Spring break starts next week, and I’ll soon have two kids running all over the house and neighbourhood. I’m hoping to get them playing outside every day, but I know it won’t always be possible. These kids can get a little stir crazy when they’re stuck inside, so anything that can help keep them occupied is a gift to all of us! Our friends at Raincoast Books recently sent us a few of the cool games, puzzles, activity books and crafts offered by Chronicle Books and Lawrence King Books to play, test, and share with you.
Read on to get some indoor spring break activity ideas for your own kids, and make sure to scroll down all the way to the bottom for a chance to win your own #PlayTestShare prize pack of an activity book and game.
This fun activity book comes with 9 full colour paper animals, 3 colour your own animals, and detailed assembly instructions. Included animals are: gorilla, turtle, seal, bear, elephant, hippo, monkey, dachshund, penguin (and chick), lion, kangaroo (and joey), and owl. The card stock pieces are all perforated and assembled with tabs – no glue or scissors required – so if you’re going away or taking a roadtrip for spring break, this would be a fantastic activity to take along.
Each puppet has its own unique action. For example, the turtle’s flippers swim, the kangaroo opens her eyes as her joey ducks into her pouch, and the penguins flap their wings and open their beaks. These were so much fun to make with my girls! While the puppets are too complicated for them to assemble on their own, they sure loved “helping” me make them and playing with them! I found the step-by-step instructions to be detailed, clearly written, and easy to follow, but these are are probably best made with adult help until around ten or eleven.
Once your paper zoo is assembled, set your child loose to create their very own puppet show!
They weren’t kidding when they called this the tallest colouring book in the world. Maybe there’s a taller one, but I think I’d be hard pressed to find it. This one has one looong accordion-pleated colouring sheet that stretches 15 feet long. It’s a wondrously tall high rise building reaching up to the moon, fancifully drawn with tons of fascinating details to discover and not one, not two, but three shark tanks.
We love Herve Tullet’s previous two interactive books, Press Here and Mix It Up! (you can read my review here). A year later, and they’re still favourite lap books around here, so I jumped at the chance to check out the third volume in this series.
Let’s Play! explores movement and emotion. That little magical yellow dot is led by your child’s finger in fantastic swoops and leaps across the pages, expressing boredom, playfulness, exhilaration, curiosity, fear, and relief. Riding on a carousel, sneaking up a dark staircase, or playing hide and seek, it’s amazing how expressive a dollop of paint can be! This has already joined Tullet’s first two books in heavy rotation in our house.
I’m particularly excited about this new Press Here Game based on our beloved book of the same name. When I first opened up the box, I didn’t quite see the appeal, but after playing through the first time, I think it’s brilliant. Sure it’s a game, but it also an exercise in visual logic and persuasive argument.
Basically, players place red, blue, or yellow dots on one of 25 colourful game boards. The idea is to create a logical pattern based on the design of the card and previous dots placed. The genius of the game though, is that there can be more than one way to make that pattern. As long as you can explain/justify your choice, your dot can stay! Fail to make your case, and you’ll have to move your dot and try again.
One side of the game boards has 3 spots to fill and is suitable for preschoolers just learning about patterns. The flip sides offer more room for creative pattern-making and keep it interesting for older kids. Unlike so many other kids’ games that are just minor variations of rolling a die and advancing a specified number of spaces, Press Here is fun, creative, and educational for all ages. Exactly the kind of game I love to play with my kids!
Check out even more fun activity books and games from Chronicle Books and Lawrence King!
Story Box: Create Your Own Fairy Tales – Magma and Anne Laval
This wonderful game will allow your family to create its own fairy tales. Highly original and with a contemporary twist, this box contains 20 cards, printed on both sides, which can be interchanged, allowing for all kinds of plots. With three alternative endings! Can you save the missing elf before he is eaten by the big, bad wolf? Is the witch offering you a poisoned apple, or will she help you – by magically shrinking the giant pink rabbit that is terrorizing your castle? Tell a different story each time you play, in this 8-foot-long fairy tale puzzle.
Dog Domino – Itsuko Suzuki
This game is for two to four players and contains 28 cute and colorful dog dominoes. Have fun matching seven delightful pooches: Chihuahua, Dachshund, Dalmatian, Labrador, Poodle, Pug, and Alsatian. Get your last domino down first to win the game and become top dog!
Playing Dog Domino is a great way to involve younger members of the family who do not feel so comfortable (or interested) playing with an abstract concept such as the number of dots on a square. Dog Domino will get the whole family playing!
Recess From Dodgeball to Double Dutch: Classic Games for Players of Today – Ben Applebaum and Dan DiSorbo, with Michael Ferrari
Remember recess? It was that refreshing break between classes that cleared the cobwebs, refreshed the mind, and got everyone moving. Recess is the ultimate illustrated guide to the best games of the playground, for inside and outside. With detailed instructions, diagrams, and a can-do, kick-butt attitude, this tome isn’t meant to be read-it’s meant to be played! This fun and interactive guide includes the rules to over 150 games and variations, including over two dozen international games from schoolyards around the world, plus various tips and strategies not just to play, but also to win!
642 Things to Draw: Young Artist’s Edition – 826 Valencia
The perfect addition to the 642 series, this collection of hilarious, wacky, and imaginative drawing prompts provides endless quirky inspiration for young artists of all experience levels. Whether pondering how to sketch a zombie unicorn or filling the page with a magical (and delicious) field of cupcakes, budding artists will relish the chance to jump-start their artistic engines as they draw, sketch, imagine, and create!
ABC Word Play – Fany Perret
A hands-on alphabet extravaganza! The letters of the alphabet come to life in this bright, graphic, and delightfully interactive ABC novelty board book that pairs early learning with captivating play. Just punch out the oversize neon letters and assemble the simple words featured on each spread, or spell new words. It’s the perfect way to play, spell, and learn, from A to Z!The World of Eric Carle™ Animal Masks – Chronicle Books
Featuring the iconic animal designs of Eric Carle, these spectacular easy-to-use punch-out masks are ready to wear, play with, and share with friends! Simply punch out the die-cut masks, attach the elastic, and transform into a favorite Eric Carle character. No scissors or glue needed!
Flora and Friends Matching Game – Molly Idle
From the Caldecott Honor Book Flora and the Flamingo, and the two followup books, Flora and the Penguin and Flora and the Peacocks, this classic memory game stars Flora and her feathered friends! Delightful storytelling and artwork from Molly Idle celebrate the joy of friendship, all while building memory, concentration, and matching skills.
Win Let’s Play & Press Here Game
Raincoast Books wants to make your spring break a little more fun with a #PlayTestShare bundle of your own! Here’s a chance for one of my Canadian readers to receive a copy of Let’s Play and a Press Here Game just like we played. Enter in the giveaway widget below. This giveaway is open to residents of Canada only, 18+.
While you’re here, check out my other open giveaways on my Giveaway Page!
Disclosure: I received sample items for review. All opinions expressed are completely honest and my own, based on my personal experience. Your experience may differ. This post contains affiliate links. This West Coast Mommy is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. I will receive a small commission if you purchase through my link, at no additional cost to you. This income helps pay for the operating costs of my website – thank you for your support!