Family Friendly Books {Day 1 Giveaway}

by kath_red on 06/06/2011

in Books, Kids Crafts

I am very excited to bring you a week of special giveaways and reviews of books that are perfect for parents and kids wanting to get active, healthy and creative. Thank you to these special publishers who have donated books for the giveaways: Chronicle Books, Klutz, Shambhala Publications and Lark Crafts.

Each day over the next week I will showcasing some very cool books, activities, tutorials and products that will enhance your families creativity, give you some new ideas and ways to get creative, explore the outdoors, learn about science and cooking – all with a family friendly twist.

All in celebration of the upcoming release (tomorrow) of Issue 4 of the Action Pack: a Mega-mag for kids who want do stuff. You can sign up now for our newsletter, grab some freebies, check out some sneak peeks and purchase past issues that never go out of date – all at our new website.

There is one copy of each of these books to give away – so four lucky readers have a chance to get one of these books. To win a copy of one of these books please leave a comment below telling us what you would like to see in future Action Packs (even if you haven’t bought one yet) or if you have bought an Action Pack – what you like best about them and what could be improved. Each day’s competition will be open for 48 hours.

Each day’s competition will be open for 48 hours. And the winner will be contacted via email.

Winners will be contacted via email.

Today’s giveaways are:

Heroes of the Environment: True Stories of People Who Are Helping to Protect Our Planet. By Harriet Rohmer. Published by Chronicle books (August 2009).

Showcasing 12 examples of how regular people (many of them children and teenagers) are making a difference by creating change in their communities and for their environments throughout North America (from Alaska to Mexico). As well as these inspiring stories there is also a chapter on you can get involved and make change in your local community. It has a lovely kid friendly style with beautifully done illustrations too.

The Creative Family: How to Encourage Imagination and Nurture Family Connections. By Amanda Blake Soule. Published by Shambhala (Trumpeter 2008).

I interviewed Amanda about her book back here in 2008, since then she has gone on to publish two more books the most recent of which is due to be released later this year. This is a lovely inspiring book, reminiscent of her blog, full of creative ideas and projects as well as how to live in a meaningful and authentic way with children.

Rubber Band Powered Flying Machines. Published by Klutz. (June 2010).

All you need to make three rubber band powered airplanes. Everything is included in the kit, all materials and instructions. The planes are relatively light weight and not meant for rough play – for ages 8 and up. Seriously good fun.

Kirigami Menagerie: 38 Paper Animals to Copy, Cut & Fold. By Hiroshi Hayakawa. Published by Lark (2009).

Kirigami is a bit like origami – except it includes cutting the paper as well as folding. Kirigami Menagerie is not a small child’s craft book – it is more suited to more older children (and adults) who have a good grasp on using an exacto knife. Read a little more about the author and download a free project template from the book here. You can download patterns from the book here instead of tracing or photocopying them from the book (you will need the instructions from the book to make sense of these patterns).

Disclaimer: Amazon links are affiliate links.


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For more kids craft, creative ideas and activities go to the Action Pack website


1 Katherine stock June 6, 2011 at 6:30 am

I have so enjoyed the action packs as have the kids. what I have liked are the way the projects are outlined and the clear photos. There are plenty of parts that the kids can do and everyone enjoys the finished product. The best thing about the projects are that they have a purpose and don’t just add to the useless craft that can come with kids art. I would like to see a board game, homemade paint, slimy gooey messy play, baking and piñata. Love it, I look forward to the next issue

2 kath_red June 6, 2011 at 8:23 pm

Hi katherine – we have some wild paints in the upcoming issue 4 – lots of messy fun to be had there.

3 erinmalia June 6, 2011 at 6:55 am

Oooh, I love anything to do with water (you know, ocean, lakes, whatever), even if we don’t live that close.

4 Thouraya Battye June 6, 2011 at 7:01 am

More amazing little sewing projects like the treasure pockets…I love them!

5 melissa p. June 6, 2011 at 7:13 am

we love anything that gets my 8 year old doing great stuff on her own. this mag is So great for that!

6 Leah June 6, 2011 at 7:13 am

How about a board games action pack? I haven’t yet bought an Action Pack, but am planning to tomorrow.

