I have so many wonderful childhood memories of visiting my grandparents and spending summer days watching them and learning their tricks. They grew up in a vastly different time, when TVs and computers did not exist and as children they learned to love nature and its marvels and cherish time together as a family. They made sure to engage their grandchildren in similar experiences. When we visited them we did not sit in front of the TV but instead participated in life-enriching activities, played games and lived in tune with nature.
"When you're sharing nature with a child, you'll find that even a short walk through your backyard will yield a crop of fresh discoveries and questions. Start a tradition of asking, "I wonder what's going on outdoors today?" - Toad Cottages & Shooting Stars by Sharon LovejoyNot all grandparents (or parents) live on a farm, but that doesn't mean that they can't also inspire and create a fun-filled environment for children to explore. Sharon Lovejoy's newest book, Toad Cottages and Shooting Stars: Grandma's Bag of Tricks is a treasure trove of wonderful ideas, crafts, cooking and gardening activities and the perfect resource to use with young children. The whimsical and beautifully illustrated book is divided into several interesting sections:
- The Neighborhood Naturalist (includes a mudpie recipe for attracting butterflies and instructions to make a moon phase flip book)
- Kids in the Kitchen (yummy recipes like Summer Berry Soup and how to make a solar oven)
- Kitchen Garbage Garden (setting up peek-a-boo plants and growing a citrus tree)
- Kids in the Garden (tips on container gardening, herbs, engraving pumpkins and planting a bale garden)
- Preparing Camp Granny (inspiring imaginative play and building child friendly places with fairy houses, faerie mailboxes, book baskets and more)
- Rainy Day Activities (crafting ideas like rain sticks, toad cottages and making a worm hotel)
I'm always on the lookout for books with fun activities, and I highly recommend this one. Parents and others involved in bringing up a child -- do not discount this book! While the book is geared toward grandmothers, the ideas and eco-friendly projects presented by Lovejoy aren't just for grandparents. I accidentally left my copy at the dentist office and the staff members enjoyed browsing through the imaginative book and thought it was simply delightful. In addition to all the fun activities, Lovejoy has sprinkled inspiring quotes and sidebar tips throughout the book. All the photos and illustrations really motivate - I've been pouring over the pages now for a week and can't wait to try out all the activities for all seasons with my kids. We already tried the leaf rubbing craft. Grandma will need to fight me if she wants to pry this book out of my hands!
Toad Cottages and Shooting Stars: Grandma's Bag of Tricks by Sharon Lovejoy. Workman Publishers (February 2010); ISBN 9780761150435; 205 pages (Book Source: Review copy provided by publisher)
Sharon Lovejoy - Author Website
Sharon Lovejoy - Blog
Browse Toad Cottages and Shooting Stars
Sharon Lovejoy is an award-winning author/illustrator and gardening expert and has written several well-received books including Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots: Gardening Together with Children and Trowel and Error: Over 700 Tips, Remedies and Shortcuts for the Gardener. She is currently on tour and has recently joined together with Lands' End in promoting their "Way to Grow: Plant a Seed, Make a Difference" initiative. Next weekend, on May 8th she will be in Madison, Wisconsin. Kids can decorate pots, plant sunflowers, learn about the wonder of worms through hands-on exploration and meet Sharon Lovejoy. (She's also signing books). Here are more event details:
Saturday, May 8
11 a.m. until 3 p.m.
Lands’ End Shop at Sears in West Towne Mall
53 West Towne Mall
For a schedule of Sharon Lovejoy's 2010 Book Tour and check to see when she'll visit a location near you, view the following pdf: http://www.sharonlovejoy.com/2010tour.pdf
Lands' End and Workman Publishers has graciously offered to giveaway a copy of Toad Cottages and Shooting Stars to a Brimful Curiosities reader.
To enter, leave a comment relevant to this post or tell me your favorite gardening or nature activity for kids.
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Lands' End together with Workman Publishers provided me with a copy of Lovejoy's book and sent me a gift card to thank me for helping promote the Way to Grow initiative. I am an Amazon affiliate and may receive a very small commission for products purchased through my Amazon links. (View my full disclosure statement for more information about my reviews.)