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Kid-Tested, Parent-Approved: Calm, Cool and Creative

After the dust settles from the hectic activities at the end of the school year, take some time to enjoy calmer days with your kids as summer has officially begun. This month, we offer cool books that will boost the resourcefulness and creativity of your kids as well as encourage them to earn some summer spending money.

Each rating is determined by: feedback from kids and parents, price, durability and age appropriateness.
♥♥♥♥♥ A Must Have! We Loved It! l ♥♥♥♥ Great Product. We Enjoyed It. l ♥♥♥ Good. Something to Consider. l ♥♥ OK. Could have been better. l ♥ Overall, Not very impressed.

The Cutest Nature Book Ever!
(American Girl, 2010)
Price: $9.95
Ages: 8 and up

Readers of this recent American Girl publication will find a blend of indoor and outdoor crafts and activities throughout the book. With adorable crafts such as rock insects and creating creepy crawlers using your own child’s fingerprints, this workbook will keep your daughter busy for hours. “My daughter is a Girl Scout and loves being outside,” said one parent reviewer. “This book is right up her alley with the perfect mixture of art and nature. I appreciated that most of the craft supplies can be found and gathered around the house and in our own yard - eliminating a trip to the store for special supplies.”

Papertoy Monsters
by Brian Castleforte
(Workman, 2011)
Price: $16.96
Ages: 9 and up

Grab some glue and get creative! These papertoys incorporate origami and monsters into one. Our reviewer, with 10-year-old son, compared this book to projects he has done in the past. “It’s a lot like origami, but easier. My son really enjoyed the process of making each character.” The workbook is packed with 50 colorful papertoy monsters. Each monster comes with a description of what it is and how it came to be. The easy-to-fold paper and pre-scored templates combined with clear instructions enable kids the freedom to work on their own projects with little or no guidance. One hint the reviewer offered, “At first, I used regular glue and it took too long to dry. A glue stick works better.” The book has 10 blank templates for your kids to draw, paint and color their own monster creations. Creators are also encouraged to dream up their own story of how their creature creation came to be. ♥♥♥♥

Pretty Penny Sets up Shop
by Devon Kinch
(Random House, 2011)
Price: $16.99
Ages: 4 – 8

Summer is prime time for garage sales and lemonade stands. Last weekend, we had a garage sale and let our kids earn money from the items they put in the sale. They also set up a lemonade stand during the garage sale and made even more money from our thirsty customers. Our parent reviewer, “…liked the story’s teachable message of finding a way to earn money instead of always asking for some. It’s never too early to teach your kids the importance of money.”
In the story, 6-year-old Penny comes up with a way to earn money for a party she wants to throw for her Grandma Bunny. Her big idea is organizing a tag sale with all the things that are stored up in her Grandma’s attic. With a little help from her pet pig, Iggy, she sets up “Small Mall” where she organizes, prices, advertises and sells her items. Visit the website above for printable resources for your own Small Mall project including tags, receipts, and signs. The story is cute, but our recommendation is to skip purchasing the book and visit the website to view the video of Pretty Penny cleverly showing other unique and interesting ways to earn money. ♥♥

Lilypads Custom Notecards
Lee Clack & Kelly Wilhelm,
Local Owners
Price: Beginning at $12 for a set of 8
On Facebook – “LilyPads”

The personalization of products is something that will never go out of style. Local company, Lilypads, offers personalized stationery and custom invitations. With so many options to choose from, you are sure to find the perfect product for you or your special little one. These high-quality cards can be embellished with a variety of graphics, colors, fonts, initials or by adding your name. One Lilypads customer and expectant mother received a set of cards as a shower gift. “I loved them! she said. “They were the best shower gift; so creative and from the heart.” On Facebook or call 918.810.0116 to order. ♥♥♥♥♥

If you have any comments, questions or something that you would like to see reviewed, email Nancy at jandnmoore@cox.net.

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