Last week my family traveled to Minnesota to watch my husband graduate after over 6 years of hard work on his PhD. After years of watching him fly off to school, we couldn’t wait to all travel together to celebrate his accomplishment. BUT, I admit I was a little nervous. We had never taken the kids (6 & 4) on a plane before and I knew that once we got into Minnesota that we would have fun but there would be some moments that the kids would need to sit quietly and be on their best behavior. Judging from a recent church service when my 4-year-old decided to pew hop without any warning in the middle of the hymn, I knew that I needed to come prepared. When Little Bee Books requested that I choose a couple books to review from their recent catalog, I chose the Big Blue Activity Book, Big Pink Activity Book, plus the Build a Book for Boys. And, wow, was I glad that I did so. These books have proven to be such an incredible hit with my kids that I’m thinking of stocking up for future birthday gifts! I can confidently recommend too that you should consider these books as a way to entertain kids while traveling or for any activity that you need quietly occupied kids for a longer period of time.
I accepted copies of these books to review and this post contains affiliate links. All opinions remain my own.
Big Blue Activity Book
Written by Libby Hamilton and illustrated by Jon Lambert
The cover of The Big Blue Activity Book describes it as a doodling, coloring, activity-o-rama. It’s refreshingly non-academic (but definitely brain-power boosting) and bursting with creativity & imaginative promps. Even I was peering through it thinking that I could probably spend a good couple of hours playing with the book myself (seriously, where is the adult version?). The book includes almost 40 individual activities/coloring pages with a 1000 accompanying stickers. The pages are all full of details to be colored in and most of the pages give doodling instructions as well. The stickers aren’t an afterthought but add a fun colorful twist to specific pages.
Some of our favorite pages included:
- Funny Fruit – the pages included cute drawings of fruit with instructions to add faces & give names.
- Pond Life – a coloring page of a pond with plenty of blank space to doodle fish or add colorful fish and frog stickers from the back (there were even tadpole eggs)
- Invent-a-thon – This page had the beginning and end of an “eggsperiment” with directions to draw in the rest of the invention. There were also some bolt, switch, and other invention themed stickers in the back of the book.
- Ahoy there, Pirate Island – A connect the dots (no numbers just dots) to complete a pirate ship, plus a blank area of the sea to add a pirate island. Stickers included pirate themed items such as a treasure chest and flag, cannon balls, and treasure.
- Don’t Play with Your Food, Doodle Your Dinner – blank dinner plates with an example plate that showed food doodled to create a face.
- Customize Your Shoes – A page of tennis shoes with a prompt to color and doodle the shoes.
These are just some of the great pages. Every page of the book was impressive and even more fun were the conversations that came out of the pages such as my son’s long complicated explanation of his egg machine. We even spent some fun moments together coloring in pages at the same time or locating the perfect stickers.
Set to be released on June 2nd!
See the Big Blue Activity Book on Amazon
Big Pink Activity Book
I was a little worried that my spunky little girl who loves monsters and mummies would rebel against a hot pink activity book, but I was completely wrong. While there was some girl-targeted content, the book was packed with so much fun my 7-year-old boy was eyeing it too. And, my 4-year-old was delighted to hear directions on the castle page to draw herself as a princess saving a knight from a dragon. My 4-year-old loved her book so much that she’s continued to doodle in it every day since our trip. She even had another kid enviously eyeing it last time we had the book out.
Some of our favorite pages included:
- Ice Cream Galore! – this page had ice cream cones with directions to make new flavors using ice cream scoop & topping stickers and doodling
- Jewelry Box – Every kid (even boys) won’t be able to stop making interesting jewelry using jewel and pendant stickers
- Hair Salon – This page was full of heads with space to doodle fun hair dos, cute hair accessory stickers were included
- Face Painting – A page of faces with directions to doodle fun face paint designs, plus a blank space to draw yourself
- All Fingers and Thumbs – A place to draw doodles from fingerprints and space to add your own prints
- Pretty Nails – A page of hands with fun printed nail stickers to decorate the nails, plus space to outline your own hand and decorate it.
We loved both of the books, and I can assure you that both are still getting quite a bit of use. In fact, I had trouble stealing the books for long enough to write this review. Both books are currently back in my kids hands keeping them quiet as they wind down to sleep.
While there are a couple similar pages between the two books, they are uniquely different enough that you could easily purchase too. While the books are “blue” and “pink”, both my boy and girl flipped back and forth between the two books and often worked on pages together.
Set to be released on June 2nd!
Build a Book for Boys
This book drew my attention with it’s tagline “Creative writing for creative kids.” While I packed this book for the trip, I plan to also use it as a fun writing prompt for homeschooling as well. The book is designed for kindergarten through 5th graders, and I think that the older spectrum would enjoy it the most. My child just turned seven and is finishing kindergarten this year, so the book was a little advanced for him to use to its potential. We were easily able to simply the writing activities for his grade level though.
The book is colorful and has a wide variety of topics from biographical sections such as “write about your hopes and dreams for the future” to a super hero story. The book also includes directions on how to write with fun activities that encourage kids to think of adjectives and varied ways of saying things. The book also includes spaces for artwork.
We decided to do the pages together because I wanted my child to be able to enjoy the writing process rather than getting hung up in the mechanics of trying to sound out words. The book provided some fun conversations as we tackled the assignments and I was tickled that he chose Les Miserables as his favorite book to write about. (Don’t worry, he has a kid-friendly abridged audio version).
I would definitely recommend any one of these books and based on these books I’m eager to see what else little bee books publishes in the future. Plus, I definitely have some ideas for future birthday gifts. Shh, don’t tell!
Do you have any books that your kids love for traveling? Please share in the comments!