At my kids’ school book fair last month, my son picked out the Mo Willems-created, Elephant & Piggie-based We Are in an Art-ivity Book! activity book. I was a bit skeptical that he’d actually work on it, but since I used to love activity books as a kid, I said ok. That afternoon, he holed himself up in his room and did his activity book, all on his own, for an hour and a half. He got about a third of the way through the thing before coming up for air.
That made me start looking into other activity books for my kids. With screen-time as an always alluring option, sometimes I forget that kids can sit and do stuff that don’t involve screens, if the activity is interesting enough. And boy, have activity books gotten so much more interesting since we were young. The old favorites – mazes, word searches, connect-the-dots – are always fun, but there are also so many new and different types of activity books as well. Here are a few cool ones I found, perfect for upcoming road trips, snowy days, and gift giving.
Paper Zoo by Oscar Sabini
Kids 3 and up can create colorful animal collages by cutting up the patterned paper provided and slipping them into the book’s animal-shaped windows, which include a roaring lion, a snapping crocodile, a naughty monkey and more.
Pierre the Maze Detective by Hiro Kamigaki & IC4Design
Part Where’s Waldo, part maze activities, this beautifully illustrated book features 15 full-spread illustrations of intricate, magical mazes. Take a trip through a fantastic world of underground cities, hot-air balloons, tree-top towns and haunted houses. Trace your way through each maze, spot the clues and solve the extra mystery challenges along the way. Best for kids 7 and up.
The 50 States Activity Book by Gabrielle Balkan
I love an educational activity book. This companion to the hit picture book on the 50 states is packed with maps, wildlife, people and places unique to the U.S. states. There’s trivia, picture scrambles, dot-to-dots, plus a double-sided fold-out map and more than 50 stickers. Perfect for older elementary school-aged kids on long journeys.
Lots of Things to Find and Color by Fiona Watts
And for those who just love to color, this coloring/activity book for all ages and adds in a “find it” component that makes it completely irresistible. It’s made by British publisher Usborne, which produces all sorts of other fun and different activity books, like the Wipe-Clean Castle Activities and the Doll’s House Sticker Book.