Family Friendly Books {Day 3 giveaway}

by kath_red on 08/06/2011

in Books

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 BooksKlutzShambhala 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 family’s creativity time, 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 Issue 4 of the Action Pack: a Mega-mag for kids who want do stuff – available now in our shop. You can also sign up for our newsletter, grab some freebies, and purchase past issues that never go out of date – all at our new website.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 your favourite ‘messy’ weekend family activity.

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:

Stupid Sock Creatures Book & Kit. Lark Books (October 28, 2006).

All you need to make one of these stupid, wacky, crazy and irresistibly fun sock creatures is inside this kit. The best thing about these monsters are 1. They are made from socks (perfect for using up lost and lonely socks) and 2. the patterns are super easy with no measuring needed (perfect for kids), 3. the instructions are easy to follow with lots of tips and tricks and 4. the end result is some very cute and silly and ‘stupid’ characters!

A while back I reviewed John Murphy’s second book “Closet Monsters”, where he makes monsters from recycled clothing – fun book too!

Handy Dad: 25 Awesome Projects for Dads and Kids. By Todd Davis. Chronicle Books (April 28, 2010).

This book is for dads – backyard DIY projects that handy and not so handy dads can make (mostly for but sometimes) with their kids. The projects range from super easy 1-hour projects like a paper plane to more adventurous day projects – like a rocket – to some trickier weekend (or 2 or 3) projects – like a treehouse – and lots in between. Really the projects are about men rediscovering their creativity, their shed and their tools and getting into fatherhood – enjoying their children – and having a darn good time!

Good Growing Kit. Klutz.

This seed growing kit will get your kids started on a lifelong journey of loving the garden. This kit includes a how-to book, garden seeds and a super sprouting tray for year round gardening. Like all Klutz kits this one is well written, laid out and explained in kid friendly language and with clear diagrams – plus the super fun bonus of all the materials you need to get started!

I Love Dirt!: 52 Activities to Help You and Your Kids Discover the Wonders of Nature. By Jennifer Ward. Trumpeter (May 13, 2008).

An activity guide, (with 52 ideas for kids ages 3-8 – an idea for each week of the year) to explore nature. From puddles, leaves, cold air and warm rain, clover and bird song and wiggly worms –  the projects are very open ended, with explanations where required. This is not a project based book – more of a gentle guiding hand to help both parents and children discover what is good about getting outside – in all seasons.

Disclaimer: Amazon links are affiliate links.
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1 Rhian June 8, 2011 at 6:47 am

I love dyeing yarn with my toddler – we make up some Kool Aid in various colours, then start painting it on to skeins of yarn. He has a great time and loves pointing to the yarn as it’s drying, saying “I painted that!”

2 ericaceae June 8, 2011 at 7:14 am

We dig in the dirt! The kids love to help in the garden, so we give them their own tools and let them get dirty.

3 kv barn June 8, 2011 at 7:34 am

my older son loves to garden with me – he loves to water(…..everything, not just plants!) and and look for worms, snails, slugs, frogs and even snakes – yikes :)!

4 Catherine June 8, 2011 at 7:46 am

Now that summertime is in full swing, our favorite messy weekend activity is pulling out the house and watering the plants {er….playing in the mud is a bit more accurate!}.

Thanks for the chance!

5 Kristina June 8, 2011 at 7:47 am

We like to cook. We make huge messes, but make lots of good things to eat and have a lot of fun together.

6 Leah June 8, 2011 at 8:07 am

Making breakfast – pancakes are usually involved, and they’re usually coloured, and then we have bubbly fun cleaning up the kitchen!

7 kath_red June 9, 2011 at 3:01 am

I love cooking as a messy activity – and cleaning up too – great idea to make that a fun activity!

8 Tove June 8, 2011 at 8:14 am

Painting! My kids love it, but it’s always soooo messy. Somehow they are not satisfied unless they paint themselves (and sometimes other things) after they’re done with the paper.
Of course playing with water is another favourite activity that always ends up in a great mess…


9 Shalae Tippetts June 8, 2011 at 8:24 am

Playing at a beach in the mud, sand and water is probably a top favorite, and if we can’t get to the beach the sandbox in the back yard works well.

10 C June 8, 2011 at 8:53 am

Picking berries, stains , thorns and all…the berries taste so good! Usually warm from the sun…and the stains are reminders of a good time…I also like that there will be a certain berry-picking outfit that feels just right!

11 Dianna @ Sincerely Me June 8, 2011 at 8:55 am

We definitely enjoy planting flowers and gardening.

12 Sarita June 8, 2011 at 9:03 am

Gardening, hands down, is the favorite messy activity here any day of the week!

