book of creative ideas from the award-winning Little Button Diaries bloggers. They really are in tune with what children can do, and recommend easily accessed resources - all of the projects can be made either from readily available items from the home, or from easy-to-source materials. Even better, parents and teachers need little to no crafting experience to help; the ideas in this book are excellent for classroom use and will be welcomed by busy teachers. My favourite is the Jetpack Backpack. As well as superhero outfits to wear and essential accessories, there are also ideas for a super-powered party, with great games and party food; perfect if you are party-planning. Published by GMC, April 2018, 978-1784944070.

Outdoor Maker Lab:: 25 Super Cool Projects by Robert Winston

Hands-on learning is the best way to understand and to enjoy science, and the 25 inspiring ideas in this book will really stimulate children ,and encourage them to get outdoors too. A wide range of science topics are covered, and teachers will find the ideas are excellent for supporting KS2 science learning. Topics include Earth and the environment, plants and animals, weather, water and physics. The topics don't need vast amounts of outdoor space so there is plenty here for everyone to enjoy. The book supports STEAM education initiatives and the Maker Movement, encouraging girls and boys to see science as fun and accessible. This book is from DK, so of ourse there is stunning photography (including step-by-step instructions), pleny of labelled diagrams and clear easy-to-follow layout. The step-by-step instructions and detailed explanations mean children can easily attempt the projects without adult help. There is an enormous amount of supporting detail for every topic, making this a valuable science handbook as well. An excellent book which really supports and fosters a love for science.

Roald Dahl's James's Giant Bug Book

The story of James and the Giant Peach is about a giant peach and seven very unusual creepy-crawlies who took James on wonderful adventures. Now children can learn more about The Centipede, The Earthworm, The Grasshopper and many other insects including some not in the story. The book is packed full of fascinating facts about creepy-crawlies as well as fun activities to try at home. These include making an ant farm, creating a bumblebee flowerpot house and building your very own bug hotel. Throughout, the book emphasises the importance of the insect world and of caring for it, and the projects encourage the protection of our important insects. Basing this book on such a well-loved book is a great move, as children will be immediately interested. It is well presented, with a layout that will appeal to children and there are lots of Roald Dahl illustations to enjoy. The book is packed with information, enticilgly presented; a great way to encourage children to appreciate the natural world.

Let's Colour Ireland by Alan Nolan

Perfect if you are planning a holiday in Ireland, if you live there, or if you want to know more about this beautiful country. This enjoyable colouring book showcases a variety of Irish landscapes, interesting characters and iconic places. There's the River Shannon, Connemare ponies, Mailn Head, the Botanic Gardens... and even the Titanic, so plenty for everyone. Each picture includes a short description. The pictures are not too challenging but they do offer plenty of opportunities for creative children (or adults) to put their own spin on the pictures. A good way to discover more about Ireland.

Where's Larry? The Colouring Book by Philip Barrett

Join Larry the Leprechaun and explore Ireland. He gets all oer the place in this book - can you spot him? He's hiding in Donegal Castle, Ben Bulben, Galway Bay - and even in the St Patrick's Day Parede; this is a tricky one! Larry will be hiding in the middle of Irish dancers, traditional musicians, climbers, tourists, hurlers and many others. The easiest way to spot Larry is to start colouring; it's rally hard to pick him out otherwise. The book gives a good insight into iconic Irish scenes and events and it's great fun to spot Larry as yoyr colouring progresses.

Doctor Academy: Are you ready for the challenge? by Steve Martin

This is an exceptional and unusual series which really draws the reader in to the chosen topic. A great way to encourage children of 7+ to think about future careers and to inspire them to learn more. This is such a practical book, as it shows that children can start to learn the basic skills of first aid and becoming a doctor from early on (recommended 7+). It discusses the three levels of skills - people skills, GP and surgeon. Thoughtful activities throughout the book really encourage children to think about how others feel and about what is happening. The book is also a very useful resource for any child facing a hospital visit or stay as there's lots of useful and reassuring information. There are plenty of hands-on fun activities including making a stethoscope, wrapping a sprained ankle, games to play and making a healthy living poster. Everything is accompanied by wise advice. There are copious illustrations by Giordano Poloni which further explain the concepts. Well writtem and presented and extremely enjoyable.

Pilot Academy: Are you ready for the challenge? by Steve Martin

Children will learn the skills needed to fly helicopters, jets and commercial aeroplanes in this engrossing journey in which they take off, navigate and land in an aeroplane - and then learn about the essentials of a pilot's kit. The mixture of activities is excellent, with something to appeal to every child, whether they want craft activities, games to play, items to design or questions to pose and ponder over. There are even physical activities, designed to keep pilots (and kids) fit. The style of the series is simple and easy to follow, packing huge amounts of information into every page but never overwhelming the young reader. Again, the illustrations by Giordano Poloni complement the text perfectly, adding an important dimensino to the book and making it enticing to read. Highly recommended.

Search and Find Alphabet of Alphabets by Allan Sanders

This is far from being just an alphabet book for children although it is, of course, perfect in that role. It goes beyond child appeal though, with its gorgeous illustrations and fascinating range of activities. It's a giant sized book which really gives scope for all the illustrations to shine through. Each of the 26 spreads is an A to Z of things to spot, each one in a very different style which keeps interest levels high. The categories are well-chosen to appeal to a range of interests - there are alphabets of earth, game, museums and quayside, for example. YOur eyes will be darting all over the pages to spot the pictures in order - and make sure you take in the quirky hunour along the way. There's so much to enjoy in this book which is great to dip into, page at a time.

Search and Find The Jungle Book retold by Sarah Powell

This is a beautifully produdec hardback, with a cloth binding and bronze-coloured foiling - it will enhance any bookshelf, adult or child. And the book itself will appeal to all ages, as everyone loves the iconic Jungle Book characters. The book is illustrated by Federica Frenna and every image is packed full of rich and intricate detail. REad the short text which summarises the picture - for example, the monkeys learn a lesson - and then there are 10 little pictures shown for you to spot in the big (page and a half) image. The pictures really convey the beauties of the jungle and while you look for the specific pictures, there's so much more to relish. Stuck? No problem - answers at the end! A lovely way to introduce children to a great classic.

101 Games to Play Before You Grow Up: Exciting and fun games to play anywhere (101 Things) by Walter Foster Jr Creative team

This is an excellent series. The format allows for a wide range of topics to be included, each one succinctly but clearly explained. I think this is my favourite though, as it will provide adults with inspiration to keep their children happily and productively (and healthily!) engaged for hour upon hour.There are hand games, board games, indoor and outdooor games, card games, party games and more. Clear step-by-step instructions and plenty of illustrations make the book enticing and easy to follow for both adults and children. Just let your child browse, and they are bound to find plenty to enjoy. Have this great book available for that inevitable cry of "I'm bored" and you will always have ideas at hand.

COLOURAMA: Pop Up The Past: 3D Colouring Cards to Create and Complete by John Paul de Quay

Enhance your child's interest in history whilst developing their creative skills with this super book packed with colouring cards to complete. Ranging widely through hsitory,they include an ancient Egyptian tomb, a medieval joust, the Apollo moon landing and a towering Aztec temple,What really makes these special is the fact that the end result is a 3D diorama, that will look really effective, as the haracters and objects within each scene can then be folded up to create a 3D effect. There are fun facts on the back of each page, so children can learn all about the iconic scenes and ancient civilizations they are colouring; the details in the pictures are also very informative. These would be brilliant for teachers /ho want to add a fresh aspect to topics studied in the classroom, as well as for fun at home.

Destroy This Book In The Name of Science: Galileo Edition by Mike Barfield

These books are brilliant! The vibrant jazzy presentation has instant child-appeal and suits the topic to perfection. The book is an engaging mix of intriguing facts, colouring and doodling activities to complete, plus a dozen press-out projects to create, which include Build Your Own Brainiacs, The Stand-up Chameleon, The Magic Mollusc, a Mini-Copter and many more. On a practical level, no expensive craft supplies are required. This is a great way to encourage enthusiasm for science, and children's learning will be well supported while they have all the fun. Excellent value for the amount of play and learning offered.

Chalkboard Numbers: Learn numbers with chalkboard pages! (Chalkboard Concepts) by Stephen Barker

This is an interesting new series from QED Publishing, perfect for very young learners, who can chalk over and over again to their heart's content. Children can learn to count with the aid of familiar objects - cars, cookies, lions, ice cream cones, and more with Chalkboard Numbers. This sturdy board book comes complete with its own set of four colourful chalks. On each page there is a 'chalkboard' with guidelines, so children can chalk over and then write freehand. The chalk wipes off easily to allow for repeated practice. The book features numbers 1 to 10, with quiz pages at the end to consolidate learning.

