Wow, this is just an awesome book for any parent, grandparent, caregiver, teacher... It was an "impulse buy" and turned out to be the best child activity book I have ever seen. As a former professional, college educated stay-at-home mom, I wanted to move beyond "Candyland" and "Go Fish" and have more fun with my kids. This book provides a wealth of information that makes having fun with them a lot of fun for me!
There are 14 chapters, after the introduction. Each CHAPTER provides a background on the topic, helpful information, many ideas and projects to try, sidebars with even more information and ideass, and a very extensive "resources" section with additional books, websites, relevant games, music and more. Chapters include Instant Fun, Playing around with Photography, Mind Snacks: Recipes for Kitchen Learning, The Junior Geographer, celebrate the Senses, and so on. The book provides a very well rounded experience without being "preachy". It isn't a "learning book" and doesn't teach skills, so to speak, but a child can't help but learn and grow from the activities listed. Most activities are free or require a very small investment.
Each chapter is a treasure. For example, the first chapter, Instant Fun, makes waiting with kids actually fun. There are 30 "instant games" (for example, picking out someone walking by or a fellow patient in a waiting room and making up a creative story about them, turning your hand into a puppet with instructions, things to do while waiting for a meal in a restaurant, etc.), five different ways to keep busy while travelling, 13 different quick pencil games (such as one of you draws a squiggle and then you and your child take turns completing it into a picture, dot games, a game called "scrambled sentences, etc.). There are 4 sidebars in this chapter with even more ideas for instant fun. And finally, there are 13 references for more information, books, catalogs, games, etc. Each idea or game is at least a paragraph long--it isn't simply a list of run of the mill ideas. For my family, this chapter alone is well worth the price of the book.
And each following chapter is just as chock-full of information, ideas and projects. A previous reviewer stated it was a good book to get out of a rut and I couldn't agree more. The back cover shows a review from Working Mother magazine that states, "The beauty of this guide is that most games call for nothing more than two people and two brains." I couldn't agree more.