13 sangeetha June 8, 2011 at 9:05 am

gardening, playing in the sand box building tunnels and castles and of course painting which always is messy in my house :)

14 Catherine June 8, 2011 at 9:06 am

finger painting is our favorite messy weekend activity

15 Ani June 8, 2011 at 9:08 am

We do a lot of camping, hiking, playing in the dirt, cooking. Weekends pretty much serve as an outlet for mess.

16 ~Heather June 8, 2011 at 9:12 am

That Handy Dad book looks so resourceful!
Making stew would be high on the messy list: dust, pieces of brick, water, an old broom handle and any other ‘bits’ that are discovered all give this stew a unique flavor.

17 Veramama June 8, 2011 at 9:20 am

My kids love to make “potions”… herbs and flowers from the yard, water from the rain barrel, pine needles, compost, mud… just about everything has been put in combination… some are even edible (but most aren’t!). A favorite of mine is the “spicy antidote”: lemon balm and mint leaves bundled and tied into a neat little package with a long chive stem.

18 kath_red June 9, 2011 at 3:02 am

My kids love potions too – they call them concoctions! make some sun tea – they love it.

19 Mandy @ Living Peacefully with Children June 8, 2011 at 9:22 am

Weekends are packed full of messiness, with daddy home from work. From cooking as a family, working outside, and ending the evenings hanging out in the backyard by the fire pit, kids digging down in the dirt at the back of the yard, playing, and more. Weekend days end with everyone piling into the shower to get cleaned up before snuggling up for a family chapter book before bed.

20 Brandy C June 8, 2011 at 9:41 am

My boys both love painting. Canvas gets expensive and we run out of room anyway, so we tear down cardboard boxes and let them paint on those.

21 JaM June 8, 2011 at 9:43 am

So many messy activities here! Gardening and cooking projects are high on the list, and also just hopping on the bike and going out exploring — if, at the end of the day, everyone’s caked in sunscreen, dirt and mud, then it was a good day!

22 Kat B June 8, 2011 at 9:44 am

My two-year old loves finger (hands, arms, feet…) painting whilst I try to stay calm – it is very messy indeed! Oh, and jumping in muddy puddles with Daddy.

23 Jennifer B June 8, 2011 at 9:53 am

Cooking is the mess here, though we just tie died T-shirts with a kit bought at a craft store, and the mess factor on that one was pretty high. The results were fantastic however!

24 Amy June 8, 2011 at 10:07 am

Our favourite messy weekend activity is to either get all the craft supplies out and have a big, inspired, messy craft fest, or to go mud bogging down by the river!

25 Chelsea H June 8, 2011 at 10:42 am

I love all these great ideas about playing outside. We love the outside. My toddler loves to help in the garden. We love to find bugs and play with water, especially if it makes mud.

26 Marci June 8, 2011 at 11:01 am


27 mandy June 8, 2011 at 11:05 am

We love everything in the back yard. From gardening, to mud pies, to searching for worms!

28 Jen June 8, 2011 at 11:16 am

I would have to say working in the yard together with occasional sprays from the water hose to cool off!

29 Cinnamon June 8, 2011 at 11:25 am

The messiest part of our back yard is the chickens we share it with! We also play with a lot of water and dirt back there, while trying to avoid all the piles of chicken poo. It doesn’t always work ;)

30 Kim June 8, 2011 at 11:25 am

My husband and I love to take our 2 toddler sons camping during summer weekends. The boys love to wade in streams when we go on hikes, dig in the dirt around the campsite, and of course we all enjoy eating sticky, gooey s’mores! It’s a lot of fun for all of us.

31 Sonja June 8, 2011 at 12:01 pm

We love to bake and our kitchen becomes a total mess when there is baking involved…

32 Jenny June 8, 2011 at 12:06 pm

we love to garden and pull weeds and water the flowers…always a messy matter, but so much fun

33 Bellen June 8, 2011 at 12:15 pm

When my kids were young, and now with grandkids, it was anything outside – gardening, raking leaves and jumping in the pile and doing it all over again, going for walks thru fields, not on paths, to see what was there and what stuck to your clothes.

PS have recommended your site to my DIL’s, thanks

34 Bonney June 8, 2011 at 12:18 pm

Love the sock creatures! We like to get messy with papier mache. It’s perfect to do outside and dries fast in the summer sun. No worries about where the paint lands when we’re painting them!

35 Mary June 8, 2011 at 12:20 pm

Painting, gardening, baking, swimming…pretty much anything we do over the weekend with our toddler turns into something messy! All the books look great, particularly the Handy Dad. Sounds like a great Father’s Day gift for my husband!

