Amazing Aotearoa Activity Book by Gavin Bishop

Gavin Bishop’s Aotearoa: The New Zealand Story and Wildlife of Aotearoa have been some of the best New Zealand nonfiction books for kids in recent years. They are books that myself and the kids at school come back to again and again, finding new bits of information every time. I was very excited to see a new activity book based on these books pop through my mailbox yesterday and I couldn’t wait to share it.

The Amazing Aotearoa Activity Book is bursting with Gavin Bishop’s fantastic illustrations and activities for all ages, based on the information found inside the nonfiction books. The book starts with activities that get kids to introduce themselves and their whānau. They can fill in their pepeha and draw their whānau. From here kids can travel back to the time of the gods or the dinosaurs, meet famous animals, create their own country and treaty, write stories, decipher secret codes, and colour in to their heart’s content.

The Amazing Aotearoa Activity Book will get kids (and adults) designing, creating, and imagining. It is an activity book so beautiful you almost don’t want to write and draw in it. It has been designed and produced with the same care and attention as Gavin’s previous Aotearoa books. There is something in this book for the whole family. Parents could work on the activities with younger children or older children could complete the activities themselves.

Like Gavin Bishop’s other Aotearoa books, te reo Māori and te ao Māori are incorporated into the information and activities throughout the book. This is one of my favourite aspects of the book as it exposes kids to Māori language and culture.

The Amazing Aotearoa Activity Book is released on 29 September, just in time for the school holidays. This would certainly make a great gift. It will give kids hours of entertainment.

The Nature Activity Book by Rachel Haydon and Pippa Keel

The Nature Activity Book by Rachel Haydon and illustrated by Pippa Keel is an activity book that all homes in NZ should have on the shelf. Not only is it the perfect activity book to engage all ages of kids when we all have to stay at home, it’s also the perfect book to get the whole family outside and exploring nature. Whether you are stuck in your own back yard or discovering part of the country you’ve never been to, this book helps you enjoy nature using all five senses. This book helps you become a waewae kai kapua- an adventurer.

There are 99 brilliant activities in this book that are fun, informative and reflective. The activities are split into sections, including Experiments and Inquiry, and Sense and Mindfulness. Activities range from collecting items such as leaves and feathers, listening out for the sounds around you, and making nature scavenger hunts, to making dyes from fruits and vegetables, making bird feeders, and observing clouds. Just flicking through the book makes me want to get outside and do the activities. I love that there are activities to keep kids busy but also activities to help kids slow down and be mindful. There are plenty of activities that involve you just sitting or lying on the grass, listening to and looking at what is happening around you. Some activities kids could do independently, while others would be more fun as a family. Each of the activities use materials that you have around home, like scissors, bamboo skewers, or a sponge. Rachel and Pippa give you a helpful list of materials at the start of the book but they suggest that you can improvise or find alternatives.

The Nature Activity Book is not one of those cheaply produced activity books that you’d find at Kmart. This is a beautiful book, with quality paper and it has been wonderfully designed. Pippa’s illustrations fill the book with flora, fauna and wildlife that gives it a very Kiwi feel. There is plenty of space to write, draw, colour and collect the things you find. There’s a great glossary and even suggested websites to visit to find more information about bees, day walks and native deciduous plants.

One of my favourite aspects of the book is that Rachel has seamlessly woven te reo Māori and tikanga Māori into the activities. I learnt so many useful te reo words while reading through the activities, like mīharo (awe and wonder), kapua (clouds) and waewae kai kapua (adventurer). One of the sections of activities focuses on how kids can take action to look after our natural world and be a kaitiakitanga or guardian of the land.

Get a copy of The Nature Activity Book for the kids in your life now. It is an invaluable resource for all Kiwi families.

The Treehouse Fun Book 2 by Jill Griffiths, Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton

Do you know a fan of Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton’s Treehouse series? Are you looking for something to occupy them these school holidays? You need to rush out to your nearest bookshop and buy a copy of The Treehouse Fun Book 2 from the creators of the Treehouse series.

The Treehouse Fun Book 2 is the perfect book for any fan of the brilliantly funny series.  It is chock full of Terry’s hilarious illustrations that kids love and Andy, Jill and Terry’s crazy antics.  It’s a book to make kids really feel like a part of the series as they fill in their details at the start of the book and get to control the action by writing and drawing. You can use the combining machine to make crazy new animals, create moo-vie posters, decipher coded messages, create a disaster in the treehouse, write in speech bubbles to create wacky conversations between animals, and make up names for Jill’s rabbits.  There really is hours of entertainment in this book and it will have kids laughing out loud.

Grab a copy of The Treehouse Fun Book 2 to keep your kids entertained these school holidays.