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Saturday, July 22, 2006 Arts & Crafts Book Review - Kathy Ross Crafts

Kathy Ross Crafts
Letter Shapes
Letter Sounds
Triangles, Rectangles, Circles and Squares

Here's a delightful series of arts and crafts books to teach or reinforce letters, numbers, and shapes with your children. Kathy Ross is one of my favorite kids crafts authors, because the projects are age-appropriate and use common items. Most of the projects encourage further play and exploration, too. Best of all, they're always a hit with the kids!

Letter Sounds contains 29 different projects. Every letter is represented - from "Activity on an Anthill" to "Zipper-Bag Zoo Book." The last 3 projects use the entire alphabet. The final project uses and Altoids mint tin, a magnetic strip, construction paper and a hole punch to make a take-along letter builder in a box. Great for car trips and waiting rooms. Some of my other favorites inclued "Pear Print Penguins," "High-House Hat," and " Under an Umbrella."

Letter Shapes continues the theme - from Airplane A to Zinnia Z, with a few extra alphabet projects at the end. Each project is based on a pre-cut letter. If you're working with a group, they suggest using a die-cut machine. Most of the projects also include other words and images from that letter, which may give you more ideas to build on and talk about while making the project.

Numbers starts with a project for the numbers 1-10, but has several projects incorporating numbers - calendar markers, playing card counters, clock, cell phone, and more. I liked the "Bathtub Boat and Two of each Crayon Animals," which uses up the old crayons in the bin. "Seven-Day Story" also teaches the days of the week and encourages story-telling. "Gift-Bag House" helps kids learn their house numbers.

In Triangles, Rectangles, Circles, and Squares, each project focuses on one type of shape, and there are a five projects for each shape. Most are paper-crafts, with construction paper and glue. Each then uses one or two unique items from wiggle eyes to buttons. "Hairy Squarey" used an empty small pudding box as a decorated planter that grows grass seed. In triangles, we make a triangle handbell, triangle page markers and more. The square decorated post-it pad is a cute gift, too.

This series is great for those who need an introduction to letters, numbers and shapes, and those who could use a reinforcement. Beginning readers will also take to these creative projects and go far with them.

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