Playful Book Review
Are you looking for a beautiful craft book for kids? I've got one for you! I was so happy when I first heard that Merrilee's book, Playful: Fun Projects To Make With + For Kids, published in German under the title, "Spielzeit: 25 fantasievolle Projekte zum Spielen und Gestalten". It's such a sweet book and I think it will do just great here in Germany where I'm currently living. Merrilee Liddiard is the blogger behind Mer Mag and I've followed her blogging adventures for years so it's very nice to see her in print.
The crossover from blog to book is never easy, but Merrilee and her team pulled it off just beautifully. Her photographer, Nicole Hill Gerulat, made Merrilee's projects shine too - Nicole is quite amazing behind the lens and takes such great photos of the children interacting with the various projects. It's so hard to photograph children and now that I have a toddler, I have even more respect for photographers who work with children on a regular basis. My god. Capturing portraits of children at play is like shooting wild animals for Nat Geo - you have to observe for what feels like hours and be patient as you await that perfect moment because until they've hit a certain age, there is no such thing as posing them. I've tried with my little 16-month-old and forget about it. The second you have your shot composed, they dart off or start whining and you're back to square one. Nicole if you're reading this post, great job on your impressive captures!
Playful is a really charming and well designed book but also quite a helpful one because there are several projects inside to keep little hands busy that are affordable, educational, fun and great for building stronger bonds between parents and their little ones. I can't wait until my son is old enough to make some of the projects in this book. I want to try a few in the interim to make for him and my little niece, Ewa, who is 2.5 years old and positively the sweetest little girl ever.
Divided into five sections (Paper Crafts, Dress Up, Art, Toys and Repurposing), with templates in the back of the book to guide you as you go which you'll need to enlarge at your local copy store, you'll find a bevy of projects that appeal to both boys and girls with most things being quite gender neutral. Some of my favorite projects are shown in this post, like the Paper Floral Crown (above) from page 23, Tiger Pinata on page 25, Pencil Bags on page 97, Fingerprint Art on page 101 and the Duct Tape Cardboard Brownstone on page 107 which remind me so much of the canal houses of Amsterdam. I found many other projects that I want to try too and I just love Merrilee's aesthetic!
In summary, this is a really lovely book for parents and children alike. All of the projects are inspirational, and though some are more complicated and require a steady hand or a measure of craft know-how to make, most of them will still turn out lovely by applying whatever creativity you can and by just letting go, having fun and not taking the projects too seriously. You can modify a lot of them to make your own version and you can certainly make some of the projects simpler if you decide too. This book teaches little ones how to create something from what they most likely already own. I think all of you, my dear readers, will just love Playful.
(Photography with permission from Stewart, Tabori and Chang. Photography by: Nicole Hill Gerulat and Book Photos: Holly Becker)