36 Nichole Anne June 8, 2011 at 12:28 pm

Our favorite messy time activity is a gardening. The kids get so excited when we get to dig holes and put in new plants. Their favorite part is watering the plants since we make it a combination of water the plants/water fight. :)

37 Lindsey June 8, 2011 at 1:18 pm

Is it wrong to think of camping as a messy activity? ;) It my world it very much is.

38 Kylie C June 8, 2011 at 2:15 pm

Tie-dying, my kids love it and I try to find a reason to do it at least twice during the summer. This means that I give a lot of tie-dyed baby gifts….

39 RachelM June 8, 2011 at 2:16 pm

We love to get our hands dirty in the garden together. :)

40 Colleen June 8, 2011 at 2:32 pm

Our favorite messy thing to do is giant bubbles outside!

41 Annie June 8, 2011 at 2:43 pm

My husband built the kids a mud kitchen in the back yard, so we turn on the hose and everyone splashes around in the puddles and makes mudpies, it has been so much fun!

42 kath_red June 9, 2011 at 3:02 am

oh what a super fun idea

43 Amanda June 8, 2011 at 3:07 pm

We garden at a friend’s house and let our baby crawl around and dig in the dirt while we work. He loves it!

44 Gloria June 8, 2011 at 3:22 pm

Making clay for Christmas Ornaments. It was a complete mess. Flour, water, apple sauce, glue, cinnamon, everywhere, all over the kitchen, floor, walls, CEILING!, and of course us.

Handy Dads Book

45 jenlyjen June 8, 2011 at 3:27 pm

We love to fingerpaint, play in the dirt, use facepaints, and apply glitter glue liberally to everything around us!

46 Kelly June 8, 2011 at 3:36 pm

We have 4 girls who craft everywhere. The playroom has building toys (k’nex, legos), the craft closet (knitting, paint, beads, sewing), outside (a natural pond with wildlife — we catch turtles all the time, we canoe, and kayak), and of course our family veggie garden that we try to make a little larger every year. I would love to give them more ideas as they get older and definitely have their dad teach them to use the tools in the garage!

47 Laura June 8, 2011 at 4:17 pm

Our favorite activity to do with our 2 1/2-year-old is to include her in the family cooking. On weekends my husband and I like to do our “big” cooking; we save the hardest, most complicated, or longest recipes to do during our time off, and letting our daughter really help (not just pretend to stir or watch passively) is one of the most fun things our family does together. Our kitchen is always a wreck afterwards, but it was headed that way anyway, so why not let the whole family have lots of fun together and use the time to teach our daughter about counting, measurements, food, and different cultures?

48 Mary June 8, 2011 at 5:13 pm

We love going to my brother’s farm and helping with the chooks and the vegetable garden. The kids go off and explore the gully, build cubby houses and climb trees.

49 se7en June 8, 2011 at 6:27 pm

Your book giveaways are stunning!!! Best messy weekend activity… hmmm Saturday gardening and ending up with kid made waffles for dinner… Love it!!!

50 Kristy - Hopeful Threads June 8, 2011 at 6:47 pm

What fun! hmmm….messy weekend activity….washing the van with LOTS of bubbles, trying to catch a “crawdad” at the creek and pillow pile movie nights!

Thanks for the fun!

51 Jackie June 8, 2011 at 6:53 pm

Well, using “favourite” to mean “loved it the most”, as opposed to “do it all the time”, we had a large shallow cardboard box and decided to put some paint in the bottom for finger painting, which became feet painting, which became paint-skating, and then paint rolling around.

52 Deb June 8, 2011 at 6:53 pm

Messy activity? Gardening, of course. The whole gang (yes, even the dog!) gets involved- and then the messiness begins!

53 jojoebi June 8, 2011 at 6:57 pm

we often have homemade pizza on a Sunday evening, making it together is a fun but messy family activity!

PS Handy Dad is a great book, I got it for my husband for fathers day last year

54 Jen B June 8, 2011 at 7:38 pm

We like cooking here. The meals on the weekends are a little more involved and a lot messier!

55 Wendy Hatton June 8, 2011 at 7:49 pm

My grandkids love helping in my vegetable garden. Helping usually means random digging and puddling about with the garden hose. A change of clothes is vital on grandkids visit days!

56 Wendy June 8, 2011 at 8:26 pm

If it involves frosting, we’re game. I’m not sure if my son insists on frosting everything for the fun or so he can eat his mistakes. We have ALOT of mistakes. Although, I have to admit, my son is 7 and he can really handle a piping bag full of royal icing.

57 Maggie June 8, 2011 at 8:32 pm

it’s not too messy but I take the bubble blowing outside otherwise the detergent get every where and drips all over.