7 Melissa W June 6, 2011 at 8:37 am

I have bought all of the Action Packs so far (and looking forward to the Outdoors one!) and what I love about them is that they celebrate being a kid without being cutesy or childish. Plus I’ve been able to easily modify the activities to suit my younger child as well (so he can be involved like his big sister.)
I was wondering if an ‘Up in the Air’ theme could be explored in a future pack? Look at different ways things can take flight, how birds fly, creating things that measure the wind speed etc.

8 kath_red June 6, 2011 at 8:23 pm

Flight seems a popular choice – lots of people have mentioned birds and planes (and rockets) – we will be exploring this more in future packs!

9 Cyndy June 6, 2011 at 8:37 am

How about an animal related theme? Could be big like endangered species, jungle animals, farm animals or zoo, or could be more singularly focused on dogs or cats?

10 Gloria June 6, 2011 at 8:52 am

I’d like to enter for a chance to win:
The Creative Family: How to Encourage Imagination and Nurture Family Connections

Action Packs: An Adventure Action Pack. Maybe something for treasure hunting or an outdoorsy explorer.

11 Sarita June 6, 2011 at 8:59 am

I’d like to see small sewing projects.

12 Zarina June 6, 2011 at 10:41 am

I want complete variety for the kids to explore – from baking, cooking, gardening, sewing, and everything in between.

13 amy webster June 6, 2011 at 11:21 am

i would love to see a few activities focused on the ‘urban jungle’ ie/ things you can do when you’re stuck in the city! games to invent on public transit, ways to appreciate all those ugly sky scrapers ( architecture scavenger hunt?) and maybe something to do with diversity and culture aswell. city stuff!

14 kath_red June 6, 2011 at 8:22 pm

Hi Amy – great idea – will have to research more – but this is an important one for folks without ready access to the woods.

15 sangeetha June 6, 2011 at 11:28 am

Would love a broad variety either in one pack or spread across multiple packs for girls AND BOYS. As much as I have stereotyping, would love some BOY specific stereotype activities built in.

ooh and maybe something on crafts from around the world??

16 kath_red June 6, 2011 at 8:21 pm

Hi Sangeetha – Issue 1 and issue 4 (available tomorrow) are probably more geared towards boys – our 8 year old boy is a big inspiration for us – thats him on the cover of those issues.

17 Daydream Kate June 6, 2011 at 11:37 am

I would like to see something called “mud magic”. When I was a kid, I would mold mud into little bowls and sculptures and put them inside cinderblock “ovens”. The hot summer sun would bake them dry, and I would have something fun to play with after lunch. I think there is a lot to be done with mud. :)

18 kath_red June 6, 2011 at 8:19 pm

Hi Kate – Yay – we have been discussing mud at length and will doing something on mud later in the year!

19 Kelli June 6, 2011 at 11:40 am

An issue about books. Things to do with books. Cooking related to books. Making books, unmaking books.

20 Laura June 6, 2011 at 11:47 am

In the future it would be great if there was a section for younger kids or just a special issue for the toddler set; I haven’t bought an Action Pack yet because it seems like they’re geared more for older kids (my oldest is only 2 1/2). Our favorites right now are things based on books, gardening, and cooking!

21 jessica June 6, 2011 at 11:56 am

I would love to see more cooking crafts!

22 Jennifer Can Quilt June 6, 2011 at 12:09 pm

I don’t have a family, but Heroes of the Environment and Kiragami Menagerie would be excellent additions to my classroom library!

I would love to see a future Action Pack on book making– we do a lot of mini books in my class to use as learning tools, but it would be great to get a bit more in-depth and make them for pleasure, too. After all, reading the Action Pack and learning to how make a book would be an excellent learning task for my students!

23 kath_red June 6, 2011 at 8:18 pm

Hi Jennifer – handmade books is already on our list – so look out for that one later in the year!

24 betsy June 6, 2011 at 12:21 pm

Rubber Band flying machines because I know how much my kids love to play with planes.

25 Cynthia Clancy June 6, 2011 at 12:26 pm

Oh I just learned about the action packs. I definitely have to look into getting them for my kiddos. They love to tinker at their tables and make stuff as much as they like to explore outside. Mine are still relatively young, so anything that guides them on how to do things or what to look out for outside is always appreciated.

26 Lindsey June 6, 2011 at 12:32 pm

Maybe an Action Pack with garden bugs. Good vs. bad. How to cultivate the good that eat the bad.

27 Wehaf June 6, 2011 at 12:38 pm

I would love to see more chemistry projects and experiments.

