Kids' craft resources are not in short supply. The Internet is awash in tutorials and inspiration, but most busy mamas (like myself) don't have hours and hours to devote to finding safe and engaging activities to do with our kids. Lucky for us, Kate Lilley has done the legwork for us by gathering the best of the best of kid-friendly projects that combine beautiful, clean design and eco-conscious materials.
Lilley's Eco-Friendly Crafting With Kids (2012, Ryland, Peters, & Small) is a truly useful go-to source for fun ideas to share with preschool-aged children. Her 35 tutorials are divided into eight categories. Homemade Materials shows you the basics: playdough, paint, chalk, and crayons. Music is a collection of rhythm and sound-making objects. Nature and Recycling Bin draw inspiration from the world outdoors and re-purposed materials that would otherwise be tossed. Paper & Card, Sewing & Threading, and Science, each deal more specifically with the areas named while Boredom Busters is a collection of quick ideas to pull out when the dreaded "I'm bored" call needs to be answered.
Creator of the wildly popular blog mini eco, Lilley has been sharing her crafting adventures with her two young sons for a little over two years. Eco-Friendly Crafting With Kids serves as an introduction to her style and is perfect for moms or other care-givers who is interested in adding a little bit more crafting to their day. Each project is very well explained and illustrated with photographs by Carolyn Barber that combine the necessary clarity with a light-hearted whimsy. The best part of this book is the almost immediate gratification that it brings. These projects are not overly complicated and by using "ingredients" that are readily available around the house, kids can dive right in to the making while excitement and interest are high.
Although geared for children in the 3 to 5 age range, I've found many of these activities to be fun even with my 17-month-old, with only slight modifications (usually just mama doing more and the little guy observing). I can see these projects easily growing with my little one and I look forward to him taking on more of the making as he gets older. This seems like a book that we'll come back to again and again; I'm sure we'll try every single project at some point. Overall, Eco-Friendly Crafting With Kids is a great resource for eco-minded and natural mamas.