Chalkboard Shapes: Learn shapes with chalkboard pages! (Chalkboard Concepts) by Stephen Barker

Shapes are all around us, and children will respond well to the familiar objects which show rectangles, squares, diamonds and more. Each page features practice shapes for children to draw over with the chalks which are inluded. Thecolorful illustrations by popular children's illustrator Stephen Barker will appeal to children and can be used as starting points for discussion. Pages wipe clean easily, so children can enjoy them again and again, seeing their skills grow all the time.Suitable for ages 3 - 6.

Chalkboard Alphabet: Learn the ABCs with chalkboard pages! (Chalkboard Concepts) by Stephen Barker

This cute and unusual write-and-wipe board book features reuseable "chalkboard" pages and four pieces of chalk which are perfectly sized for little ones' fingers; the chalks neatly store in a box slotted into the book, meaning they should always be to hand. Each page features letters used in a sentence, for example, "Alligator rides a bicycle." It's a well thought-out concepgt which stands out from the ordinary and which will appeal to children because of that. Chalk is always fun!

How to Be a Fashion Designer by Lesley Ware

Encourage children's creativity with this colourful and practical handbook from DK, which is full of inspiration. Illustrations and photographs are explained through text labels which give useful hints and tips. Readers will learn how to mix and match colour and pattern, design clothing shapes, customize accessories, design a bag and much more, through simple, well explained practical projects. The book shows how inspiration is all around us and encourages children to take their ideas from the natural world, everyday life, and their own imagination. Whether creating new clothes, or updating and personalising existing items, this book will really help develop ideas and make the most of what is easily available. The book supports the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Maths) approach to cross-curricular learning and will be perfect for school and club use.

Art Activity Book: Steam Starters for Kids by Jenny Jacoby

A whole range of activities are on offer in this super book, all aimed at encouraging children to enjoy art and express themselves through it, while learning about science, technology, engineering, art and maths. There are mazes, spot the difference, drawing puzzles, pattern identifying, testing quizzes, and more. The book shows the many ways in which art, in all its forms, can be used to present information,  as well as being used to help learning for example through mind maps. It's a fascinating and different look at the subject. STEAM subjects are closely related to one another and books which link them together are ideal for primary school cross-curricular work. However, the need for these subjects in our society is crucial. 

Physics Activity Book: Steam Starters for Kids by Jenny Jacoby

Physics is all around us and this book helps children learn how it is a part of everyday life; by seeing physics in action, they will learn and understand, thereby supporting KS2 science. The book is easy and entertaining to read, talks directly to the reader, and helps the understanding of the world around us and how things work Attractively illustrated and an excellent introduction to scientific concepts. The books in this activity series aim to pique the interest of children in these areas of study, stress the importance of STEAM subjects, and help encourage children who are interested to continue studying and enjoying these areas of learning. 

Where's Jane?: Find Jane Austen Hidden in Her Stories by Rebecca Smith

Jane Austen fans young and old are going to love this book - it's certainly not just one for the children, and I found myself engrossed in it. Each book is introduced by a brief synopsis, with paragraphs each accompanied by a lively drawing showing some of the key characters. Then there are images of all the characters who are to be found in the two page picture. The detailed illustrations by Katy Dockrill are absolutely fascinating, and it's certainly not easy to pick out the characters from all the others around; so much to look at... and just where is Jane? Ten sets of pictures in all, based on six novels. The synopses give a real flavour of the stories and the pictures bring the Regency period and Jane Austen's characters to life superbly. Very enjoyable.

The Slime Book: All You Need to Know to Make the Perfect Slime from DK

What child can resist the opportunity to play with slime? I think adults too will take the opportunity ot enjoy gooey play with the 30+ slime recipes included in this book - it's addictive! The recipes are really easy to follow and produce some hugely varied results with different textures to explore, including sand slime, glittery slime, starry slime and see-through slime. These make a great starting point for all sorts of fun, using the ideas in the book. The science behind the ideas is clearly explained and the presentation of the book is engaging with super colour photos. All the projects have clear step-by-step images and a vibrant final image of the slimy stuff. The recipes all use inexpensive, accessible, and safe everyday products. A lovely way to increase children's creative skills.

3D Printing Projects: Amazing Ideas to Design and Make by DK

This book really is amazing - I had no idea that a simple 3D printer could be used to such superb effect.. There are14 fabulous projects - desk tidy, impossible box, dinosaur stamp, coat hook, photo frame, treasure box, phone stands, star lantern, plant pot, fridge magnet, racing car, troll family, chess set and castle, all without the need for a 3D printer at home. The projects are simple to start with and the book moves on to much more complex ideas, always clearly explained.They use freely available online 3D modelling/CAD programs and give children really good experience in using these. Each project has a print time, details of filament needed and a difficulty rating. IT skills are developed and the ideas will be excellent for school DT lessons and clubs. This is a brilliant way to encourage creativity and the end results are really good - some lovely ideas for personalied gifts.

Dog's Day Out: A drawing and colouring book (Wee Gallery)

These are activity books with a difference. The presentation is classy, with a dustcover on the book,(which opens out to a poster to colour)  and a restricted use of colour which really ensures it is the child's own work that comes to the fore. After helping Dog’s little sister choose her outfit, eating breakfast and packing a picnic, it’s off on the big yellow bus to have some fun! Play on the rides, feed the ducks, discover beautiful bugs and fly kites before going home for tea.... and all the time, enjoy the wide range of stimulating colouring and doodling activities The stylish drawings are really appealing and the thick outlines make the books perfect for young children, ensuring they produce pictures to be proud of. As they enjoy the book, children will be encouraged to think about what they can see.

Cat's Playgroup: A drawing and colouring book (Wee Gallery)

A lovely activity book which tells the story of Cat's first day at playgroup. Right from the start, children are drawn in as they help Cat choose what to wear. Then children are encouraged to join in with Cat as she sets off to join her friends for a day at playgroup. They will play games, make masks, draw farm animals and more, and all the time, readers are encouraged to join in with a range of activities. Little hands will be busy for hours with lots of things to draw, spot, and colour. Includes a dust jacket that folds out to a poster. The Wee Gallery range of books for pre-schoolers marries fresh design with engaging educational content. These books are the result of a highly successful partnership between Wee Gallery and QED Publishing. These are exceptional activity books for pre-schoolers, stimulating and full of educational value.

Famous Five Classic Colouring Book: Colouring book

This nostalgic-feeling colouring book includes illustrations from all 21 famous Five books. All the excitement of the ever-popular books is here, with each full page illustration complemented by a quote from one of the books. From the discovery of a shipwreck off Kirrin Island to a dramatic escape on horseback, from a towering lighthouse embedded in rock to a secluded campsite out on the moors, these iconic scenes, featuring Julian, Dick, Anne, George and, of course, Timmy the dog, will be loved by fans of the books both young and older - I love the memories they create. This gorgeous colouring book contains original artwork redrawn by Helen Smith. For added variety, there are patterns based on the books, such as seabirds and yachts. A lovely colouring book for all Enid Blyton fans.

Discover Art with Katie: A National Gallery Sticker Activity Book by James Mayhew

Katie is a popular and successful picture book character who has done so much to introduce children to the world of art. Her popularity makes her perfect to encourage children to try out their own artistic skills. The world of the National Gallery is opened up to children as they explore famous paintings with Katie's help' a perfect way to interest children in art and to make the National Gallery accessible to them. There are over 150 stickers, plus mazes, drawing challenges, sticker puzzles and more in this colourful book. A lovely way to develop an enthusiasm for art and to develop children's artistic skills.

Learn to Draw with Katie: A National Gallery Book by James Mayhew

Children who are familiar with the side range of Katie books will recognise old favourites here, but will also enjoy discovering some new works of art. Art lover Katie has been drawing children into art for over 25 years; now she is showing children how to develop their own skills. There are straightforward step-by-step guides showing children how to draw portraits, landscapes, animals, based on famous paintings which include Van Gogh's Chair and Constable's Hay Wain from the National Gallery's world famous collection. This will encourage children to look at these paintings in a new light, encouraged by Katie's perceptive comments. With plenty of drawing tips, and information about the artists, this is a super book which will give children the interest and the confidence to try drawing for themselves.

Space Adventure Activity Book by Jen Alliston

Children are fascinated by space and they will love this packed activity book with its wide range of colourful activities. At the same time, they will be increasing their knowledge of space. It's perfect for children age 4 - 8, and if they are studying space at school, it will really extend their learning and interest in the topic. The activities cover all sorts of skills, including observation, co-ordination and fine motor. that will benefit children as well as give them pleasure and satisfaction. There are  dot to dot, spot the difference, coloring in, writing, number work, mazes and plenty more - and four pages of stickers too. With beautiful, bright illustrations to engage children's attention, this is a really good example of what an activity book should be. There will be many hours of fun to be had with this excellent book. Published by Button Books, November 2017, ISBN 978-1787080034.

