Keep away cabin fever with these activity books


Cold winter days can be a drag for all of us so try a few of these books as a source for something for the kids to do.

AN EXTREMELY WINTERY WINTER ACTIVITY KIT, characters created by Lauren Child, Dial, $19.99; ages 6-10.

Lola is anxiously waiting for snow. She gets up at night to look outside. When the snow starts Lola wakes her sister, Charlie, and is ready to go out and play. The children in the neighborhood have such a fun-filled day that Lola would like to have a snow day every day. Charlie tells her what it would be like if it was always cold like in other parts of the world. This kit contains glitter and stencils for children to make their own snowflakes. Friends can also play a snowy day dressing game by spinning the appropriate number to collect the character’s winter attire.

FAIRY TREE HOUSE, written by Saviour Pirotta, illustrated by Susanna Lockheart, Chronicle, $19.99; ages 4-8.

First read the information about the nine fairies. They each have a specific job to perform. Fairy Silk, for example, is the one responsible for making all of the clothes, especially the dresses for the first ball of the summer. After finding out what job each fairy has, open the book and find the tree house where they live. Also available are punch-out fairy dolls, furniture to put in the tree house and clothes for the ball. A delightful book.

LEGO CRAZY ACTION CONTRAPTIONS, by Doug Sillinger, Klutz, $21.95; ages 7-10.

There are 100 LEGO elements included to assemble 16 contraptions. The easiest is a put-together brick board to play tic-tac-toe or peg solitaire. Mom might send you to your room if you put together the Annoy-O-Matic because of the annoying sound. Other contraptions include a top spinner, an art machine and speedster. After trying all examples in the book, invent some of your own.

HEALTHY LUNCHBOXES FOR KIDS, by Amanda Grant, photography by Tara Fisher, Ryland Peters& Small, $19.95; ages 6 and up.

Are your children tired of PB& J sandwiches? Maybe they decided to start eating something else for lunch. This book can be just the one needed to do that. Try some with the kids while they are home on winter vacation. There is a great variety of breads available these days and many are described in the book. Suggestions are given for adding ingredients such as cranberry sauce to your turkey sandwich or mango chutney and cucumber with chicken in a pita pocket. Add cucumber or avocado to cream cheese to spread on bread or crackers. If your kids like salad, have a variety of ingredients ready so they can create their own combination for lunch. A large variety of selections are included with some hot dishes, snacks and sweet treats.

KLUTZ BUILD-A-BOOK: ME BY ME& A BOOK THAT’S ALL ABOUT MY FAMILY, by Any Kid, Klutz, $12.95; ages 6 and up.

Each spiral-bound kit contains glue stick, felt tip pen, a variety of foam shapes, letters and assorted papers for a child to create their unique book. Suggestions are given for ideas to be included on each of the pages. You can also include your own photographs. A good project for a wintry afternoon. This is one for other family members to get involved. Share stories while working together.

Judy Belanger is Chicago Parent’s children’s book reviewer and a retired elementary learning resource center teacher with four grandchildren. She continues to substitute in grades K-6.

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