58 Rosiebhai June 8, 2011 at 8:47 pm

Tie-dying is definitely a favorite weekend activity activity around here. Very messy, and the kids get such a kick out of combining the different colours and revealing the patterns at the end. And they love getting to wear their work! It is an occasional weekend activity, which makes it all the more exciting and special when we do it.

59 Vicky June 8, 2011 at 10:22 pm

Pulling out weeds and working in the dirt is a great weekend activity!

60 Brenda June 8, 2011 at 10:31 pm

My toddler loves jumping in puddles, and rolling on the freshly mown lawn.

61 dulcet June 8, 2011 at 11:22 pm

We made papier-mache masks one day, then painted them the next. We liked it so much that we made a pinata for our uncle’s birthday and mailed it clear across the continent stuffed full of candy and pennies. Apparently we did such a thorough job that it took him quite a while to whack it open!

62 Jennifer June 9, 2011 at 12:12 am

We love home made play dough, and anything made with Popsicle sticks and glue is a sure bet for fun on the weekends in our house.

63 Kate June 9, 2011 at 12:44 am

We’re certainly not unique in saying that we love gardening as a favourite ‘messy’ family weekend activity. We recently spent the weekend planting bulbs and pansies through our back garden. We were tired and dirty by the end of it, the baby ate dirt and my nearly-five year olds hands were BLACK, but had a wonderful time and now we all can’t wait until spring!

64 Keri Can June 9, 2011 at 1:12 am

Cornstarch! Playing with Legos and Barbies in a bowl of cornstarch/water solution. Cutting out fabric shapes and gluing them to the walls with a solution of 1 c. water, 1/2 c. cornstarch, 4 c. boiling water. Let cool, then dip and squeeze out fabric, stick to the wall! We are adding onto our underwater mural in the bathroom this weekend.

65 Mary Puerta June 9, 2011 at 4:18 am

Body paint, definitely body paint!!
Outside, lots of colourful washable paints, paintbrushes and they are free to paint themselves all over.

66 Rachael June 9, 2011 at 7:11 am

We play in the water and wash the car. Good soapy fun!

67 Kirsten Bate June 9, 2011 at 7:44 am

We colour the pavers with chalk! Even my 18mth old can participate! And it washes away in the rain to be done again!

68 Helen June 9, 2011 at 8:21 am

We love painting! Usually we paint on cardboard but recently we finished building a cubbyhouse and the kids just loved painting it!

69 Jen June 9, 2011 at 10:59 am

I not sure what our favourite messy activity would be, judging by our laundry pile, every activity is a messy one (even thouse that you wouldn’t expect to be). We definitly love cooking and enjoying the fruits of our labour. In the autumn we like to pick blueberries and pretend to be monsters with our stained faces and dark purple tongues.

70 Katherine of Kitten's Lost Her Mittens June 9, 2011 at 11:07 am

Finger painting!
Thanks for the chance to win one of these great books!

71 jessica June 9, 2011 at 11:22 am

Got to be making sandcastles, and digging, digging, digging!

72 Kristin June 9, 2011 at 12:07 pm

I’m so ashamed. I can’t think of any messy family activity we do! Of course, the boys love to dig and mess around in the dirt, but I never do it with them. What a bad mommy!

73 Tamara June 9, 2011 at 12:14 pm

We love working in our vegetable garden!

74 jessa June 9, 2011 at 1:00 pm

We love to go outside and blow bubbles. Dad is always finding new ways to make bigger and bigger bubbles!

75 Jenny June 9, 2011 at 3:09 pm

If we’re home — gardening. If we’re away – camping. Give kids dirt, water, and something to dig with and they’re set.

76 erin June 10, 2011 at 12:04 am

hmmm, weekend messy activity. There are oh-so-many that we enjoy. It seems the messier it is, the funner it to the littles. We do enjoy working with dyes: playsilks, playdough, yarn, tie-dye. Those all take a bit more time, then say pulling out the watercolors (which can be messy too). :-)

77 kelli June 10, 2011 at 12:38 pm

Baking bread! The kids love to get messy in the kitchen — then they get kicked outdoors after they help “clean.”

78 Heather June 10, 2011 at 12:52 pm

Most of what we do is messy. We love to garden which can mean growing things, building things in dirt or making mudpies.

79 Katherine A June 10, 2011 at 3:16 pm

That has to be gardening! We love getting out there and getting stuck right in: weeding, digging, planting, watering.

80 Deidre June 10, 2011 at 9:35 pm

Baking! My kids love to make bake a big mess – but fun! Thanks for the chance to win

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