28 Kylie C June 6, 2011 at 12:48 pm

I’m looking forward to the outdoors one but would love one focusing on Plants- maybe some sprouting, projects with leaves or flowers, edible flower recipes… Thank you for the giveaway.

29 kath_red June 6, 2011 at 8:17 pm

Hi Kylie – will be definitely doing more with plants and gardening – in the meantime you might like to get started with Issue 2.

30 Bellen June 6, 2011 at 1:59 pm

Would like to see series – starting with broad overview like birds, then being more focused on seabirds, forest, etc to see what adaptations have been made. Would probably have to be age (of child) related too – 8-10, 10-12, etc.

Love the Rubber Band Flying Machines – fun for all ages whether making, flying or chasing them.

31 Wren June 6, 2011 at 2:08 pm

How about an action pack that is focused on camping? Can’t ever have too much to do while camping!

32 kath_red June 6, 2011 at 8:16 pm

Oh you need issue 4 – lots of camping stuff in there. xx

33 jessyz June 6, 2011 at 2:36 pm

I wish you had a version for mini kids, my daughter is only 3 but loves making stuff and I felt that the magazine was for older kids.

34 kath_red June 6, 2011 at 8:16 pm

We are considering a special edition for little ones – although there is so much on the web for preschoolers already. Thanks for your support. xx

35 Wendy June 6, 2011 at 3:36 pm

I’m always looking for crafts for recycling/upcycling. Also, composting/vermi-composting, to gardening, to recipes utilizing the bounty.

36 Hilary June 6, 2011 at 4:02 pm

Cooking, recycling…and things that fly! Also, crafty projects that appeal to boys. (Please enter me for all of the books except Amanda Soule’s – we already have that one!)

37 kath_red June 6, 2011 at 8:15 pm

Hi Hilary – we are definitely including lots of boys activities – with one very active and outdoorsy 8 year old son we need to! Love all the flying ideas – that is going on our list.

38 Sara R. June 6, 2011 at 4:03 pm

Kitchen chemistry!

Also, I thoroughly enjoyed the first one. Thank you! My boys are still very young, but it’s nice to gather ideas for the future…and many are easily tailored to littler hands.

39 Julie June 6, 2011 at 5:25 pm

How about some “dangerous” things like building campfires, making rockets, and whittling with knives?

40 kath_red June 6, 2011 at 8:14 pm

Hi Julie, I like where you are going with this – Rockets is on our list already for future Action Packs – and we have campfires in Issue 4.

41 Meremade June 6, 2011 at 7:22 pm

I haven’t bought the action packs yet, but I’d love to see some kid-friendly gardening activities! I also second the camping idea!! Maybe even a sort of “camping in your backyard” theme?

42 kath_red June 6, 2011 at 8:13 pm

Hi Meremade – you need issue 2 of the Action Pack – that one is full of kids gardening projects. And the current issue has lots of camping projects inside too!

43 Hilary June 6, 2011 at 7:34 pm

Making paper and items from paper – eg aeroplanes, cards etc…

44 Kate June 6, 2011 at 7:37 pm

My son and I LOVED the beeswax boats. He still wants to make more and float them all the time. We nearly have enough for an armada! An issue on activities/crafts about light and sunshine would be fun: pinhole cameras, shadow clocks, tissue paper stained glass etc.

45 Julie June 6, 2011 at 8:44 pm

More sewing projects!

46 Meredith June 6, 2011 at 9:03 pm

Oh, pick me! I’d love any of those books. My students and I would sure get good mileage out of them!

47 Maggie June 6, 2011 at 9:20 pm

maybe a how to clean tidbit. Like… once you’ve made your camp scones, the best way to clean and store the camp oven is to…
or, if you get a grass stain on the knees of your favourite exploring pants, don’t worry just….
something relevent to the theme of the month that might help mum with the clean up :) or housework in general ;)

48 jennifer c June 6, 2011 at 9:55 pm

somehow i only just found out about action packs. i am so excited for the outdoor edition – camping and hiking are favorite activities. my oldest son (4) is really into science – rocks and fossils, volcanoes, waves and oceans, light and rainbows, seeds and plants, pollination, life and death cycles, id’s of all kinds (trees, berries, mushrooms, birds, rocks, shells). i am trying to mix that with art – drawing, collecting, color sorting, etc.

and thanks for the giveaway!