101 Video Games to Play Before You Grow Up by Ben Bertoli

Subtitled The unofficial must-play video game list for kids, this will be a really popular book with children, who will have great fun reading through and deciding which games they really, really must have! No matter what gaming system you have, this is a great book. As well as listing the must-have games, there are behind-the-scenes snippets and trivia about the games. Parents will appreciate the parental rating guidelines. Making the book interactive, gamers can record their personal ratings of each series as they play their way through the list, making notes and critiquing the best and worst parts of each game. This is a good way to encourage children to evaluate the games and to think about how good they really are. The games include adventure, puzzle, platform, racing, and role-playing games - an excellent range, with something for everyone. The bright jazzy layout will appeal to gamers, and the information is consistent and easy to find, with feature boxes for specific facts such as rating, first seen and genre.

Tai Ji Dancing for Kids by Chungliang Al Huang

Straightforward and clear, with simple evocative words, appealing calligraphy, and home photos of the words in action, grandfather and granddaughter team Chungliang and Sylvia bring the spirit of Tai Ji to life. It shows how the five elements underpinning Chinese thought - Earth, Fire, Water, Wood, and Metal - can be simply and instinctively expressed through the body. It shows a way of keeping kids active, and improving their wellbeing and mindfulness. Even if you are completely new to Tai Ji, this book will give you a good understanding of what is involved.

Ultimate Slime by Alyssa Jagan

The cover tells us that the book contains DIY Tutorials for Crunchy Slime, Fluffy Slime, Fishbowl Slime, and More Than 100 Other Oddly Satisfying Recipes and Projects - and that sums it up perfectly. Find out how to create a world of slime in a rainbow of colors and incredible textures. Start with some basic recipes, including kid-safe slime, then progress to making fluffy slime, clear slime, slushy slime. It's a fascinating range of ideas and the colour photos make it all really enticing. With clear explanations, the book is easy to use. Alyssa Jagan, popular Instagram slimer of @CraftySlimeCreator fame, is THE expert on slime. Her enthusiasm for all things slime really shines through in this fascinating collection of recipes and projects which are easily achieved by anyone of 6+.

Animal Surprises: How to Draw by Nicola Davies

Would you or your child love to be able to draw? Sometimes, all we need is something to get us started, and this straightforward book from Graffeg does just that. There's a fact-filled story which takes the reader through the jungle, deep down into the sea and high up into the trees. Along the way, and superbly interwoven with the text, are step-by-step 'how to draw' pages which include a giraffe, a ladybird and a tree frog. The pictures include colour, which isn't always the case with this type of book, but which makes for superb finished results. Blank squared pages at the end of the book match the backgrounds to the drawings, giving a little extra help. The book is beauutifully produced and the pictures are a delightThe end of the book features a puzzle for young animal lovers to complete. The book is illustrated by Abbie Cameron and Nicola Davies is a zoologist and children's book author; her background brings a real authenticity to her drawings.

Stupendous Science by Rob Beattie and Sam Peet

With 70 super cool experiments you can do at home, this large format book has plenty to keep children happily and productively engaged for many hours. The names of the experiments will have immediate appeal - how about The Geatawy Grape, Punch a Potato, The Wobbly Broomstick or Wormapalooza! They can all be found, along with lots more intriguing ideas, in brilliant book of simple home experiments. The experiments all use easily-obtained basic ingredients and equipment; the science behind each experiment is clearly and succinctly explained. Illustrated throughout and with step by step instructions, this collection of quick and achievable experiments is the perfect way to make science fun. It's a great way to support the science curriculum and the jazzy layout will really appeal to young scientists.

Etchart: Hidden Forest by A J Wood and Mike Jolley

Subtitled "Reveal the wonders of the wild in 9 amazing Etchart scenes", this is one in a really eye-catching series. Travel through a beautiful forest, meeting butterflies, frogs, birds and many more creatures on the way. Read the short text and enjoy the outline pictures before taking your stylus (included with the book) and etching away at nine beautiful woodland scenes. Each picture has panels of special scratchable ink, which scratch off to reveal beautiful colours. The outstanding illustrations in both books are by Dinara Mirtalipova. Really absorbing - a great escape from the pressures of the world. The results are stunning.

Etchart: Secret Sea by A J Wood and Mike Jolley

Explore the hidden undersea world as you reveal more and more beauty with every stroke of the stylus. You can personalise the pictures, either removing all the ink, or by being more creative and using the stylus With your stylus, remove all the ink, or create swirls, dots, and other patterns, using the guidance in the book for help, to personalise your very own piece of art. The books are produced in strong glossy card, so there's no transfer of pressure to spoil the enjoyment of other pictures - I'd like to be able to tear out the finished works of art, though. You don't need any artistic talent to produce spectacular pictures with these beautiful books... I don't think adults will easily relinquish these to children!

The Space Craft Book by Laura Minter and Tia Williams

From the talented creators of Little Button Diaries, here are 15 Things a Space Fan Can't Do Without. This book is suitable for boys and girls aged 3+, and is guaranteed to be a hit with teachers and TAs whose classes are learning about space. all the projects can be made either from readily available items or from easy-to-source materials, - you don't even need crafting experience yourself, as the instructions are clear and simple to follow. so they can be tackled at school or home. As well as space outfits to wear and essential astronaut accessories, there are also space-themed cakes and nibbles to make too. Projects include: constellation nightlight, space boots, mission control desk, booster pack, walkie talkie, giant cardboard rocket. Published by GMC, November 2017, 978-1784943653.

Gift Boxes to Colour and Make: A Year of Celebrations by Eilidh Muldoon

Each double-sided page of this pretty book turns into a box. There are designs on both sides to be coloured with crayons or pens, then simply tear along the dotted lines to remove the shape. Fold along the scored lines and your box is ready to go. Ideal for small gifts - how about lining them with tissue paper and filling with homemade sweets? Alternatively, they are just right for storing all kinds of treats and trinkets. The patterns are suitable for year-round use and you can personalise with your name on the bottom. Fun to do and a treat to receive.!

Make and Play Nativity by Joey Chow

Children love to have a nativity scene, and it's even more rewarding if they have helped to make it. Now, with hep from Nosy Crow, they can do just that. There are 20 unique and colourful designs on the colourful card pages - just press out and slot together to create colourful displays. There are Mary and Joseph, the manger, the Wise Men, the shepherds (and sheep, of course) and many more key elements, the press-out pieces can be simply slotted together to create bright and cheerful decorations. Use the pieces to teach young children about the Nativity story, and complement this with the Christmas songs and craft activities which complete this innovative book. Perfect to help young children enjoy the build-up to Christmas.

Press Out and Decorate Unicorns by Kate McLelland

Encourage children to make their own unique room decorations with these magical unicorns. The 20 double-sided designs are intricately decorated with glittery pink foil. The press-out pieces can be slotted together to create magical three-dimensional hanging ornaments or threaded together to create garlands or mobiles (some of the designs have pre-cut holes for threading). There are flying unicorns and shooting stars, fluffy clouds and rainbows. Children can opt to leave them as they are, but creative children will have even more fun if they colour them in with pens, to make their own designs. The pages can also be used as stencils. Pretty and imaginative, these are lovely.

150 Great Science Experiments by Chris Oxlade

The subtitle tells us these are "Ingenious, Easy-To-Do Projects Explore and Explain the Wonders of Science and Technology". Science is a fascinating subject for children and we can help to make it more so by encouraging them to carry out experiments which further their understanding. With a mammoth 150 experiments, this bumper collection explain a wide range of scientific facts, processes and principles, making it perfect to support KS2 learning at school and at home. The projects are arranged thematically to reflect different areas of science and technology, including the earth, materials and transport. The book is beautifully presented with lots of photos and diagrams showing the experiments in progress. The items needed are clearly listed and the experiments are set out step by step. The variety is fascinating and there's plenty here to offer many happy hours of enjoyment and learning.

Press Out and Colour: Christmas Decorations by Kate McLelland

Children love to share in decorating the house at Christmas and they will be very happy to see their own masterpieces decorating rooms - and these are beautiful. There are 20 press-out designs, all on heavy card and intricately decorated with gold foil. These could be left as they are but they will be more fun if children colour them in with pens to make them look even prettier. From beautiful baubles to shimmery snowflakes, the decorations slot together to create lovely decorations. Once the pieces are cut out, children can use the empty pages as stencils to create even more ornaments.

