Dr. Craft's Active Play! Fun Physical Activities for Young Children Book Review

3:54 PM

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Happy Monday everyone! Hope you are all enjoying your day and that you are getting outdoors to enjoy the beautiful weather! Today, I am going to take a few minutes to share my review of a fantastic book and resource for parents, educators, grandparents and caretakers called Active Play! Fun Physical Activities for Young Children from Dr. Craft's Active Play Books!

I have been a parent for 4 1/2 years and it never ceases to amaze me how much energy my children have. Being a parent has taught me patience, love, charity, gentleness, understanding and LOADS of creativity. Children (especially mine) can get bored very quickly and it doesn't take long for that boredom to create some mischievousness. This is why I am so thankful for curriculum that helps me to come up with creative and fun ways for them to expend their energy all while learning and having a great time!
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Dr. Craft's Active Play Books is a book that is chock full of 52 activities that you can use to encourage your children to using both their minds and their bodies. This book is written by Diane H. Craft, PhD and Craig L. Smith. Diane really took alot of time to research the material and factual data in this book before she presented it to parents. I particularly love how she raises awareness for childhood obesity...a dangerous trend that is becoming an epidemic in our society. Children who spend their days sitting in front of a TV, Computer and who spend little to no time getting physical activity in their daily routines are at risk to be obese. Scary! I for one always struggled with my weight so I can relate to the problem and know that it also has a lot to do with diet as well. In children though, obesity CAN be avoided in most cases simply by incorporating more physical activity.
For this review I was sent the Active Play! Fun Physical Activities for Young Children book (which retails for $39.00 and includes an accompanying DVD as well) and was very excited to get my children moving!  Before I show you how we used this book, let me show you a little bit more of what is actually in this book and why I love it.
First of all, in the back of the book I found that there is an entire daily schedule that gives you one activity per day to use with your children. Now, based on the ages of your children you can tweak this schedule to fit your personal needs but I love how the idea is here and I don't need to do much to make it my own. Using a pencil would do the trick on this one.
Secondly, I love how each activity has it's own dedicated page(s) and you are given careful instructions on how to guide your child through the activities. You are also told what supplies you will need and most of the supplies are ones you will find laying around your home. (Socks, laundry baskets, pantyhose, balls, Frisbees, etc.). There is also a picture of a child doing the activity so you can see what you are aiming to achieve with your child.
These two pages show some of the activities that we attempted to do here at our house and we had so much fun!! All Stop & Go Music is a fun game that is like musical chairs. You put several large objects in the center of the room. You can use pillows, pool noodles, laundry baskets, etc. Then, you tell your children that when the music starts they can run around the objects. When the music STOPS, they need to stop right in their tracks. For my children, I had them sit down on the floor when the music stopped because it created a bit more concentration for them. This game teaches them to listen for cues on when to start and stop, helps to strengthen and give their heart a bit of a workout and also teaches them to run...which my children do NOT need to be taught! HA!
Alligator Pit is a super fun game that we  played multiple times in different ways. The first way was suggested in the book and this is how we did it. First, I took duct tape and taped it to my living room rug. At one end I put a laundry basket and at the other end I put a bucket of various shaped balls. The way the book instructed me to do this game was to have the children carry the objects in their hands but to make it a bit more challenging for my four year old, I used a large spoon for her to carry the balls in. Here's a brief video of my children playing Alligator Pit using a pool noodle cut in half rather than the duct tape...which also works great!
So, the way this works is the child picks up a ball (or other small object that is easy to carry) and tries to walk on the duct tape all the way to the other end and deposits their object into the basket. Then, they turn around, walk back   and repeat the exercise until all the objects are in the laundry basket. You can at that point have them repeat the activity by taking the objects from the basket and walking them back down to original starting point. This activity was fun for both of my children and we have played it multiple times.
Next, we thoroughly enjoyed playing Bubble Wrap Jumping. My children literally go insane when they see bubble wrap and immediately confiscate it when any appears in my house. SO, I had to try this activity out with them. The video above shows just how fun this was to play. I adapted it because I didn't have large strips of bubble wrap so I used squares taped to the floor. As you can see, this was a LOUD and fun game...even after I walked away, I still heard bubbles popping. HA!

In this book there are so many other activities such as Sorting Socks, Swat The Fly (OOO!! So fun! Involves a picture of a fly taped to a Frisbee, a pool noodle and a child willing to run around pulling the Frisbee while another child tries to swat the Frisbee with his pool noodle!), Hoop Bus and Obstacle Course: Outdoor. Also included is a fun DVD that shows you how to do activities and gives you some fun music to go along with your games...which is great.

I am really looking forward to getting outside with the children once the weather gets nicer and doing more of these fun activities. My children are SO active and love anything fun so this was definitely a great book for us. I would definitely recommend Active Play! Fun Physical Activities for Young Children to anyone who has children or who takes care of children. It is a wonderful resource and one that you can use any time of the year!
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  1. This is a wonderful thorough review! I love all the details and the photos and the videos!

    Just fantastic work.

    Thank you!

    Kate Kessler


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