49 mireya June 6, 2011 at 10:52 pm

more sewing and cooking crafts would be sweet ! all though i do not have actual kids of my own, my students would really enjoy it.

50 Autumn June 7, 2011 at 12:00 am

I’d love an action pack for younger kids.

51 Bookaholic June 7, 2011 at 12:35 am

Too fun (the giveaway books, and a new Action Pack — the kids love the first three.) :)

52 Sylvia June 7, 2011 at 2:26 am

i haven’t got an action pack yet, just had a look at them and they look great. we live in the city, so it would be great if some activities focused on kids growing up in urban surroundings. also, my kid is very young (19 months) so maybe alternative activities to keep toddlers occupied while their siblings work on something would be awesome!!

53 Sonja June 7, 2011 at 3:22 am

I´d love an Action Pack with experiments! We made a science/experiment-inspired birthday party this year and the kids loved it!!

54 Tove June 7, 2011 at 3:32 am

I would love anything that has to do with art and exploring colours, shapes, materials,
and/or anything that might keep your small ones busy during long trips (by car, plane, train).

Thanks for a lovely website!!!

55 Amanda June 7, 2011 at 5:34 am

I haven’t grabbed an action pack yet… my eldest just turned 4 and I thought they were for older kids. After talking with friends about WhipUp today (some of whom have already posted here!) I am keen to get one and see what fun we can have. So I don’t have any suggestions as yet but I love that they are advertising free :-)

56 Jen June 7, 2011 at 7:16 am

I would love to see (safe) dangerous activites to do with kids (see

We are about to set off on a road trip across Europe with our kids, thish months Action Pack is just what we need. Thank you.

57 Shalae Tippetts June 7, 2011 at 8:16 am

I always love little sewing projects that are easy enough for my 7 and 6 year old to do, and anything that gets them outside and more active.

58 ~Heather June 7, 2011 at 8:50 am

I was going to say learning to tie knots, but you’ve got that!
Campfire safety? Pocket knife safety?

59 Alison June 7, 2011 at 10:06 am

I would love to see a special edition for younger kids. At this point, some of the ideas are a little to mature for my 3 year old. But I bet there could be some great things to do that could cater to both the young and old–especially things in the outdoors. Right now we are really interested in the “wind” and weather.

60 Kristy - Hopeful Threads June 7, 2011 at 11:23 am

Would love to win any one of these great books, but especially like the creative family! I’d love to see more sewing with kids book ideas and my children all love being in the kitchen too, so fun and simple recipes to make with them are always great!

Thanks for the giveaway!

61 Jen B June 7, 2011 at 11:34 am

I’d like to see some activities for younger kids, maybe a special issue for the 3 to 6 set?

62 Chrissie N June 7, 2011 at 12:01 pm

I’d also love to see a special issue for the younger 3-6 yo set. Even though she’s young, my daughter enjoys attending arts and crafts classes, nature programs and music classes (project idea: make your own instruments?) She’s fascinated by nature and flight…. even with helping me cook and bake. I’d love to have more simple ideas for doing at home projects with her!

63 Terri June 7, 2011 at 2:26 pm

Sewing projects would be fun. : )

64 Mary Beth June 7, 2011 at 4:00 pm

I’d like to see lots of simple projects – not a lot of prep work required, easy to “whip up” when the mood strikes.

65 Jen June 8, 2011 at 12:39 am

I haven’t bought an action pack but I love the idea of them!

66 Kat B June 8, 2011 at 9:50 am

My daughter is still a little young but it hasn’t stopped me buying them as they are great inspiration. We do have friends with older children so it’s nice to have something they can do instead of trying to play with the baby toys :)

67 Marci June 8, 2011 at 11:32 am

Book reviews.

68 RachelM June 8, 2011 at 2:27 pm

I think the Action Packs look great, I’m not really sure what would make them better, maybe a younger age range. Both my sons are under 4 at the moment, but I’m looking forward to buying them in the future!

69 Lori June 9, 2011 at 12:48 am

I’d love to see some toddler activities. I’m at the beginning of starting my family and plan to have a little one under four around for the next decade.

70 Kristin June 9, 2011 at 12:10 pm

I’d love to see a woodworking one….my boys would be thrilled!

71 Heather June 10, 2011 at 12:56 pm

So many good ideas already. We would love anything on building things, rocketry, families and woodworking.

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