I know that the name Martha Stewart and all that it conjures up can be polarizing. Some people love her her style, and some people... Well, if you don't, please take note that, in my 17 years as a bookseller and 20 years as a parent always on the lookout, I never once saw a craft book as all-emcompasing, colorfully and simply designed and ultimately do-able as Martha Stewart's Favorite Crafts for Kids. On top of all that praise I add this crucial observation: a good 160 of the 175 projects included in the book are things that your kids and you can actually use! Only about 15 or so of the crafts will ultimately end up as dust-catchers that you are waiting for your kids to forget about so you can recycle them. I can't think of a better recommendation than that for the essential value of Martha Stewart's Favorite Crafts for Kids! While my kids are for the most part past the age for crafts and I am too old and weary to even begin to consider them, I did subscrib to Martha Stewart's LIVING for a few years back before I worked full time and I made a few crafts from that magazine over the years. Often, her projects called for supplies that were hard to find where I live, even if they were easy to execute. I am the kind of person who wants my project to look like the picture, so that was a bit disappointing. With that in mind, I read Martha Stewart's Favorite Crafts for Kids with a keen eye, always on the lookout for some fancy, fussy material that could be hard to find and might end up costing more than you are willing to shell out. Happily, there are only a few items in this book that you might have to do a little extra searching for and spend a little extra cash on, but everything else is pretty standard fare for a relatively well-stocked craft cupboard. Coming in the final pages of the book, before the index, photo credits and templates are eight pages listing the tools and materials needs to make most of the crafts (only a few of the items listed are actual Martha Stewart products) as well as a page of sources with listings for vendors that the editors "rely on again and again for tools, materials and other craft supplies."
The book is broken into seven sections: Create a Few Characters, Build a Little World, Make Your Own Fun, Design it Yourself, Experiment and Explore, Keep it Together and Give Something Handmade. The best way to tell you about Martha Stewart's Favorite Crafts for Kids is to show you what's inside. What follows are some projects that caught my eye and my eight-year-old son's. There were a few super-cool projects I couldn't find images for like: DUCT-TAPE ACCESSORIES from the Design it Yourself section, including wallets, coin purses and pencil cases. The TOY SERVICE STATION from Build a Little World, is definitely something I would have saved up my oatmeal containers, paper towel tubes and shoe boxes to build with my kids. The same goes for the PEG-BOARD MARBLE RUN from the Make Your Own Fun which a brilliant idea for a build-your-own Rube Goldberg machine. Stewart also shows some cool new ideas for spectacular tie-dye shirts and some snappy new ways to lace up your Chucks!
Create a Few Characters, PIPE CLEANER PALS
Create a Few Characters, PAPER BAG PUPPETS
Experiment and Explore, PHENAKISTOSCOPES
Make Your Own Fun, ELEPHANT STILTS
Make Your Own Fun, KAZOO
Give Something Handmade, GUMDROP LOLLIPOPS
Projects for Older Kids or
Requiring More Parental Involvement
Give Something Handmade, CROSS-STICH FAMILY PORTRAITS
Make Your Own Fun, CORN HUSK DOLLS
Create a Few Characters, FELTED FINGER PUPPETS
Design it Yourself, SUPERHERO COSTUMES
Design it Yourself, BEASTLY MITTENS
Source: Review Copy