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Playing Smart: The Family Guide to Enriching, Offbeat Learning Activities for Ages 4-14 Paperback – March, 2001

5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

A one-volume shelf of original ideas. -- L.A. Parent Magazine

Full of interactive ideas. -- Child Magazine

The beauty of this guide is that most games call for nothing more than two people and two brains. -- Working Mother

About the Author

Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist and award-winning author who teaches psychology at Woodbury University and online writing for "Writer's Digest". She has also been a teacher for the Gifted Children's Association of Los Angeles, and was the founder and director of an early childhood program, Discovery House School.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Free Spirit Publishing; Rev Exp edition (March 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1575420953
  • ISBN-13: 978-1575420950
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 7.3 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #274,602 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Wow, this is just an awesome book for any parent, grandparent, caregiver, teacher... It was an "impulse buy" and turned out to be the best child activity book I have ever seen. As a former professional, college educated stay-at-home mom, I wanted to move beyond "Candyland" and "Go Fish" and have more fun with my kids. This book provides a wealth of information that makes having fun with them a lot of fun for me!
There are 14 chapters, after the introduction. Each CHAPTER provides a background on the topic, helpful information, many ideas and projects to try, sidebars with even more information and ideass, and a very extensive "resources" section with additional books, websites, relevant games, music and more. Chapters include Instant Fun, Playing around with Photography, Mind Snacks: Recipes for Kitchen Learning, The Junior Geographer, celebrate the Senses, and so on. The book provides a very well rounded experience without being "preachy". It isn't a "learning book" and doesn't teach skills, so to speak, but a child can't help but learn and grow from the activities listed. Most activities are free or require a very small investment.
Each chapter is a treasure. For example, the first chapter, Instant Fun, makes waiting with kids actually fun. There are 30 "instant games" (for example, picking out someone walking by or a fellow patient in a waiting room and making up a creative story about them, turning your hand into a puppet with instructions, things to do while waiting for a meal in a restaurant, etc.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
PLAYING SMART is a treasure trove of clever ideas. Using the simple and familiar, Susan K. Perry shows us how we can turn the most ordinary experiences into opportunities for creativity, learning, and fun, teaching children to begin a lifelong love of education and imagination. A walk becomes an adventure into biology and nature as well as a chance to make up stories about people, to notice change in daily surroundings. The backyard is filled with learning how to grow edible and decorative plants with an aesthetic appreciation of their variety and arrangement, along with respect for other living creatures. Cooking with your children, you can both learn about nutrition, health, and safety, fostering good habits that will serve them well in our fast food and junk food culture. Waiting in line and long car rides become openings for psychological sharing and excursions into the imagination.
Nearly all of the ideas in this book can be used by adults to stimulate their own creativity and get out of their daily ruts. I especially appreciated the sections of doing dreamwork and personal journaling with children. I frequently recommend this book to parents and teachers.
~~review by Joan Mazza, author of Dream Back Your Life; Dreaming Your Real Self; and 3 books in The Guided Journal Series with Writer's Digest/Walking Stick Press.
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Format: Paperback
Here's where to turn for creative responses to "How much longer?" -- that classic question asked by children of all ages -- when sitting in traffic, waiting in the doctor's office, or standing in line at the supermarket. You and your kids (ages 4-14) will enjoy the offbeat, simple games in Playing Smart. The fun ideas in this book will turn, "Aren't we there yet?!" into "Are we there already?!"
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Susan K. Perry's writing is always a delight. PLAYING SMART is filled with fun ideas that will entertain children AND adults. Each chapter offers dozens of suggestions to open children's minds to love learning, improve their powers of observation and innovative thinking, and to be respectful of the world and all its beauty. Many many resources listed for games, supplies, and further information. Children will learn they need never say they are bored again.
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