Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Parents' Choice Awards : Books : Doing & Learning
The Unplugged Play Book: The Essential Parents' Guide

The Unplugged Play Book: The Essential Parents' Guide

Fall 2007 Doing & Learning
Ages: Infant - 10 yrs.
Author: Bobbi Conner
ISBN: 978-0-7611-4114-3
Hardcover Price: $29.95
Paperback Price: $16.95
This encyclopedia of how, why, and ways to play offers parents 712 alternatives to screen time and high-tech toys. The book is well organized by age, from toddlers to ‘tweens. Each category is subdivided into types of play: solo, parent and child, playing with others, and birthday party or group play. Book lists, sources for worthwhile videos, quick recipes, and ideas for stocking a play chest or closet round out each section. Sidebars with realistic parental tips, developmental expectations and experts’ insights add useful advice on every page. There’s also a great section on Family Game Night.

The author tested each and every activity that she offers. And it shows. From making play dough (recipe included) to rolling balls down a cookie sheet, to clever card games, the activities are do-able and age-appropriate. Yes, some, such as snow angels or spoon relays aren’t new, but Connor reminds parents how much fun they can be and adds her own fresh take on the experience. She also provides a complete list of materials, a simple set up for parents, a play plan for kids, and codes each listing by age, category and number of children who can play. Quick & Easy games are duly noted.

Even if you aren’t as vigilant about limiting your kids’ video and computer time as Connor, this book gives you enough fun and realistic ways (and reasons) to amuse your kids through a rainy weekend, a no-nap afternoon, or a fabulous Sunday morning.

Wendy Smolen   ©2007 Parents' Choice

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