Sunday, November 23, 2008

Book Review - Donna's Day

I am not familiar with the show Donna's Day or with Donna Erickson. I found the book Donna's Day: Fun Activities to Bring the Family Together when I was searching for craft books for parents with young children. This book had some of the coolest ideas in it, and a lot of them were things I hadn't seen before. So many of the crafty books I find have the same ideas over and over with slightly different instructions and photos, and some of these crafts are the same as elsewhere. I think some of these crafts are just things that parents have done with their kids for years, and the authors feel like they can't be left out.

This book doesn't have a lot of photographs, instead using illustrations of the steps and completed projects. Unfortunately, the copy I checked out of the library seems to be out of print (but maybe available from individual sellers), but Donna Erickson has several other craft books for families that are available on amazon, including Donna Erickson's Fabulous Funstuff for Families: 100s of the best award-winning activities, games, and crafts from Donna's Prime Time books and TV show.

For my own benefit, I made a list of the projects that appealed to me most, and I'm listing them here by chapter with the page numbers. I'll give a description if I feel it's necessary.

Art for Art's Sake
  1. Sandpaper Art p13
  2. Apple Cinnamon Clay p22
  3. Michaelangelo Under a Chair p28 - (I really like this idea. Just like Michaelangelo in the Sistine Chapel, you let the child crawl under her chair and draw on the bottom. Why not?)

Dream it, Create It, Use It

  1. Ice Candles p34
  2. Beeswax Candles p38-39
  3. Bookmarks p44-45
  4. Firestarters


  1. Juice Lid Match Game p55
  2. Rain Stick p56
  3. Potato People Planters p58

Atlas In The Kitchen

  1. East Indian Barfi Fudge p72
  2. Native American Fry Bread p77
  3. chocolate modeling clay and chocolate roses p79
  4. Hummus p83 (I've been buying this lately because it's full of good fats and two of Abigail's favorite things - peas/beans and garlic)
  5. Tapas p85 (I love the idea of a meal filled with little appetizers)

Hikes & Bikes & Car Trips

  1. Travel Attache p91
  2. Hush Hush Safari p93
  3. Milk container birdfeeder p94
  4. Batch o'Butter p98
  5. Geography Journal p101

Rollicking Rituals to Run the House

  1. Help Wanted:Preschoolers p107 (finally a way to assign jobs to small children!)
  2. Reading Caterpillar p111 ( My 1st grade teacher did something like this to encourage reading. It helped me.)
  3. Portable Height Chart p113 (In these times when we as a society move so often, a portable height chart is a must.)
  4. Sick Day Treat Tray p117
  5. Birthday Pennant p120
  6. Laundry Line Memories p122

Family Connections

  1. Revolving Artwork Frames p130 (changing out a sibling's art for the new baby)
  2. Wearable Art p137
  3. Table Talk p145 (bringing articles, postcards, ect to the table to share over dinner)

A Mess A Minute

  1. Sand Clay
  2. Baking Soda Clay

You might want to check your local library or bookstore for this out-of-print copy or another of Donna Erickson's books.

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