The Babysitter's Survival Guide by Jill D Chasse

This is the first time I have seen a book specifically for babysitters - what a great idea! From finding clients to entertaining, feeding, bathing and getting children to sleep, this is full of wise and practical advice. Recipes, activities for all age ranges, suggestions for handling tears, tantrums and emergencies plus practical information to give confidence - it's all here. This revised edition has been updated to reflect new guidelines and to discuss babysitting in the digital age. Very practically, this guide includes perforated business and emergency information cards. It's full of inspiration for everyone, but will be especially valuable to younger babysitters who don't have children of their own, giving them a super repertoire of ideas to call on. It will really show prospective clients that they are taking the role seriously. An excellent book which will give confidence to both sitters and parents. Published by Sterling Books, September 2017, 978-1454923183.


The Kids' Family Tree Book by Caroline Leavitt

The growth of the internet has led to a huge upsurge in the popularity of researching family trees, and this book makes it really approachable for children. They are always full of questions about their family history, and these research ideas and creative projects will help set them on the road to discovery. Many different sources of information are explained, starting with family members. The book explains how to use libraries and the Internet to seek information, and how to understand clues in old photos or birth, marriage and death records. Once you've found the information, the book is full of ideas on recording it, and on building a database of family-specific information. A great way to unite families and to create a lasting record. Published by Sterling, October 2017, 978-1454923206.

Build It!: 25 creative STEM projects for budding engineers by Caroline Alliston

Girls and boys will really enjoy these creative projects that help to develop those important STEM skills. They are easily achievable and confidence-building, and will encourage budding engineers and scientists. The practical value of science in our everyday world is highlighted by the projects which include a teddy zip wire, a coin battery and a fan boat. The projects are clearly explained and the science behind them is demonstrated; they use easy-to-find objects from around the home. Design, creative thinking and problem solving skills will all be developed and the book will be really useful to teachers for DT lessons and school clubs. A super book.

Star Wars Millennium Falcon Book and Mega Model (Star Wars Construction Books) from Egmont

My son made a previous model in this series and we were really impressed by the quality of the model and the attention to detail - and this one is even bigger and more detailed! Jump aboard the fastest ship in the Star Wars galaxy with this amazing book and model to make of the Millennium Falcon! As well as the push-out heavy card model, there are fun facts, character profiles, ship schematics and story moments from across the entire Star Wars saga - perfect for fans old and new. When fully built, this impressive model is approximately 30x30cm and has moveable cannons and radar dish. Removable panels allow you to look inside to find out more about this famous freighter; the features make for plenty of play value beyond the construction..

Numbers. Colours. Sizes. Opposites. Supersticker Fun by Armadillo Books

This lovely colourful activity book is perfect for learning key skills. Arranged by the fur themes, it is really attractively presented, and full of fun, bright pictures, stickers and games. Questions are posed for children to answer - 'Have you ever worn orange overalls?'; 'How wide can you open your arms?' - these really draw children in, and offer lots of prompts to help adults develop discussion. Readers will delight in activities such as finding party hats for the boy and girl, putting the teddy bears on their chairs, making the line of boats longer, counting the balls for the juggler, laying the table for dinner, and much more. All the stickers are reusable, so youngsters will be able to think about the concepts and again and again, or use the stickers to make their own pictures, stories and games, thereby developing their imaginative skills. The stickers are labelled with the appropriate page number, and are large enough for little fingers. A super first learning sticker book..

Roller Coaster Marble Run by Andrew Gatt

All the fun of a marble run with the added satisfaction of building it yourself! Just add sticky tape and marbles and you're ready to roll. The finished product is 70cm tall, 44cm deep and 34cm wide so it's a good size. There are lots of different features included, so as you race two marbles, they roll through a funnel, along separate paths including a gravity-defying loop-the-loop, and down fun steps and amazing slopes. The instructions are straightforward, though I think two pairs of hands would often be useful. Simple mechanics and principles of engineering and physics are explained in bite-sized text, supporting children's scientific knowledge. Fun to build; fun to play.

Rainy Day Kids Adventure Book by Steph Scott and Katie Akers

The cover tells us that this is "Outdoor Games and Activities for the Wind, Rain and Snow"; it's certainly not a fair weather book, but perfect for any time of year, especially considering our climate! We all know the importance of fresh air and exercise, but it can be daunting to find opportunities in the colder wetter months - but not any more. Outdoor enthusiasts Steph and Katie are teachers and mothers and have years of experience of finding new and novel ways to get kids to enjoy the great outdoors, whatever the weather. Activities range from puddle painting and making your own nature paint brushes, to making wind spinners from golden leaves and feathers; if you don't want to stay out for too long, the book lists things to collect outdoors for taking home and used for stay-at-home projects. The book encourages youngsters to see the excitement of wind, snow, rain and to enjoy the elements with fun projects that excite the imagination. Illustrated throughout with photos and diagrams, this is a really practical little book for every family, whether in town or country, and it will provide endless stimulation.

Red Rover, Red Rover!: Games from an Irish Childhood (That You Can Teach Your Kids) by Kunak McGann

So many of the games children used to play are being forgotten, so this book is a great idea to ensure future generations rediscover the fun their parents and grandparents had. Packed with classics like Marbles, Conkers, Bulldog, and Hopscotch, party games like Blind Man's Buff and Snap Apple, and rainy day fun with Battleship, Murder in the Dark, and paper Fortune-Tellers, this is an excellent collection. It is divided into themed sections which include ball games, rope/string games, turn-taking games and party games. ‘What you need’, how to play, handy tips, ‘risk’ ratings and stories of great craic will whisk you back to those carefree days of childhood; parents and grandparents will find it nostalgic and children will love to see what previous generations enjoyed.

An Egyptian Adventure (The Histronauts) by Frances Durkin

Stir children's imaginations and help them feel part of life in Ancient Egypt in tis innovative blend of story, history, facts and activities. The reader will be needed to help the Histronauts uncover the secrets of the past. In this new exciting activity book, they will explore dazzling tombs, decipher hieroglyphics, unwrap the art of mummification and learn how the gods ruled over the dead in the afterlife. Comic strip type illustrations will appeal to children, and the variety of activities means there is something for everyone - teachers too will find the book useful. Perfect to enthuse children, this is the perfect companion to studying Ancient Egypt.!

A Roman Adventure (The Histronauts) by Frances Durkin

This is a clever mix of fact and fun as readers help the Histronauts the secrets of the past. The presentation is really good for helping children to learn the facts, as they enjoy the comic strip story, and a wide range of activities which include playing the game merrelus, cooking Roman honey cakes, designing a Roman standard and making a model aqueduct. Alongside these, there are lots of facts, well presented. Children can immerse themselves in Roman life, by exploring the Roman baths, trying on the armour of a legionary, making a sacrifice at the temple of the gods, riding in a speeding chariot and meeting ferocious gladiators. An exciting mix of history, facts and activity which will really encourage an interest in Ancient Rome. Very well presented and brimming with information.

Optical Illusions by Gianni A Sarcone and Marie-Jo Waeber

First impressions count, so this book gets off to a good start by having a moving illusion on the front cover. The first part of the book has all sorts of mind-boggling illusions - these will really make you question the way your brain works! It all goes to show that, amazing as it is, our brains don't always get things right when it comes to sight.After that, there are lots of hands-on experiments described. It's fascinating to read about the science which lies behind these strange illusions, and the explanations are clear and easy to follow - children and adults will be equally intrigued. Covering a range of optical topics, from shapes and movement, to light and reflection, this cool manual contains templates at the back which reveal answers and help you to create your own astounding illusions. Fascinating and absorbing; the hands-on activities really help us understand how illusions work.

Star Wars Where's the Wookiee? 2 Search and Find Activity Book from Egmont Books

Star Wars fans will love this book, which gives them the opportunity to explore lots of scenes, and to learn a little more about locations such as Otoh Gunga, Saw Gerrera's Hideout and Niima Outpost. Chewbacca is back and on the loose across the galaxy, and this time he’s brought some Wookiee friends The pictures are absolutely packed with detail, and there are six characters to spot in each one - it's quite a challenge and ti make it harder, there are some red herrings! Hours of fun for all the family.

British Museum: Mixed Up Masterpieces from Nosy Crow

Nosy Crow's association with the British Museum is working superbly to bring the museum's treasures to a wider audience, and specifically to children. This seriously silly book brings the past to life with an array of famous faces from the British Museum. With over 2000 possible combinations children will have great fun creating the silliest face possible as well as finding the real combination (the coloured backgrounds to the pages might help!) From an ancient Egyptian mummy to a modern Mexican mask, this book is full of amazing art. Not only will they have fun with this book, they will also be learning about early civilisations to support their curricular learning, and this is enhanced by using the QR code in the book, which gives more information about all these wonderful artefacts.

Paddington Sticker Scene Book by Emma Drage

Starting, of course, at Paddington Station (after meeting the family), this lovely sticker book visits many of the favourite scenes from the much-loved Paddington movie. They make a great background to add the 150+ stickers which are included - scenes include around the Browns' house, the London tube and Mr Gruber's antique shop. The stickers are separated by the appropriate page so children know just what goes where. Bright and colourful, this is lovely for all Paddington fans.

