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468 of 478 people found the following review helpful
on June 14, 2000
Trish Kuffner writes, "Toddlerhood is a precious stage in the life of both parent and child, and one which can be enjoyed immensely if you are prepared to slow down a little, sit on the floor a lot, and worry about picking up the toys only when your child goes to bed at night."
The toddler age is the most mystical age for child and parent - you'll never again have such a rich opportunity to entertain your children with ordinary items and activities!
Kuffner gives us an enormous number of ideas for fun things to do with our children. This is an arts and crafts type of book, and she does something I haven't seen in other activity books. She spends a chapter telling you how to organize for a toddler. She also provides a list of items to buy and old household items to save (dried magic markers, for example).
The rest of the book is laid out equally well. There are chapters on rainy day play, water play, kitchen activities, outdoor adventures, how to entertain the kids when you're on errands or travel, nursery rhymes, learning activities, music, arts & crafts, and even birthday/holiday activities. The appendix lists craft recipes, "crazy can" activities, and best toys/books for toddlers. Very comprehensive and varied.
Reading through this book makes me want to do most of the activities myself if my toddler doesn't want to!
My husband tends toward other fun activities rather than arts and crafts when he entertains the kids. But even he flipped through the book and got interested in some of the activities.
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221 of 229 people found the following review helpful
on July 25, 2001
Parents know that it doesn't take expensive toys and gadgets to entertain a toddler. Any old box or wad of tissue paper will do!
When Trish Kuffner put together "The Toddler's Busy Book", she was keenly aware of this fact, being a mother of five herself. Within the over 500 pages, you will find a multitude of ideas for keeping your little darlings busy and entertained, without spending a fortune. In fact, many of the items used in this great book can be found lying around the house.
Ms. Kuffner includes sections on organizing for a toddler, how to plan your activities, what to keep on hand for quick crafting fun, and even ideas for a weekly activity planner. Chapters include topics such as rainy day play, kids in the kitchen, water play, outdoor adventures, and ideas for keeping kids busy on long car rides. You'll also find a large array of favorite nursery rhymes and finger plays, and great ideas to help develop a love for music in your child.
There's an entire section dedicated to crafts and activities, another for birthdays and holidays, and a useful section containing recipes for all types of homemade play doughs, clays, paints, and more. Many of the ideas in this book are so simple, you may find yourself saying "Why didn't I think of that!". Kudos to Ms. Kuffner on creating an excellent resource for parents of busy little toddlers!
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225 of 236 people found the following review helpful
on June 14, 2003
In the USA we generally refer to a child as being a "toddler" between the ages of 18 months and 3 years of age. However, my 5-year-old "preschooler" enjoys many of the activities in this book as well as his almost 2-year-old sister. I have learned that the best "gift" a parent can give a child is his/her undivided attention for a period of time. I have personally found that by spending one-on-one time with each of my children, even if only for 5-10 minutes one or two times a day, there is a positive change in the daily demeanor and degree of cooperation I get. They look forward to it. It's not that I can't think of things to do with my children, but on one of those really difficult days (I'm sure you know what I mean), it's a big help to glance quickly at some creative simple ideas to choose from. Also, this book comes in handy when a play-date becomes boring or unfriendly. When I am able to redirect the unhappy kids to the kitchen table for a "mommy supervised activity" from this book, the enthusiastic smiles almost always instantly return. When my daughter was born, and big brother's jealousy was on the rise, I used many ideas in this book for the much appreciated one-on-one time... "mommy/big brother time" -- without baby sister. Along with "The Toddler Busy Book", I also recommend another helpful little book filled with positive discipline suggestions for parents of 2-5 year-olds called "The Pocket Parent." I like the easy reference A-Z format of this trouble-shooting guide that addresses many of the most annoying behaviors that too often challenge my sanity. These two books have brought more peace to our family, more cooperation from our children, and more ways for us to enjoy one another.
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78 of 85 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon February 14, 2003
I was home with a sick toddler and a cranky youngster the day this book arrived, and it saved me. The first page I flipped to had an idea for a simple game that I put together in two minutes and had us all laughing for twenty. Bless you, Trish Kuffner!
This book is nicely organized. A chapter of introduction helps you plan, supply and mentally prepare for those long days when you are running out of ideas. The author writes with humor and affection. Subsequent chapters are organized into Rainy Day Play, Kids in the Kitchen, Water Play, Outdoor Adventures, Out and About, Nursery Rhymes and Finger Plays, Early Learning Fun, Music and Movement, Arts and Crafts, and Holidays. Most activities are simple to set up, generally using about three or four household items. Appendices list recipes for basic paints, doughs, glues and clay; a list of activities for a Crazy Can (a random drawing of activities that aren't messy and need little supervisoin so you can, for example, get dinner ready); best toys for babies and toddlers; best books for same; and resources. The index lists projects (but not materials, which would be helpful in later editions).
The book subtitle, 365 Creative Games and Activities to Keep Your 1-1/2- to 3-Year-Old Busy, sells the book short, as I've used these ideas successfully with older children as well.
For those of us who are not good at dreaming up artsy fun things-to-do, this book is a wonderful resource. For those of you who *are* good, you will probably still find some fun ideas in this well-organized, friendly guide.
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50 of 54 people found the following review helpful
Well structured and chock-a-block with ideas. I have bought and borrowed over 10 similar books and I think that this book is the stand-out of the genre. The ideas for busy little people range from the "can do it on the spur of the moment" to those that require preparation and advance planning. For the latter, a wonderful list of "what to save" is included to help parents start their own resource centre for toddler activities. The rainy day ideas, busy box concept and travel bag have been sanity savers. Most activities teach toddlers something interesting while they have fun. Quite a few of the activities are also suitable for (or can be modified to suit)older babies. This has been a wonderful resource for our family. We dip into it regularly and it has helped us plan some great party and playdate afternoons too. Very highly recommended.
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115 of 131 people found the following review helpful
on July 28, 2003
I got this book when my daughter was 1 yr in anticipation of toddlerhood. When I read it I was really excited about all of the good ideas in it, but many didn't work out, or required better craft skills/ supplies/ more setup time than I have. For example Kuffner suggests making nesting cups out of old tin cans--I have yet to find a tin can without a SHARP inside edge. She recommends making shakers out of old containers filled with beans or stones...my daughter got all the glued-on lids off,except the screw on ones, leadng to a big choking hazard. (you're supposed to use a glue gun,which I don't have) So you have to have your own good judgment on safety, and supervise closely. Also, lots of the ideas take up space, so if you live in a 2 bedroom apartment as I do they're tough. And, many kept my daughter's attention for about 30 seconds, after taking 10 times that to set up.
That being said, I'm still using it-alot of ideas work better now that my daughter is three. But I'm not buying Kuffner's preschooler book, I'm going to shop around and see if I can find something that better meets my needs.
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46 of 50 people found the following review helpful
on October 10, 2004
I have twins. They're one-and-a-half, and some days... well, some days they're difficult, let's say that. I bought this book because I know that they are far less likely to get into mischief and/or crabby fits when I have something for them to do (or, more commonly, something planned that we can do together). Having read the entire thing cover-to-cover and made a (very long) list of the activities that I think will work for my kids RIGHT NOW, here's what I want you to know about this book:

It includes something for everyone -- every ability level (child and adult), every area of intelligence (child and adult), and ages far beyond three (some adaptation may be needed with older children).

The author wisely recommends that adults who use the book take the time to do some advance preparation, for the greatest success and enjoyment. She also includes some ideas that take almost no time to set up and cost next to nothing.

There's a strong emphasis on letting a toddler be his or her own person -- on NOT doing the work for him/her, even when it's messy; on finding ways to let him/her "help" you with chores; on accepting and CELEBRATING the exuberant, loud, all-over-the-place energy that comes with toddlerhood.

I'm finding that it's a good resource for directing my shopping for "play stuff." I'm now officially on the lookout for cookie tins from yard sales, plastic scrubbies, and clear contact paper, as opposed to buying stuff that my kids may have no use for in the next two years.

In short, I'm finding this book to be helpful in structuring my life with toddlers, not just an idea book. I don't know that I'll use EVERY suggestion, but there are MANY that will be used over and over again. It's money well spent.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on August 19, 2003
This is a great book for anyone on a budget or who just likes to re-use ordinary things from around your house. The activities are fun, yet simple. It includes a great list of things you should stock in your "craft cupboard", so, you'll always have needed items on hand. Don't throw away that toilet paper roll or those plastic milk caps! I will buy this book as a gift for the next time someone I know has an infant about to become a toddler!
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on March 4, 2006
I just love the size and large easy to read print in this book. Each suggested activity is clearly displayed and explained simply. That is the beauty of it. No need to get too many things that you don't already have in the house. If you have a toddler...this will help keep him or her busy and happy during what could turn into challenging times of the day. I would like to recommend another book to go along with it if you have a toddler or preschooler called THE POCKET PARENT. It is also a small book that clearly addresses many ideas to choose from...relating to challenging behaviors of 2-5 year olds; like hitting, bedtime and mealtime refusals, tantrums, sibling fights, bad words, lying and whining.

Both THE TODDLERS BUSY BOOK and THE POCKET PARENT are consulted often in our house for quick ideas to choose from...especially on those days when I'm feeling drained--almost unable to think. Hundreds of ideas in the 2 books that will help keep parents sane.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on April 19, 2000
We all wonder, are we doing enough with our kids? Trish Kuffner answers this question for us in the intro--she is very encouraging to us moms and others caring for young children, saying that just from being with us day to day, they're learning. That said, she then gives 365 ideas of things to do instead of watching TV. These ideas are easy to implement and I have several that I can't wait for my 19 month old to try.
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