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Best books for doing activities with your kids, creating family memories, and building relationships between parents and children

Best books for doing activities with your kids, creating family memories, and building relationships between parents and children
This entry is part 20 of 70 in the series Spark

Looking to create a project together with your family?

Maybe a holiday project? Something to do between Christmas and New Year’s?

Here are top books to help you get your family together and build something (hopefully) memorable, have a good time doing it, and ideally build a little family camaraderie along the way.


Art Lab for Kids is a refreshing source of wonderful ideas for creating fine art with children. This step-by-step book offers 52 fun and creative art projects set into weekly lessons, beginning with drawing, moving through painting and printmaking, and then building to paper collage and mixed media.

Review Highlights

I bought it to help me do interesting, creative things over the summer with my daughter (6 years old). It’s awesome. The book has helped me put some structure and planning into artwork while offering artists a lot of flexibility during the creation process.


I was looking for activities that left room for true creativity in the final product despite using specific techniques.


What’s also cool is artwork made by artists is included. Great way to introduce young ones to art, inspire further practice and research. I wish I ordered this in book form, but the kindle version is ok.


Art making is a wonderfully fun way for young children to tap into their imagination, deepen their creativity, and explore new materials, all while strengthening their fine motor skills and developing self-confidence. The Artful Parent has all the tools and information you need to encourage your children’s creativity through art. You’ll learn how to set up an art space, how to talk to children about their artwork, how to choose the best art supplies (without breaking the bank), how to repurpose and organize the piles of art created, and even how to use kids’ art activities to soften everyday transitions.

Review Highlights

Being already firmly rooted in the ‘process over product’ camp when it comes to approaching artmaking with kids, I ordered this book out of curiosity. I wondered whether it reveal something new or end up at the bottom of a pile of books I had high hopes for but probably won’t read. Since I didn’t yet know her approach well enough before reading her book, I didn’t know what to expect.

To my surprise, Van’t Hul found a friendly and approachable way to ignite NEW excitement about what I already believe. After reading the book I felt encouraged as a parent in my effort to fill my own family’s life with art and creativity.


What makes this book special? Well, I appreciate that the author has a laid back attitude about art. I like that she is a busy mother like me. I appreciate the projects she suggests and more specifically the suggestions she makes for making time and space for art in the home. Its a very practical approach and the voice of experience shines through for me.


Not a ‘crafty’ Mom and I use this book all the time!
“Get out Ms. Jean’s Book!” is a regular request at our house. I am not someone who does crafts for fun, so I felt a bit awkward about doing arts and crafts with my kid outside of the usual tray of watercolors and paintbrush or a pack of commercial playdoughs. This book is a marvelous guide and changed my parenting and our house for the better! The book is clearly written, well-organized, easy to read, and full of great creative activities for various ages. I feel encouraged and capable when reading her instructions.


When I sat down with my then-8-year old on the red chair in early March of 2014, having just read a really bad children’s book and said, “Wow, that book was pretty bad.” I then immediately followed up with, “We can do better than that.” My son looked at me like I was crazy (I was) and challenged me to follow through on my dare.

I did.

Within a month, we had a book on Amazon.

The question I most get having now written 5 books together with my kids is not about the characters or the dog or the castle or if Lu will ever stop eating fries.*

No. The question I get from parents is, “How in the world did you manage to do a creative project with your kids, how did it go, and how can I do it, too?”

Review Highlights

[These are reviews I’d like to get! But my book isn’t even out yet, so for now, we get to sift through my imagination–and dreams!] I thought that magical time would just land in my lap and I’d have glorious and memorable adventures with my kids. It wasn’t going to happen. I had to make it happen.


[These are reviews I’d like to get! But my book isn’t even out yet, so for now, we get to sift through my imagination–and dreams!] I’m about as creative as a turtle. I thought my brother-in-law would do creative stuff with my kids. But I learned that I could do it. Then I did it. Now I’ve done it.


[These are reviews I’d like to get! But my book isn’t even out yet, so for now, we get to sift through my imagination–and dreams!] I knew I could do this. I could have done this myself. I could have written books, wrote songs, and filmed a movie. But I wasn’t actually doing it WITH my kids. Now I did.


What would it feel like to experience more ease, harmony, and flow in the midst of navigating homework squabbles, mealtimes, commutes, and the other challenges of everyday life? Nurturing the Soul of Your Family is a guidebook for personal and spiritual renewal from the award-winning author of The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal. It offers nurturing support and practical ideas to guide you toward a new way of being.

Review Highlights

I began reading this book when my dear family was going through a difficult time.

