I recently got my hands on my very own copy of Joel Henriques' new book, Made to Play!, and I love it! You may be familiar with Joel through his blog, Made by Joel, where he shares tons of awesome crafts and toys for kids. His designs are both unique and simple, and it's amazing to see such a love for kids from a crafty dad!
The book's projects aren't all necessarily for kids to construct themselves, but there are a number which they can do by themselves or with your help, including the portable zoo animals, animal finger puppets, wooden spool birds, slotted building disks, rubber band race cars, simple paper animation, dress-up drawings, and drawing with vintage buttons. There are also a number of wooden toy projects which make me want to raid my husband's tool shop, scrap wood dollhouse anyone?
My daughter soon found the book on our desk and picked out the play zoo animals for me to make for her. They were super-easy to make, and are small enough to fit in a mint tin for playing on the go (one of Joel's many awesome dad tips).
Eleanor of course only ended up playing with them for less than five minutes after I made them, but the boys are eager for me to make sets for them, too. I really love how Joel's designs leave how to play with the toys open for kids (or grown-up kids!) to interpret.
And now, the real reason you're reading this post (we all like free stuff). And I got this book for free. No, it wasn't a gift from Joel himself, or even his publisher, but I earned an Amazon gift card through Swagbucks. For those of you not already familiar, Swagbucks is a rewards site that lets you earn virtual points for things you already do online, like searching the web or shopping.
I use the Swagbucks engine for all of my searches, and so far I've earned enough points for $35 in Amazon gift cards! In addition to Made to Play, I've purchased Amanda Blake Soule's The Rhythm of Family and The Write Start by Jennifer Hallissey using Swagbucks.
And Amazon gift cards are not the only thing you can redeem your points for. You can redeem them for electronics, kids games, or even use them to enter contests to win more Swagbucks.
This post isn't endorsed by Swagbucks or anything, I just wanted to share a simple and easy way to treat yourself from time to time. And if you sign up through any of the Swagbucks links in this post, I'll get some extra referral bucks to save up for my next book purchase!
Do you already earn Swagbucks? What would you buy with them? What are your favorite kid's craft books?