Dress-up Jane Austen (Fashion Paper Dolls) by Catherine Bruzzone and Hennie Haworth

I found this a really nostalgic book which took me back to the days of my childhood with its stand-up cardboard characters and cut-out clothes complete with tabs to attach them to the models. The costumes (for both men and women) are wonderfully detailed (but the outlines simple to cut out) and really bring to life the period and the way people lived. It's not just cut-outs - there is plenty of information about the period as well, before the costumes which take the dolls through a day in high society. The lovely classic feel of this book is perfect for the Jane Austen theme and I predict that adult fans of the author will want to get their hands on this book!

Dress-up Russian Revolution (Fashion Paper Dolls) by Catherine Bruzzone and Hennie Haworth

Another lovely book which will encourage children to leave their electronic toys and get crafting. Find out What the Tsar and Tsarina wore and look at the contrast between their outfits and those of the peasant woman. Cut out the sixteen colourful costumes, for both women and men, then dress up the dolls to learn about the styles of this turbulent age. The book also includes lots of information about this turbulent period, all illustrated in detail. As ever, bsmall can be relied on to bring us something which is a bit different and extends children's creative and imaginative skills.

Millie Marotta's Beautiful Birds and Treetop Treasures: A colouring book adventure

This gorgeous book had me itching to get my pens or crayons out! It's definitely one that will appeal to adults as well as to older children. The superbly patterned pictures are really detailed and depict a whole range of exotic birds and other creatures along with trees and other plants that form their habitats. The choices of birds range from birds such Major Mitchell's cockatoo and rose robins, to the magnolia warbler, silver-eared mesia and whiskered treeswift; perhaps you will be stimulated to learn more about these beautiful birds. As well as the beautiful birds of the world, Millie's intricate designs show the more unusual creatures residing in the treetops, such as the Amazonian milk frog, the sugar glider or the tree-kangaroo. The pictures are on good quality white paper - it would be good if the pictures were perforated for easy removal though, and also to help the book lie flat. Nonetheless, this is a gorgeous book - perfect to relax with.

Pug-a-Doodle-Do! by Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre

Drawing and writing fun of all sorts make up this creative and imaginative book. Children will learn how to draw characters such as a pug, a sea monkey, and Pilbeam the robot; take part in a comics jam; design your own pugs with combat skills; take on many amazing doodle challenges; read the secret diaries of Colin the Crab; see what happens when a supervillain has to do the washing up; and much, much more! This is a great book for both boys and girls, one that can be dipped into at any point, so children can browse and find an activity they fancy at that time. The paper quality is not brilliant - crayons not felt tips are called for. Whether or not your child is familiar with the books by these superb authors, there will be hours of fun here - and I sincerely hope that, if children are not familiar with the books, that they will want to seek them out after enjoying this wonderful book.

Make it Kids' Craft: One-Sheet Sculpture: Amazing Creatures illustrated by Shobhna Patel

This super 3D colouring book really makes a change from ordinary colouring books. It contains 24 beautiful, three-dimensional animal-themed artworks.First, use pens or crayons to colour in the animal portraits - the sturdy light card is great for pens and they give a lovely vivid result. Once coloured, press out the die-cut flaps to accentuate scales, feathers and more - creating wonderful works of art that can be removed from the book and proudly displayed. There are many different styles of sculptures to make and there are clear instructions in the book. An added bonus are the coloured sheets of paper to lay beneath the pages to accentuate your 3D pictures. A lovely way to encourage creativity.

The Colouring Book of Cards and Envelopes Unicorns and Rainbows from Nosy Crow

I love this series of books from ever-innovative Nosy Crow. Children really enjoy colouring and being creative but it can be hard to know how to make good use of all those creations. With these cards and envelopes, there's a real purpose to that creativity, and one that means they can be proudly shared. It's a great way to encourage writing those 'thank you' letters too! The lovely intricate designs have a real touch of magic, and creative children will have hours of fun completing each design - even the envelopes have drawings to colour. For a final finishing touch, there are lovely stickers too.

Emoji Sticker Fun! from Top That!

Ideal for tweens and teens, this book of stickers is all about friendship. It includes quizzes and questions that can be completed with colourful emoji stickers to create a perfect best friends keepsake record. From fashion and friendship to makeovers, hobbies and interests, Emoji Sticker Fun! is a bonding activity book for friends to complete together. Includes over 3,000 stickers for use in the book and to emoji-fy anything and everything! Plenty of fun and perfect for those who love stickers but have grown out of the average sticker book.

Magnetic Play Vehicles by Top That Publishing

This neatly packaged set is really ingenious. 15 colourful magnetic vehicle shapes are stored in the front or back of the book, all ready to be set out onto the magnetic scenes. More than that, though - it's ideal parent-child sharing for children age 3 and up, as parents share the simple, immersive text that explains what the busy vehicles get up to. Words and pictures combine in this sturdy board book to hint at which missing magnets to hunt out and place on the magnetic pages to complete each busy vehicle scene - the scenes include farm, town and a race track. The book encourages shared reading and discussion, imaginative play and hand-eye coordination..

The Book of Me: My Life, My Style, My Dreams (Journal) by Buster Books

Teen and tween girls will love this very girly book which encourages them to record all sorts of things about themselves. It's really wide-ranging - from how to have the best ever sleepover to fill-in dream journals, and lists of life ambitions to designing a beauty product range, this book will document every last detail and make a super lasting record. There are also gorgeous, bespoke illustrations throughout to be coloured in. Much more fun than keeping a diary, the book really encourages the inclusion of a huge range of thoughts and ideas, and extends the imagination with its creative activities.

The Great Big Search and Find Activity Book: Over 500 things to find, colour and spot! illustrated by Joelle Dreidemy

​From dinosaurs to the solar system, dump trucks and diggers to farm animals; the deep blue sea to astronauts, there is plenty here to attract any child. As well as plenty of puzzles and lots of scenes to colour, there are fun facts to discover. Can you find and colour the baby T-Rex hiding on Dinosaur Island? Did you know that butterflies taste with their feet? Hunt for hidden octopuses, search for squirrels and find the ten differences between the robots in this bumper activity book, perfect for a rainy day. Take this book with you on a journey, when visiting or on holiday and you can be sure your child will be happily and productively engaged for many hours. In full colour throughout, this is a really appealing book, a cut above the average activity book.

Hello Happy! Mindful Kids: An activity book for young people who sometimes feel sad or angry by Stephanie Clarkson

Written in consultation with Dr Sharie Coombes, a Child and Family Psychotherapist, the books in the Mindful Kids series reflect the growing concern around young people and their emotions, and focus attention on the increasingly popular area of mindfulness. Hello Happy! is an interactive self-care activity book for children aged 7+ to colour and doodle their way to happiness, calm and confidence. The encouraging and simple activities and exercises tackle anxiety, sadness and stress; children will enjoy using their creativity to combat negative feelings, work out why they feel worried and how to put stress back in its place through writing, colouring, doodling and drawing. We all know how relaxing it can be to doodle and colour and this book just provides that extra encouragement. It features the charming and quirky illustrations of Katie Abey, which will keep the reader entertained and focused as they work through the book.

No Worries! Mindful Kids: An activity book for young people who sometimes feel anxious or stressed by Lily Murray

Again, this book is written in association with Dr Sharie Coombes. This is an interactive self-care activity book for children aged 7+ to colour and doodle their way to happiness, calm and confidence. The encouraging and simple, yet well designed, activities and exercises tackle anxiety, sadness and stress; children will enjoy using their creativity to combat negative feelings, work out why they feel worried and how to put stress back in its place through writing, colouring, doodling and drawing. Whether working systematically through the book, or just dipping in and out for a few minutes relaxation, this is an excellent new series that will benefit both children and adults, and make it easier for them to express their feelings.

Sticker Art Savannah by Craig and Carl

These books produce quite stunning results, with the brightly coloured stickers set against the shiny black background. Produced in association with the National History Museum, this book features eight sticker by number portraits of savannah animals, incluing an African lion, an ostrich and a giraffe. There are also fun facts to learn as you sticker. With large stickers perfect for little hands and a straightforward sticker by number design, kids will enjoy creating stylish, vibrant portraits of savannah animals in their natural habitat. Also available is Sticker Art Woodland which includes a red fox, a tawny owl and a reindeer.


Hangman Puzzles for Clever Kids by Jack Ketch

Hangman puzzles have been around for a long time and they are a great way to improve spelling skills and to encourage quick thinking. This book gives a fascinating new approach to the old favourite, as children scratch off the circles concealing the letters to solve the puzzles. Each puzzle has the 26 letters of the alphabet: players choose one they think is in the phrase, scratch it off, and see if it s used. If it's not used, one of the stick figure's body parts must be drawn in - there are six in all, so that's six wrong guesses... It's a really fun way to play the game. I am inclined to take the author's name with a pinch of salt though... Published by Sterling, June 2017, ISBN 9781454922766.

