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Sunday, April 6, 2014

Outdoor Crafts. DK Publishing, Tourmaline Editions, Inc. 2013. $15.99 ages 7 and up

"Grow a secret fairy ring in a hidden spot in the backyard. You never know, you might attract some fairies! A circle of ornamental grasses, along with delicate sweet-smelling flowers, looks magical and makes a great place to play or have a picnic. Don't forget the fairy cakes!"

The temperature is above freezing today and the weather forecasters say that we might see mid-teens this week! Oh, my gosh! I read yesterday that this has been the coldest winter in Winnipeg since 1898...a weather record that even outdates me! In fact, there is no one now alive who experienced it! Let's hope it takes another 116 years to break that record!

So, believe it or not, we are beginning to think spring here in Manitoba. That invites looking at books that will inspire you and your children to get outside and enjoy the natural beauty of your yard, and perhaps think about what you might do to add your own little touches to it.

This collection of lovely, enjoyable projects is sure to inspire a desire to get out there and make a difference to your surroundings. Its three sections are Make It, Cook It and Create It. Within each of these sections you will find numerous ideas for things that your children can do on their own, some that will require some help from an adult, and all that will offer a sense of satisfaction when completed.

Plants offer food, aroma, and beauty for the yard. In Make It, there are instructions for markers and labels, for creative containers, decorations and more. Each project is accompanied by useful and clear photos and suggestions. They also encourage recycling of common household odds and ends. There are numbered step-by-step instructions and cheery photos of finished efforts that make the backyard sparkle with life, color and individuality.

The recipes in Cook It are mouth-watering, with fairly simple instructions sure to result in tasty morsels to be shared. I'm going to start saving my little yogurt cups now. In the summer, I plan on making the lemonade ice pops using real lemons and honey. YUM! Today, I'm going to try the carrot chips for a tasty snack.

Finally, Create It offers a host of ideas for adding wonder to your backyard while also encouraging natural critters to find food and safety there. If you have ever wanted to try topiary, there are clear instructions for getting started. A new hobby?

A bug quiz, a two page section on cool plants to grow, a glossary and an index complete the book. It is just one of the books in DK Canada's Earthly Pleasures Boutique. Check it out!

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