Fun Activity Books for Kids

Clever activity books to inspire kids' creativity

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The next time your kids even start to utter "There's nothin' to do," throw the book at them: Unbored: The Essential Field Guide to Serious Fun, by Joshua Glenn and FamilyFun contributor Elizabeth Foy Larsen. It's full of tips on how to train grown-ups, weird facts about condiments, practical suggestions for dealing with bullies, and, yes, even a section on classic fart games. You may never hear those dreaded words again. Ages 8 and up Bloomsbury Press, $25

Originally published in the February 2013 issue of FamilyFun magazine

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Mark Mantegna

Marion Deuchars's Let's Make Some Great Placemat Art keeps kids busy while they wait foreeeeever for their dinner. Taking a page from the activity placemats offered at restaurants, the oversize pad contains more than a month's worth of open-ended scribbling and sketching sheets. Its nine different hand-drawn and watercolor designs are sure to keep fidgety diners creatively sated. Laurence King, $12.95

Originally published in the April 2013 issue of FamilyFun magazine

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Coin Blaster Arcade may look like a book, but it's more like a spiral-bound game room. The thick cardboard pages offer various targets for your kids' rolled or flung coins. Custom coin launchers and lessons on the basics of proper finger-flicking techniques round out the text. Ages 8 and up Klutz, $19.99

Originally published in the March 2013 issue of FamilyFun magazine

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In Finger Fun!, authors Pam Abrams and Ellen Shea show dozens of clever ways to turn kids' digits into silly characters. Use the included materials (washable markers, embroidery floss, pom-poms) or household items and toys, such as the hats shown below, to transform fingers -- and toes! Then sit back and watch the show. Ages 6 and up Downtown Bookworks, $9.99

Originally published in the March 2013 issue of FamilyFun magazine

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How to Be a Detective makes sleuthing, well, elementary! Crime novelist Dan Waddell spills the secrets of tracking footprints, reading perp body language, and much more. Brightly illustrated by Jim Smith, this absorbing primer gives gumshoes a real case to crack, along with materials for a DIY periscope and an ink pad for processing fingerprints. Ages 7 to 11 Candlewick, $20

Originally published in the April 2013 issue of FamilyFun magazine

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Richard Carpenter

Fashion Forms Tweens don't have to be fans of Project Runway to appreciate this paper fashion kit. Use the pattern pieces (boatneck bodice, A-line skirt, ball gown) to create designs from the 20 sheets of patterned paper, then add ribbons and spangles for make-it-work looks. Klutz, $24.99 Ages 8 and up

Originally published in the November 2012 issue of FamilyFun magazine

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Keeping Up With the (Indiana) Joneses If your birthday kid loves playing explorer, set him loose on the slew of activities in Make a Mummy, Shrink a Head, and Other Useful Skills. The 56-page compendium is a treasure trove of archaeological knowledge, teaching kids how to mummify a hot dog, construct a sarcophagus from the included card stock pieces, and decode a curse. Klutz, $20 Ages 8 and up

Originally published in the March 2012 issue of FamilyFun magazine

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Diane Fields

Letter-Perfect We were, ahem, drawn to this book by Tony Seddon, whose title pretty much sums it up. Ages 7 and up $19.95, papress.com

Originally published in the June/July 2013 issue of FamilyFun magazine

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