British Museum: Around the World Colouring Book illustrated by Thomas Flintham

This colouring book with a difference takes children on a cultural journey around the world, taking in places such as Ancient Egypt, North America, the Solomon Islands, France, Thailand and India - and many more - along the way. Once children have coloured in the detailed pictures, it's time to search for the stickers which show relevant objects from the wonderful collection of the British Museum; the stickers go on to the outline shapes at the side of each page and are a great way to learn about the country's artefacts. The book encourages creativity and increases knowledge - the pictures would make a super addition to a project. Nosy Crow is working with the British Museum in an exclusive partnership to create a broad range of children's books to sell to the UK trade and beyond - they are excellent and well worth seeking out.

The Colouring Book of Cards and Envelopes: Amazing Animals and Beautiful Birds (British Museum) by Rachel Cloyne

Even in thi electronic age, nothing is better than getting a hand-written card or letter - and when the card is hand-coloured, it's even better! This unusual series from Nosy Crow is an ideal way to encourage children to write those thank you letters, and the recipients will be thrilled with the end result - even the envelopes are decorated. The twenty-four beautiful designs are inspired by animals and birds found in the British Museum. The index at the back can be used for colouring inspiration from the Museum objects themselves or children can put their own creativity to use. There are even colour stickers to seal your card. An inspiring set of cards and envelopes that will really encourage creativity - and communication.

Sticker Art Jungle illustrated by Craig and Carl

These books are simply stunning - i can see the adults deciding to keep them for themselves! There are eight jungle portraits to create. The black glossy card pages have the creatures outlined, and the matching stickers come in bright colours to make really effective vibrant pictures. The outlines are numbered so you know which stickers to use, so you can match the number to the shape. On the reverse of each page is a picture of the end result, along with plenty of interesting facts. You'll need a steady hand to make these pictures as perfect as possible but they are well worth the effort.

Sticker Art Ocean illustrated by Craig and Carl

Produced in association with the Natural History Museum, these books are informative as well as creative. This time, there are eight ocean creatures to complete, ranging from a starfish to a blue whale. With a little care, the results are going to be quite superb - a far cry from the usual sticker book. The only slight negative is that it's hard to cut the pages out neatly - it would be good if the pages were perforated.... perhaps a point for the next books in what I hope will be an ongoing series. The pictures are too good to shut away - they would be great on display.

My First Wild Activity Book by Isabel Otter-Barry Ross

Inspire children to find out about wild animals from all around the world in this action-packed activity book. They will discover who makes their homes in seven different habitats including rainforests, deserts and oceans. For each habitat, there is a giant fold-out scene that can be made into a stunning poster at the end. The variety of activities is excellent and includes colouring and drawing, search and find, spot the difference, dot to dots and two pages of stickers. Fun and educational, this is a really good example of the way sticker books can teach children a great deal whilst developing their creative instincts.

Doodle Girl Summer Sticker Activity by Suzanne Smith and Lindsay Taylor

Doodle Girl and her friends live in a magic sketchbook, and when she whispers @draw, draw, draw', her doodles turn into fantastical adventures. This wonderfully imaginative sticker, drawing and doodling book is the perfect companion to summer holidays, and girls will really love the unusual ideas that give them plenty of opportunities to express their own creativity. They can design a holiday wardrobe, create an ice cream, find their way to an island and many more activities. The book includes a superb selection of stickers to embellish the pages. A lovely sticker book.

Get Colouring with Katie by James Mayhew

Katie and her love for art and artists will be familiar to many children, and now they have a chance to get to know some famous paintings even better by colouring them in for themselves. Featuring paintings from the National Gallery's world famous collection, this is the perfect introduction to the wonderfully exciting world of art. All that children need to do, is to pick up their colouring pencils and pens and follow the ever-curious Katie on an exciting art journey. The pictures are very detailed, so this is one for older children. Katie introduces each picture, and there is a small version of the original for children to copy the colours. This excellent book is produced in association with the National Gallery.

Creative Lettering for Kids: Techniques and Tips from Top Artists by Jenny Doh

In today's computer-oriented world, it's still lovely to encourage children to enjoy hand lettering, which can give them such a sense of satisfaction. Hand lettering can be used in so many ways - to embellish project work and to send personalised greetings are just a couple of examples. In this book, highly accomplished artists present their favorite lettering techniques, illustrated with inspiring examples of their own work and accompanied by step-by-step instructions that children can follow without difficulty. The book is beautifully illustrated in full colour to really inspire children, and it is really wide-ranging with a huge variety of styles covered. Published by Sterling, June 2017, 9781454920052.

British Museum: The Colouring Book of Cards and Envelopes: Fabulous Flowers and Perfect Patterns (Colouring Books of Cards and Envelopes) by Rachel Cloyne

A colouring book with a real purpose and useful end product, giving children beautiful personalised cards and envelopes to send to family and friends. There are 24 beautifully designed cards and envelopes to tear out and colour,  inspired by patterns found in the British Museum. Both children and adults can take inspiration from the museum objects - a super way to encourage interest. Or there is opportunity to get experimental - trying unusual colours and different materials to make each card truly unique!. With enough blank space inside for a message, envelopes to customise and stickers to seal your card -this is the complete creative package! A lovely way to encourage children to write those all-important thank you letters, and a refreshing change from computer-generated cards.

Italy - Children's Travel Activity and Keepsake Book from Tinytourists

Tinytourists is all about inspiring family travel and making the most of adventures; keeping travel meaningful and memorable, educational and fun. Each book offers 5 benefits; they keep children entertained on long journeys, make travel more meaningful by opening their eyes to some of the different things they may see, introduce simple vocabulary, practice key maths, literacy and observation skills in a themed and fun way, and to create an on-the-go journal keepsake with plenty of space to record memories - written, stuck or drawn.

We were looking forward to receiving this travel activity book, and whilst we weren't jetting off to Italy we did however, have a lovely break in the Isle of Wight so I put my 4 and 6 year old reviewers to work!

Travel 1

At the beginning of the book you are introduced to your travel buddy, 'Topher', named after St. Christopher who is the Patron Saint of Travellers (try and spot him throughout the book). On the next page you can design your own suitcase and write your name on the luggage tag. The following page is a handy description of how to use the book. It shows you symbols to look out for and a list of Italian words with the phonetic spellings underneath. The page also explains to adults which part of the curriculum the activities are designed to support. There are around 40 pages of activities and puzzles to complete which are completely different but all have a link to the Italy theme, from guiding a gondola through a water maze, to matching pizza toppings and counting Ferraris.

The whole book is brilliantly illustrated, it keeps to one activity per page, the design and layout is very effective as it is simple yet engaging for a child and the huge variety of activities ensures your child won't get bored. Towards the end of the book there are spaces for you to create your own travel collage by sticking in momentos from your travels such as leaflets, tickets and drawings. There are pages for you to write about the things you both did, and didn't like about your trip.

Travel 2

From a parents' point of view, the best thing about this book is the educational value and the brilliant way it shows you how the activities link back to the curriculum. Children will build on observational skills and recall what they have seen, learn simple Italian vocabulary along with mark making and number recognition to name just a few of the key skills supported.

The Tinytourists Travel Activity Book consists of 54 high quality pages, bound in a glossy cover which is made up using a combination of illustrator and child-drawn images to reflect the idea of seeing the world through a child's eyes. The Tinytourists books are available to buy for Italy, France, Spain, Greece, Lanzarote and Tenerife.

Tinytourists Travel Activity Books are aimed at children from ages 3 - 6 years old, they retail at £7.99 and can be purchased from Amazon. For more information you can take a look at

Travel 3

Make It Kids' Craft: Rainbow Origami from Carlton Books

Eight origami shapes in the seven colours of the rainbow are here to be created by following the clear step-by-step instructions, with projects ranging from Easy to Medium and Experienced levels. There are plenty of sheets of paper included and the book is really appealing with its excellent colour photos which will inspire creativity. What really makes this book stand out from others is the fact that each of the eight projects can be made up in all of the seven rainbow colours included - so you can have, for example a heart garland, a frog hop game and a crane mobile - all great ways of using those creations. A super book which will really encourage anyone, young or old, to try origami - or to refine their skills.

Origami Hearts

Scientist Academy by Steve Martin

There's lots of hands-on experience in this book 0 and that's the way to encourage children to engage with science. Children can learn the essential skills to start their own scientific journey with this fun and engaging title, which is perfect to support and extend KS2 science learning. The book is an engrossing mix of facts and practical activities, and full of great illustrations.Divided into six sections - Laboratory, Investigative, Space, Earth, and Life - it's easy to find topics that support specific learning. Or simply enjoy the book from the beginning. The practical projects are carefully designed to introduce skills of the sort required by real-life scientists. Just some of the projects - make a sundial, a weather vane and a map. There are stickers, both to mark progress and to complete challenges, as well as other puzzles to enjoy. A super book with so much packed in - it will keep children happy for hours.

