Asia Citro of Fun at Home with Kids has compiled a fantastic new book, and it couldn’t have come at a better time!
With one little kindergartener home from school with a cough, we were in that “too-sick-for-school but feeling-to-good-to-just-rest” spot. Even my five year old has his limits when it comes to how many episodes of Backyardigans he can take in one day. Luckily for us, Asia’s book, 150+ Screen-Free Activities for Kids (*affiliate link) was sitting on our kitchen counter.
A quick flip through the book, and I had a new, hands-on activity for my convalescence-weary patient. One of the things that I love about this book is that the most of the activities require little more than a trip to your own pantry or cupboard. In fact, as we’re still in a temporary situation while we build, I would hardly say that my pantry is well-stocked. Yet, with a few ordinary ingredients, we pulled together an extraordinary amount of fun.
In addition to the simplicity of the supply lists, one of the great strengths of Asia’s activities is their flexibility. Asia encourages incorporating loose parts and fully supporting true play and exploration. So when I showed my son the directions for the Magic Foaming Dough and he asked if he could add some Lego guys, my immediate answer was “YES!”
(I also had him help me mix up this simple dough, both because he wanted to and because I recently overheard two young men in their twenties saying, “You only need two teaspoons of it — or two tablespoons — whichever one is bigger,” and thought to myself, “HOW does THAT happen?” Thankfully, he used both the teaspoon and the tablespoon quite well, and totally knew the difference.)
With Magic Foaming Dough in hand, he began burying the figures in their gooey traps and then rescuing them as he dissolved the dough in a gloriously fizzy blaze of glory.
He worked his little finger muscles and narrated a full and detailed story as he played, all while taking in science concepts like cause and effect, reactions, and dissolving, and of course, the all-important lesson on teaspoons and tablespoons.
Not bad for a sick day.
This book has so much to offer! Here’s a little taste in this video:
And for a more in-depth sample of Asia Citro’s style, check out some of my favorite posts at her site, Fun at Home with Kids:
Since my kids have gone through the book a few times, it looks like we need to try out the Fizzing Foaming Car Wash, Hatching Egg Bath Bombs, and the Funnels and Tubes Window Set. I’m also thinking someone may end up getting a Blacklight* for Christmas because there are several glow in the dark options that have even my 10 year old ooohing and aaahing. (*affiliate link)
Asia has strong background as an educator, so these activities are much more than pretty photo ops (though the photos in this book are fantastic!). It’s clear that this play has a purpose. Each section begins with a short introduction that outlines many of the developmental benefits that the activities in that grouping offer for children. The appendix is a gold mine in and of itself, explaining the science behind many of the activities in the book as well as the various ingredients. Plus, there are loads of tips and tricks that will help with your activities. For example, love the reaction of baking soda + vinegar? Asia has several work arounds that will leave you asking, “Why didn’t I think of that?”
Asia and her blog — and now her book — are go-to resources for me, particularly when it comes to small world play and sensory play. I think she does an amazing job of striking that balance between novel and visually appealing but totally hands-on, age-appropriate, and simple.
I love that she not only has an immense collection of activity ideas, but she’s also very thorough in breaking down the process. Ever wonder why your batch of slime didn’t turn out? She doesn’t just throw down a recipe, but gives troubleshooting tips to get yours just right.
Perfect for parents and teachers — and anyone else who might want to pull together some simple, silly, screen-free, sensory fun! ( I can only imagine what a treasure this would be in a preschool facility’s library!)
If you know someone who could get miles and miles out of this book, consider wrapping it up with a few of the basic ingredients for some of the activities, like Asia suggests here. It’s one of my favorite gift ideas: Book Plus! In fact, I’ll be sharing my expanded Book Plus ideas in a post next week for those of you who are ready to start planning out your holiday gift-giving, and this book will be a familiar sight!
You can pick up a copy of Asia Citro’s book, 150+ Screen-Free Activities for Kids (*affiliate link) at Amazon or your favorite local bookseller.