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I have quite a few Usborne Activities books relating to things to 'make and do' and 'how to draw', all coming in quite handy for someone like me, for whom creativity doesn't come easy!
- The book -
At the beginning of the book as you would expect there is a Contents page which is very easy to use, heading and page!
There are 15 activities:
~ Pecking hens and chicks
Easy to make and quite effective looking hens and chicks using a folded paper plate, paint, bright paper, tissue and glue.
~ Bunny wrapping paper
A step by step, easy to follow and re-create guide to drawing simple rabbits to draw and colour in on brightly coloured paper to create wrapping paper.
~ Field of rabbits
This is an easy to make finger painting activity. The grassy background is created using different shades of green which are hand printed on to a large sheet of paper. The sitting and leaping rabbits are then created by using your finger and paints of different colours.
~ Decorated eggs
This is a guide to creating dyed and patterned hard boiled eggs. Wax crayons, food dye, masking tape and felt-tip pens are needed.
I found this activity required quite a lot of adult input.
~ A chick card
A simple to make chick Easter card with a pop out beak. Ideas for different backgrounds are also shown which an advantage for those lacking in their own ideas.
~ Sheep and lamb pictures
A simple idea to create sheep and lambs but unusually no reference to using cotton wool which we used on some of the lambs as an alternative to the suggested cloud-like shapes dipped in water and then removed after the grass effect has been made. An interesting way to achieve grass, using wool wrapped round a piece of wool, dipping it in green paint and pressing on to the paper to create a grassy background.
~ A chick puppet
A sock puppet with a painted, folded paper plate.
~ Rabbit face
A step by step guide on how to create a rabbit look using face paints - The only one of the activities that we haven't tried as I don't have any face paints in the house.
~ Potato-printed chicks
As the name of the activity suggests this requires halved potatoes, dipped in yellow paint and printed on to the paper. Triangular paper beaks are added along with felt-tip penned legs, eyes and wings.
~ Giant spring flower prints
Prints made from potato and pear printing. Detailed instructions and illustrations are given so that the end result isn't too far away from what is shown in the book.
~ Bunny napkin rings
Quite a lot of adult input and guidance is needed to make these napkin rings. Not the easiest of the activities to make which takes some of the enjoyment out of this. Not a great deal of creativity and individuality in this. It requires greaseproof paper, paper clips, card etc.
~ Surprise eggs
This involves painting an egg box, using cracked, emptied and cleaned eggs. It can be used as a simple home-made Easter gift as the cracked eggs can have little treats inside, such as toy chicks, chocolate eggs etc. All presented in an individually decorated box, tied with a bright ribbon and bow. Lots of photos of different ways to decorate for those requiring a little bit of inspiration!
~ A bunch of daffodils
Using green straws for the stems and crepe paper for the petals, a bunch of daffodils can be made. This is quite a fiddly activity and needs quite a lot of adult input in comparison to many of the other craft ideas in the book. Tissue or crepe paper flowers have never been my forte so not my favourite activity!
~ Easter flowerpots
A very simple activity, painting a terracotta pot. There's a step by step guide of how to achieve stripes on the pot by using masking tape in some areas etc. I've found that acrylic paint works more effectively on these pots as basic poster paints tend to flake off after a while.
~ Chicken and egg card
A simple but effective cracker style card which opens out from a cracked egg on the front to show a chick inside. Lots of different designs shown for ideas.
~ Cress egg-heads
A simple guide on how to grow cress seeds in an empty eggshell. You are shown how to make a simple card stand which can be decorated with grass. Even ideas to enhance the look of the basic eggshells are given, such as adding wings and a beak for a chick or ears for a rabbit head.
- Style and Format -
With the exception of the Cress egg-heads activity at the very back of the book, all of the activities are shown on a double page spread
There are photographs of the finished items as well as very simply explained in step-by-step, numbered sections with an accompanying drawing of most of the stages, which I found to be really useful for both of us. This enables children who aren't fluent readers to join in with the activity and 'what do we do next?' etc.
- Resources that you will need -
Most of the resources needed are things that a lot of people with young children will already have in the house, with the exception of perhaps acrylic paint which you do have to be careful with as it can stain clothes and be almost impossible to remove!
If you haven't got the necessary resources in the house, then they are quite easy to come by, for example paper plates, green straws, wool etc.
- Price -
The paperback version that I bought was part of a Usborne pack so it worked out a little cheaper than the RRP of £4.99, ISBN: 0 7460 4912 9
It's available on amazon from £1.22.
- Usborne Easter Activities Books -
~ Easter things to make and do
~ Little book of Easter activities
~ Easter stencil cards
~ 50 Easter things to make and do
~ Easter cooking
~ Easter sticker book
- Final Thoughts -
Unlike some of the other Usborne activity books, most of the art and craft ideas in this book are easily achieved by children from approximately 4 upwards. There will obviously be varying degrees of success but the drawings aren't as intricate and detailed as say for example the Draw Fairies and Mermaids book and so on. Varying degrees of adult input is required but most are achieved with a moderate amount of input.
Lots of ideas for those who need a little bit of inspiration and prompting and lots of fun can be had!
Happy Easter :-)
N.B. Review also appears on ciao