Ophelia Pang's Interactive Art Book

Children often need a boost to their confidence when it comes to drawing and painting, and this is just the book to do that. It's an ingenious interactive art book that uses simple shapes to create stunning creative designs. Ophelia Pang is a Hong Kong-based illustrator who loves to talk with colour and shape - and colour and shape are the key elements of this book. From single colour pictures to sophisticated colour combinations to mark-making, and paper cut-outs to simple drawings, this book will inspire anyone with a creative mind' giving them ideas that will remain long after they have read and completed the book. Also included is a section of colour strips that can be used as a reference for colour combinations, or pulled out and cut up. It's fascinating to see what can be done with shapes and the ideas are really accessible to anyone, even those who think they have no artistic talent - you may be surprised!

Lift-the-flap and Colour African Animals by Alice Bowsher

These are the latest titles in the Natural History Museum's innovative colouring in series for young animal enthusiasts. With heavy lines to make colouring in easy, children can left the flaps to extend the picture and discover what lies beneath. The book shows animals in their natural habitat, from the flat grasslands of the African savannah. Learning is extended further by the rhyming text which describes each picture. How about developing your child's research skills and looking for pictures of the animals so they can use the correct colours (not that there's anything wrong with imaginative use of colour!) and find out more about the creatures and their habitat. Unusaul and very enjoyable.

Lift-the-flap and Colour Forest by Alice Bowsher

In Forest, children lift the flaps to reveal animals in their natural habitat, from the forest floor to the treetops, then colour the pictures. Then read the accompanying rhyming text to learn about their environment. As well as being excellent colouring books for younger children, who will find the thick lines make for easy colouring, these books also encourage an inquisitiveness about the natural world. The rhyming text gives some basic information, on which children can build with the help of adults.

My Beautiful Room: Create, Decorate and Style by Jasmine Orchard and Olivia Whitworth

If you are thinking of redecorating a child or teen's bedroom, then I really recommend you get this book to inspire you and them. Written by a designer-illustrator duo, the book really showcases their experience and allows you to share in professional tips. It's all here from the basics of learning about colour and texture to decorating furniture, using pattern and personal inspiration. The principles of design in the book will be applicable to may other areas of life too. The book guides you through basic interior design theory, and helps you apply your new-found skills with original drawing challenges and super fun activities, including devising mood boards and creating floor plans. You can create a model of your ideal bedroom on the model made from the flaps of the book, build furniture from the templates given and finally decorate the room with the enclosed stickers - they really have thought of everything. A great resource for home use and a book that will also link well with school studies of Design and Technology

Sophie la girafe Rainbow Colours: Play-and-learn Sticker Book from DK

Many toddlers will be familiar with Sophie la Girafe from baby teethers, so they will love to meet her again in this colourful early learning sticker book all about colour. There's colouring, puzzles, sorting and matching - and plenty of stickers. Little ones will enjoy sharing familiar activities with Sophie as she plays at home, has a picnic, goes out and about, paints in the art room, and more. There are colouring and counting activities and shapes to spot and identify. A helpful Note for Parents explains how to use the book to the best advantage. What I particularly like about these books is the good size and simple shapes (ie square, round etc) of the stickers. So often, books for pre-schoolers have fiddly little stickers that lead to endless frustration, so these are really well thought out.

Sophie la girafe Fun First Words: Play-and-learn Sticker Book from DK

Once again, pre-schoolers can join Sophie as she enjoys familiar activities, including going shopping, playing music, having lunch and much more. All the activities are themed around words and children can enjoy finding stickers, following trails, colouring and counting - and, of course, naming familiar objects. An ideal book to start pre-schoolers learning about and recognising words.

Maze Hop: Around the World by Anna Brett

This is fascinating - it had me engrossed! It's much more than simply a book of mazes as we join George and his dog Milly in a journey around the world and through time. Help George find a way around a half-page maze then flip the pages over to find where to go next by working out which page the maze connects to. The mazes lead you through a series of countries featuring cities, landmarks and habitats. As you travel, find fascinating facts about each location and look out for fabulous things to spot! Each maze is beautifully illustrated and there is an extra challenge on each one, to pass certain objects. A fascinating book that will offer hours of entertainment and still be useful as a reference book once the puzzles are complete.

Meet The Artist: Alberto Giacometti illustrated by Nick White

This book is packed with activities based on the work of an artist who may previously have been unfamiliar to children - it's good to see a less familiar artist featured. Children can create colourful landscapes, photocollages and draw portraits of friends and family, all based on Giacometti's art. This is one in the Meet the Artist series of activity books from Tate Publishing which introduces children to internationally renowned artists in a fun and engaging way. Every book includes a brief introduction to the artist s life followed by a series of drawing-based activities that explore prominent themes and ideas in the artist's work, supported by reproductions of their work. I love the way the book really encourages children to think about what they are depicting and to adopt ideas from great artists.

Lift-the-flap and Colour Ocean by Alice Bowsher

These are ideal colouring books for young children, with broad lines to keep the colouring in the right place. This series, published by Frances Lincoln, comes from the Natural History Museum. The flaps to lift are a novel touch for colouring books, and children will enjoy these, with all the extra colouring opportunities. The animals are shown in their natural habitats, from shallow waters to the sea bed, and brief rhyming text describes what is to be seen. It's a good way to encourage children to do some extra research after enjoying the colouring. There's plenty of scope for creative and imaginative colouring.

Lift-the-flap and Colour Jungle by Alice Bowsher

Children can create their own colourful habitats with this new series from the Natural History Museum. There are five scenes to colour plus flaps that lift to reveal animals in their natural habitat - and offer even more colouring. The scenes vary from the depths of the jungle to the tree canopy and the accompanying rhyming text teaches about the environment. It's clever too, because other creatures appear as the colouring is done - for example, there's a ladybird hidden with the sloths - a nice added touch and something for children to spot.

My Trains Activity and Sticker Book from Bloomsbury

Train journeys are very exciting for children, and now they can have even more fun with this colourful sticker book. From packing to go on a journey, to travelling to the station and all the experiences of a train journey including eating lunch, through to the arrival at the destination, children can experience all the fun. There are all sorts of activities to enjoy, and these will encourage thinking, problem solving and reasoning skills. There's a maze to navigate, things to spot, choices to be made... and over 350 stickers to decorate the various scenes. The perfect companion for a train journey.

Super Search Adventure on the Trail of the Whale by Camilla De la Bedoyere

I really like the way this book draws the reader in by encouraging young readers to be a part of the activities and story. Otto the octopus can't find his best friend Hula the humpback whale. The seahorse says she must have left clues so it's off on an undersea journey. Every page is packed with intriguing information, memorable animal characters, rhyming riddles and fun activities. It's really child-friendly in its approach, making it both fun and memorable.Richard Watson's beautiful, bright illustrations will keep children enthralled with inventive details to spot everywhere - there is so much to see and enjoy.

Super Search Adventure Where is the Bear? by Camilla De la Bedoyere

Suki the rabbit needs help from young readers of 5+. She's on a mission to deliver a present to a bear named Ping - but who is he, and where does he live? The book takes children on an engrossing interactive journey, during which they will learn lots about a wide variety of habitats. An additional special feature of these books is provided by the foldout cover flaps. On the front flap, children can tick off all the creatures they have spotted through the story - a great way to learn about the animals, and to encourage observation. On the back flap, children can chart their journey, helping them to learn where various places are in the world. An unusual and really effective series of books.


Drawing Cartoons Letter by Letter: Create Fun Characters from A to Z by Christopher Hart

Encourage children to start learning to draw with this simple to follow book which takes a fresh look at numbers and letters. Step by step, Hart's clever tutorials show how to turn an A into a clunky robot, a B into a buzzing bee, a C into a chomping dinosaur and so on. These inventive cartoon characters are really to draw with easy-to-follow completely visual instructions - so no need for children to be able to read to create their own super cartoons. The book provides an unusual way to engage children with letters and numbers and is a good way to learn alphabetical order and the shapes of numbers and letters. Every letter of the alphabet appears in both upper and lower case, as do numbers 0 to 9. The cartoons are simple to copy and produce excellent results, giving children confidence to further develop their own drawing skills. Published by Sixth & Spring Books, April 2017, ISBN 978-194202153.

