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Playing Smart: A Parent's Guide to Enriching, Offbeat Learning Activities for Ages 4 to 14 [Paperback]

Susan K. Perry
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Playing Smart Playing Smart 5.0 out of 5 stars (2)
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Book Description

December 1990
Our new edition of a family favorite has hundreds of fun and educational activities that promote creative thinking, laughter, and loving relationships. From ways to make walking interesting to tips for creating a family book of world records, Susan Perry brings together simple activities that rely on little more than family commitment.

For parents who are looking for ways to enhance quality time, or for those who are looking for new, creative ways to play and learn with their children, PLAYING SMART provides a treasure trove of activities, resources, and ideas. Included in this revised, expanded, and updated edition are new chapters on the five-senses and geography as well as many new activities. Updated resources and family-friendly Web sites help point the way to more adventures.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Review

A one-volume shelf of original ideas. -- L.A. Parent Magazine

Full of interactive ideas. -- Child Magazine

The beauty of this guide is that most games call for nothing more than two people and two brains. -- Working Mother --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist and award-winning author who teaches psychology at Woodbury University and online writing for "Writer's Digest". She has also been a teacher for the Gifted Children's Association of Los Angeles, and was the founder and director of an early childhood program, Discovery House School. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great ideas to stimulate you and your children June 6 2001
Format:Paperback
PLAYING SMART is a treasure trove of clever ideas. Using the simple and familiar, Susan K. Perry shows us how we can turn the most ordinary experiences into opportunities for creativity, learning, and fun, teaching children to begin a lifelong love of education and imagination. A walk becomes an adventure into biology and nature as well as a chance to make up stories about people, to notice change in daily surroundings. The backyard is filled with learning how to grow edible and decorative plants with an aesthetic appreciation of their variety and arrangement, along with respect for other living creatures. Cooking with your children, you can both learn about nutrition, health, and safety, fostering good habits that will serve them well in our fast food and junk food culture. Waiting in line and long car rides become openings for psychological sharing and excursions into the imagination.
Nearly all of the ideas in this book can be used by adults to stimulate their own creativity and get out of their daily ruts. I especially appreciated the sections of doing dreamwork and personal journaling with children. I frequently recommend this book to parents and teachers.
~~review by Joan Mazza, author of Dream Back Your Life; Dreaming Your Real Self; and 3 books in The Guided Journal Series with Writer's Digest/Walking Stick Press.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy, life enriching book for children AND adults! April 1 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
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.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great ideas to stimulate you and your children June 6 2001
By Joan Mazza - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
PLAYING SMART is a treasure trove of clever ideas. Using the simple and familiar, Susan K. Perry shows us how we can turn the most ordinary experiences into opportunities for creativity, learning, and fun, teaching children to begin a lifelong love of education and imagination. A walk becomes an adventure into biology and nature as well as a chance to make up stories about people, to notice change in daily surroundings. The backyard is filled with learning how to grow edible and decorative plants with an aesthetic appreciation of their variety and arrangement, along with respect for other living creatures. Cooking with your children, you can both learn about nutrition, health, and safety, fostering good habits that will serve them well in our fast food and junk food culture. Waiting in line and long car rides become openings for psychological sharing and excursions into the imagination.
Nearly all of the ideas in this book can be used by adults to stimulate their own creativity and get out of their daily ruts. I especially appreciated the sections of doing dreamwork and personal journaling with children. I frequently recommend this book to parents and teachers.
~~review by Joan Mazza, author of Dream Back Your Life; Dreaming Your Real Self; and 3 books in The Guided Journal Series with Writer's Digest/Walking Stick Press.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent ways to play with kids while you wait and wait ... Nov. 5 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Here's where to turn for creative responses to "How much longer?" -- that classic question asked by children of all ages -- when sitting in traffic, waiting in the doctor's office, or standing in line at the supermarket. You and your kids (ages 4-14) will enjoy the offbeat, simple games in Playing Smart. The fun ideas in this book will turn, "Aren't we there yet?!" into "Are we there already?!"
5.0 out of 5 stars Packed with creative fun July 2 1999
By Joan Mazza - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Susan K. Perry's writing is always a delight. PLAYING SMART is filled with fun ideas that will entertain children AND adults. Each chapter offers dozens of suggestions to open children's minds to love learning, improve their powers of observation and innovative thinking, and to be respectful of the world and all its beauty. Many many resources listed for games, supplies, and further information. Children will learn they need never say they are bored again.
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