After reading this book, I looked at my family with different eyes. Renee’s book gently took me by the hand and reminded me that, yes, I do have hope, and yes, I do have power. Her exercises, practical tools and encouragement inspired me to keep taking those baby steps to nurture my family, trusting that those seeds would grow and bear fruit. She re-encouraged me to live by my values – which are counter to our culture – and to give myself the support to honor them.

I slowly put back into practice the things that nurtured my family’s soul. It helped me find my caring again when I was feeling worn down and tired by the long days and years of motherhood.


My measure if a book is “good” or not includes whether I would read it again, if it sticks with me and if it’s worth buying versus loaning from the library. Nurturing the Soul of Your Family is definitely worth its weight in gold & a book that I will be referencing again and again. (It will also be my new go-to gift for birthdays & holidays!) I can’t shake Renee’s assertion that, “We’re together for a reason. These souls. At this time. In this place. There’s no more perfect incubator or hothouse for personal and spiritual growth than one’s family.” In light of this sacred opportunity, Renee provides very practical, encouraging tips & ideas for how to thrive as a family and not just survive.


This is a phenomenal book for mamas who want concrete ideas on how to more deeply connect with their families and establish soulful rituals and routines in the everyday. I can attest to the growing hunger for this need – in my work with mamas worldwide, I hear time and time again their desire for mentorship and guidance around how to raise their families to a beat of a different drum than society is pounding. I love how Renee’s book helps you get clear on your true desires vs those sold to us from the outside…and then how to lead your flock in those ways. Just a brilliant and timely message.


Encouraging children to let their imagination run wild, Emily K. Neuburger offers 40 inventive projects and activities that will inspire kids ages 5 to 12 to express themselves through storytelling. Younger children will love making story stones and a storytelling jar, while older kids will open up and thrive as they embark on guided story walks and inspiring journaling exercises. Sparking creativity while developing a child’s love of language, Show Me a Story will kindle a lifelong passion for both writing and telling original stories.

Review Highlights

This instantly interested my (electronics obcessed) son who is extremely difficult to engage. He flipped through it on his own, found materials he needed on his own, and made one of the projects on his own on a day I was feeling ill and resting in bed. He has shown a lot of excitement for this book which isn’t typical for him.


Many nice ideas for sparking creative writing, dramatic play, and creative thinking in general. Really this book is a treasure – I see our family utilizing and enjoying this one for many years to come.


Creative writing is almost becoming a lost art form, and this book really helps to get children thinking with their imaginations on their own. You are there to help them get started, and that’s always the hardest part for a writer…the initial idea!


Art Workshop for Children is not just another book of straightforward art projects. The book’s unique child-led approach provides a framework for cultivating creative thinking and encourages the wonder that comes when children are allowed to freely explore the creative process and their materials.

As children work through these open-ended workshops, adults are guided on how to be facilitators who provide questions, encourage deep thinking, and help spark an excitement for discovery.

Review Highlights

Full of hands on activities that are sure to spark creativity in your children, and provide the why behind the projects with the child development essays included between projects.


My kids and I are having a great time picking out projects and creating. Highly recommend. No art background needed.


I thought a few more projects and a little more variety would have made this a GREAT book.


100 kid-friendly projects from the creator of C.R.A.F.T.!

Get ready for some serious family fun! Filled with 100 fun crafts, Creating Really Awesome Free Things helps you develop your child’s creativity, imagination, and fine motor skills–all while using common household items. Each budget-friendly project features step-by-step instructions and keeps kids entertained, engaged, and learning all day long. You and your children will love recreating one-of-a-kind crafts like …

Review Highlights

Be aware that this is really a craft book for doing crafts with really LITTLE kids. Most of the projects here are the kind that might be fun to make but shortly end up in the trash (like: animals made out of toilet paper tubes, a Paper plate ring toss game, A necklace made of colored plastic straws…) so if you were looking for a craft book on how to upcycle with free items around your home, this is not it.


My seven yr old boy dove right into this book. Completed 5 projects in 2 days and can’t wait to do more. I didn’t need to help or supervise (other than to tell him where to find some paper plates). Fantastic screen free time!


If you are a parent who wants to encourage your child’s creativity without actually having to sit down and craft with them, this is the book for you!

Whew! That’s it for now. So many great books with different audiences and age levels and fantastic and creative ideas.

Have you found other books that are also great to do together with the family? Let us know about them in the comments. Thanks for stopping by!

Best books for doing activities with your kids, creating family memories, and building relationships between parents and children

Best books for doing activities with your kids, creating family memories, and building relationships between parents and children. [Photo by sarandy westfall on Unsplash]

Series Navigation<< The One Recipe Cookbook (and how to finish a project together with your kids)Spark: It’s about creating something from nothing. Let’s create a subtitle, shall we? >>


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