Monday, March 18, 2013

This Book Made Me Do It by DK Publishing

DK is celebrating Spring Break with its "Time to Play" promotion. This week I'll be featuring three books from their Time to Play boutique. If spring break has already passed in your area, these books can be used for family time or other times when the kids need something to do. Click here or on the photo on the left to see some other books.

This Book Made Me Do It is filled with activities, crafts and how-tos for the whole family. Whether it's baking a cake, learning to knit, nailing a free throw, or learning how to use your watch to find your way, this book shows you how to do it.

I love this book! It's great that the authors chose to include activities from so many different areas and ones of varying degrees of length and difficulty. It's geared towards 10-17 year-olds, but I think the younger ones in this range will get the most out of it. Who can tell with teenagers?

The book is divided into sections. The groupings are ok, but some of them seem pretty arbitrary. The "Amaze Your Friends" chapter, features activities that involve magic, dance, astrology, even landing a plane! The "Exploring the World" chapter features stuff like finding constellations, growing crystals, sprouting a bean, and panning for gold. The "Survive in the Wild" section includes activities like making a compass, cooking, fishing, lighting a campfire, plus a lot of other stuff you hope you'll never have to use, like surviving an avalanche and first aid. Other sections include a food section, a creative/crafty section and a sports section; all pretty self explanatory.

I'm just amazed at the variety of activities. Some take specialized equipment, others no or very little equipment at all. Some are quick and easy, others are more involved. There are others that are quite practical, while others are whimsical. It's all very cool. Of course, there are some things you probably won't be able to do or try out (land a plane, climb Mount Everest), but it's fun to learn about the steps you'd have to take in order to do so.

For the purposes of this review, I decided to do a couple of the activities. The two that I chose: make origami animals (page 72) and cook for birds (page 98). Overall, it was a lot of fun. However, the origami instructions were a little confusing and the bird food didn't have amounts. See below for more photos and details. I'll probably be doing a few more of the activities if spring and summer ever get here. These include: making a weathervane (page 108) and planting some sunflower seeds (page 101).

Other than the small complaints above, I found that a few of the pages were hard to read, especially those printed on polka dotted backgrounds, like the index. Maybe it's just my old eyes. ;)

The table of contents is extensive. It lists the section heading along with all of the activities in that section. The format could be improve a little by somehow setting the section headings apart from their contents by using a different font or font size or by using the Italics or bold typeface. The index was good, even though it was a little hard to read.

Highly recommended for the whole family.

For more information about this book, please visit DK's website.

I'd like to thank those nice people at DK Canada for this review copy.

This Book Made Me Do It by DK Publishing, Dorling Kindersley (DK) ©2010. ISBN 9780756668815(Hardcover), 192p.

My Activities

Origami Animals I previously purchased some origami paper for another craft, but hadn't gotten around to doing it. I figured this was an easy one to start with. The instructions were a little confusing, but for my first attempt I think they turned out pretty good. Here's a swan and a pig:

Origami Animals
The pig can actually stand up, but it's a little unsteady on his feet. Because the paper is so thin, I kept blowing him over. It was just easier to lay him down.

Cook for birds I already have lots of bird feeders in my backyard, but I hadn't made any of the food myself. I had all of the ingredients so I decided to make my own suet treats. It turned out to be pretty easy. However, the activity/recipe didn't give any amounts, so I had to wing it. Also, one of the tips was to add a perch for smaller birds, but it didn't say how to do it. I tried, but it didn't turn out that great. I don't think it's sturdy enough for perching on. So far, the birds haven't been too interested in it. I did see 1 chickadee peck at it a couple of times, so there's still hope. Part of the problem is that I have lots of other food out there for them. Here are some photos:

Homemade Suet Ingredients
Ingredients. I used 283 grams (10 oz) of plain suet and approximately two cups of bird food (sunflower chips, dried meal worms, shelled peanuts)

Homemade Suet
All done. Now they just have to cool. I was impatient, so I put them in the freezer for a few hours rather than leaving them to cool overnight. It seemed to work ok. Who knew that dried meal worms would float, though? If nothing else, the gross factor is high.

Homemade Suet hanging outside Homemade Suet
Feeders outside. I'm pretty sure that these would melt under the summer sun on a really warm day, so I hope to use them up before summer.


  1. Update on the bird food: There was a red-breasted nuthatch pecking away at the suet this morning! Yay!

  2. Another Update: I changed the security settings on the photos so that now you want see larger versions of them by clicking on them (you be redirected to Flickr). Sorry about that.

  3. You reviewed quite a few interesting craft books, loved them all. Yuck on the worms and kudos to you for doing that. But I suppose if the birds love it it was all for a good cause.


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