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DIY for the Kindergarten Set.


Last weekend, as I sat and ate my lunch in Bryant Park, I had the unexpected treat of listening to Geoffrey Hayes read from his children’s comic book Benny and Penny in Just Pretend. The day’s readings and activities were linked to Children’s Book Week, which runs all this week. And I left the park thinking about children’s books that I loved when I was little—books that encouraged me to make, create, and play.

One of the books that I spent hours and hours with as a youngster was Steven Caney’s Play Book, which I have become reacquainted with thanks to the copy at the Children’s Center at 42nd Street. This book is one of several creative play books by Caney, a noted toy maker and designer. His projects all encourage hands-on building, pretending, playing, and inventing, and most draw upon everday materials that a family might already have on hand. Paging through it, I remembered the fun and discovery I felt as I tackled many of the projects—from secret codes to musical nails, from salt gardens to bottle gardens.

Do you have a favorite DIY book from when you were small? Perhaps we have it at NYPL—come into the library or look in our catalog and see what books, both new and old, we have waiting for you and the young makers in your life.


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I wish I had this book when

I wish I had this book when I was little. It looks rad!

Richard Scarry's Best Rainy

Richard Scarry's Best Rainy Day Book Ever (1974) - I received this for Christmas in the mid 70s and I think it occupied me for an entire year. I am glad to see it's still being published, more than 30 years later! I was such a big fan of Scarry that my mother made me a stuffed felt Lowly Work, which I have to this day.

Oh my goodness--I'd

Oh my goodness--I'd forgotten about this book! But thanks to you I now remember the many, many days I spent with the stories, games, cut outs, and pictures in it too. I'll always love that book! Thanks, Sara, for your comment.

Making Things by Anne Sayre

Making Things by Anne Sayre Wiseman (1973). Cool, fun projects for the awkward pre-teen. Nifty 70s-era illustrations too. I'm not certain that it was written for kids, but I *loved* it when I was a kid, and I wish I could get my hands on the old-school, cloth-bound edition with the orange jacket.

Thanks for the tip about the

Thanks for the tip about the Steven's Play Book. It looks like a fantastic way to get young kids involved with real tactile work before they discover video games. As an aside, I also think that Lego accomplishes much of the same, although boys seem to like it much more than girls.

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