LEGO® NEXO KNIGHTS Ultimate Factivity Collection from DK

DK's Factivity series is an excellent combination of fascinating facts coupled with engaging activities that really capture children's attention. This book features the young knights Clay, Lance, Axl, AAron and Macy, as they embark on epic quests to defeat their monstrous foes in the exciting, magical land of Knighton. Learn all about the characters and their powers through games, sticker activities and puzzles, in chapters headed Meet the Knights; Meet the Monsters; Power Up! and Save the Kingdom. The stickers allow children to peice together Jethro's monstrous new headquarters. NEXO KNIGHTS fans are going to love this and will feel so well informed by the end of the book. It's a great way to inspire the imagination and creativity, as all the activities can be done right on the pages of the book - and then children have their own personalised book to treasure. Of course, this is DK, so you are guaranteed a really well presented book with excellent graphics and really high quality photographic stickers.

Ultimate Factivity Collection Pirates from DK

Pirates have an enduring fascination for children and this book is guaranteed to feed that enthusiasm to great effect. With a whole mass of facts and varied activities, children will get to know the salty swashbucklers who once terrorised the oceans. Hours and hours of creative and imaginative fun for rainy days or holidays, this is a super book, full of variety. Readers will draw their own desert island, design fearsome flags, and discover gruesome pirate illnesses - creative activities and facts combine to perfection. Categories in the books include Read and Create; Draw and Learn; Fact Challenge; Test Your Knowledge and Stickers - a good mix of activities ensuring there is something of interest to everyone. There are over 500 lovely stickers, both photographic and drawings; a great variety to produce freally good results, bringing the pages alive and personalising them. Whether your child is already an enthusiast for the topic, or you are trying to interest them in a new subject, these books are brilliant.

Scratch and Draw Under the Sea by Susie Linn

This book really does deliver on the promised results - I found it really addictive as I scratched off the coating to reveal the wonderful colours underneath, which really are appropriate for the subject of under the sea. It's really simple to do with amazing results. But there is much more to the book - the fun is far from over when the pictures are revealed; this underwater animal-themed title includes step-by-step instructions to learn how to draw all kinds of amazing sea creatures including dolphins, whales, jellyfish, fish, an octopus and more. There is also an exciting marine-themed adventure story to complete, and a cool writing and drawing tool especially for using on the scratch and sketch pages. Plus there are instructions for making more scratch and draw cards so the art fun can go on and on. So much to encourage creativity and imagination packed into one neat spiral-bound book. It's unusual and very effective.

Search and Find Space by Joshua George

Perfect for children of age 5+ (or for younger ones to share with adults), they will be realy challenged to search and find over 1,000 out-of-this-world space things in this full colour activity book. There are all sorts of different scenes, each with a large colour picture plus illustrations around the edges to show what needs to be found. It's not as easy as it seems, as the objects are all differently sized, adding an extra level of challenge. From alien starships and rockets, to astronauts and creatures that live in galaxies far, far away, children must search the busy space scenes to find every hidden item. This is the sort of book that really encourages extending the ideas - as well as search and find, there are lots of opportunities to make up stories, extending the brief accounts which accompany each scene, and to extend knowledge, based on the detailed pictures and masses of small images.

Fuzzy Farm (Fuzzy Play Books) by Erin Ranson

This is a lovely update on the traditional Fuzzy Felt toy, with lots of different fuzzy felt scenes all themed around the farm. Children can create scenes and change them to their heart's content with the 28 fuzzy felt pieces included. From milking in the morning, through a rainy lunchtime and finishing up with a peaceful night's sleep, the story takes us through a busy day, meeting animals and finding about the work on the farm. For each picture, there are prompts that show children which pieces will complete each picture - and I am sure they will want to create their own scenes too! The pieces stick securely to the scenes, and can be stored back in the clear packet to keep them safe between playing.

Rainforest Masks: Ten 3D Rainforest Masks to Press Out and Make bt Gavin Rutherford

Pop out and play with these amazing rainforest creature masks which include a toucan, a jaguar, an iguana, a tamarin, a frog, a butterfly, a tapir, an otter and a macaw are waiting to be brought to life inside these pages – all they need is imaginative and creative children. The masks are really striking, very well illustrated and made from stiff card. There is also information about each creature. A brilliant book for classroom topics use, and as rainforests are such a popular school project, the book will be really well received. It's an excellent way to encourage children to act out scenarios using the masks, as well as producing a lovely display.

Star Wars Topps Classic Sticker Book from The Topps Company

The enduring popularity of the Star Wars brand is testament to the impact it has made on people since it exploded into theaters on May 25, 1977. That same year, Lucasfilm teamed with the Topps Company, Inc. to create the very first tie-in collectibles a series of trading cards and stickers that have since become iconic. Star Wars Topps Classic Sticker Book is the first sticker book to collect a selection of these iconic stickers many of which are reproduced in their original size making this the perfect nostalgic memento for fans of all ages to enjoy.

The Amazing Emoji Puzzle Book: Packed with Totally Awesome Emoji Puzzles and 200 Emoji Stickers from Carlton

Emojis are very popular so it's a great idea to base a whole puzzle book on them, to encourage children to enjoy the 80+ creative and educational puzzles. Puzzle fanatics and emoji lovers alike will enjoy tackling these brainteasers and using the emoji stickers to solve the problems (the stickers are also great to decorate their things with, too). The book contains a wide range of puzzles, including visual puzzles, missing-emoji games, logic problems, and more brain-busters.It's colourful and enticing, and these puzzles really help children develop problem-solving, concentration and thinking skills - and have fun at the same time.

Cool and Calm Colouring Kids Fairy Sticker book (Cool & Calm Colouring) by Eugénie Varone

A 24-page colouring book with 21 magical fairy scenes to complete, plus 190 colour-your-own stickers to add to the pages. The colour-your-own stickers are a great idea, giving children the opportunity to put their own interpretation onto stickers rather than always having ready-made ideas. The scenes include dreamy fairy mermaids, magical woodland creatures, pretty fairy patterns, and much more; girls will love them. Many of the pictures are richly detailed so adults may have a go too!

Cool and Calm Colouring Kids Dress Up (Cool & Calm Colouring) by Christine Alcouffe

Colouring is hugely popular and the relaxing benefits have become really well known - children and adults alike benefit and these pictures are perfect for young fashion lovers. There are 21 super-trendy scenes to colour and decorate with stickers, including chic Paris, the bright lights of New York, the classic style of London, a photoshoot on the beach, as well as fashions from the 1950s, the 1960s and the 1970s - all very nostalgic! The colour your own stickers are perfect to allow children to design their own outfits and embellish them just as they want.

i-SPY Nature: What can you spot? (Collins Michelin i-SPY Guides)

i-SPY books have an enduring popularity - I loved them, my children enjoyed them and now I am introducing my grandchildren to them. It's a clever formula that really engages children with the world around them, encouraging them to be observant and widening their knowledge. They are wonderful to keep children happily and purposefully occupied on journeys, on holiday, on day trips from home and even in the park or garden.  In i-SPY Nature, spotters can search for over 140 sights. Each object is accompanied by a good colour photo for identification, plus a summary of useful information. Each object is allocated a score, ranging from 5 for easy to spot items such as common nettle, to Top Spots which earn 30 points eg an otter. Once 1000 points are gained in the book, children can  for a certificate and badge. send This fun activity book encourages children to explore a range of outdoor environments, from down by the sea to town and country animals, in search of i-SPY points. A fun, interactive way to encourage curious children to learn about the world around them. The range of difficulty of finding the objects is nicely varied, and the 1000 points for a badge can be gained without finding everything - a good way to ensure children don't get despondent about near-impossible finds.

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i-SPY at the Zoo: What can you spot? (Collins Michelin i-SPY Guides)

The books are divided into colour-coded sections, which is useful for wandering around and spotting; they also include detailed indexes to help spotters. As well as zoo animals, the broad scope of this title includes insects and countryside animals - a good way to keep interest going when not at the zoo. Children love these fun and fascinating i-SPY activity books – with over 60 other i-SPY guides in the series, there is something for every interest. The selection I was sent, which you can view here, is ideal for the summer. You may also like the geographical ones which cover London, The Isle of Wight, the Cotswolds and many other places. A new introduction is the Holiday Sticker Book - blank outlines are part if colourful scenes, ready for the sticker when spotted. Children still score points and this book is ideal as an introduction for younger i-SPYers. I think i-SPY books are brilliant; they encourage observation, help learning and are great for cooperative working. They are excellent value too so I'd encourage you to stock up; great party bag gifts too.

2018 Annuals

Bing Annual 2018

Bing is a really popular character with young children, who enjoy his exploits as they share with him in their childhood experiences. And remember, when things go wrong - it's a Bing thing! He is a reassuring character with whom children readily identify. Now he can be with children through the year in this colourful, activity-packed annual full of stories, keepsake pages and varied puzzles and activities. This brand-new book based on the popular CBeebies show features a collection of keepsake pages throughout the book for recording memories, preferences and firsts as well as spaces to stick in photographs or draw your own pictures - a lovely way to personalise the book.

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