how to make flibbers (and humdingers!)

the best craft book. ever.

There's this thing I do to get my children interested in certain things -- especially new library books (or used books I buy at the little library shop).  It's complicated, but I'll do my best to explain.  I leave new books lying around on the sofa or the kitchen table, and eventually, a boy will pick it up and start turning pages.

Like most children, mine are naturally curious and like to discover things on their own; however, when I left this book lying on the kitchen table a few weeks ago, I was amazed. My kindergartner opened the book, grabbed a pair scissors, some paper, a pencil, and started following the step-by-step instructions.  The fact that he grabbed art supplies and set himself to work is not at all unusual, but the way he was drawn to the projects in this book, and was then able to create them with complete independence is a testament to its genius.

The projects are utterly simple and very gratifying. The first thing my 5 year old made was something aptly called a Screecher which drove us crazy with an annoying noise. How thrilling!

Next he made this paper worm which can creep along flat surfaces.  The project has an embarrassingly unfortunate title: How to Make a Creepy Willy -- but if you can overlook this, it was really very fun!

Next he made a Humdinger (see above), a Stickit Picture, and then together we made a parachute toy which was hours of fun (a very adventuresome peg doll was repeatedly launched off the front porch, but with the spiffy parachute, it floated gently back to earth each time).

The Beginner Book of Things to Make by Robert Lopshire is seriously is the best little craft book ever.  It was last published in 1977, but you can find used copies of it here and here.

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