The best family activity books

Who am I?

I love playing with my kids. When my eldest was eight and we were sitting on the porch together he said, “On my last day of being playful, I want to play with you the whole day. I sure hope it’s on a Saturday.” My kids know that I turn most things into a game, that I’ll screech and stop for a tarantula on the road because it’s educational, that I'll get them to sing their quiz answers, and that I’ll sculpt a cake into almost anything for a school project. I believe learning should be fun, so we would drink lemonade out of measuring cups, guess how many hops from the bed to the closet, and have Whipped Cream Spray Wars every summer (outside, thank you). I also think families would spend more time together if they had a great collection of cool—and easy—stuff to do together. As a writer I’m creative, and never run out of fun ideas. Why not share them with the world?


I wrote...

Family Funbook

By Joni Hilton,

Book cover of Family Funbook

What is my book about?

I’ve always involved my four kids in short activities to get them to hurry along—they never wanted to miss “project time.” It was so fun that it grew until my friends begged me to compile my ideas into a book. Well, two books, actually (the other one is called Five Minute Miracles: 373 Quick Daily Projects for You and Your Kids to Share). If you want quality family time, and wish you had an easy manual of ideas, you have come to the right mom! These just use items you already have around the house, and you’ll love the laughs and closeness they’ll build. Oh—and definitely snap photos.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Astronomy Lab for Kids: 52 Family-Friendly Activities

Joni Hilton Why did I love this book?

I love science and this book specializes in astronomy. Nichols helps kids get excited about the night sky, planets, and much more. She shows them how to make their own telescope and uses a microwave and a chocolate bar to teach them about the speed of light. A great dip into a wonderful topic.

By Michelle Nichols,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Astronomy Lab for Kids as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Explore the wonders of the universe through hands-on fun! In Astronomy Lab for Kids, science educator Michelle Nichols has compiled 52 labs and activities that use everyday materials from around the house to encourage kids, their friends, and their families to look up, down, and around at everything from the shadows on the ground to the stars in the sky.

Mini astronomers will learn about things such as the size and scale of planets using sandwich cookies and tennis balls, how to measure the speed of light with a flat candy bar and a microwave, how to make a simple…


Book cover of Maker Dad: Lunch Box Guitars, Antigravity Jars, and 22 Other Incredibly Cool Father-Daughter DIY Projects

Joni Hilton Why did I love this book?

I like this father-daughter book, especially because it includes topics not always emphasized for girls: computer programming, hand tools, and problem-solving technology. But it’s also creative and uses affordable supplies. Maker Fairs are sweeping the planet and kids are discovering that geekiness is actually cool.

By Mark Frauenfelder,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Maker Dad as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As the editor in chief of MAKE magazine, Mark Frauenfelder has spent years combing through DIY books, but he’s never been able to find one with geeky projects he can share with his two daughters. Maker Dad is the first DIY book to use cutting-edge (and affordable) technology in appealing projects for fathers and daughters to do together. These crafts and gadgets are both rewarding to make and delightful to play with. What’s more, Maker Dad teaches girls lifelong skills—like computer programming, musicality, and how to use basic hand tools—as well as how to be creative problem solvers. The book’s…


Book cover of The Travel Activity Book

Joni Hilton Why did I love this book?

Traveling is a time when you often need to entertain a bored child on a train, plane, or in a car. This book has tons of great games, puzzles, stickers, and even cultural information that will educate your child. Lots of photography and illustrations to entertain, as well. A good mix of education and fun.

By DK Publishing,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Travel Activity Book as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 2, 3, 4, and 5.

What is this book about?

Make car and plane trips a blast with these fun, educational travel activities for kids. The interactive games and travel journal will keep kids busy during vacations and school holidays.

Doodles to draw, puzzles to solve, games to play, and stickers to find--children will be entertained whether the family is traveling by car, plane, or even just hanging poolside. The Travel Activity Book includes a unique blend of illustrations and photography for lots of visual fun. The book also highlight facts and information about real destinations and monuments, so children can discover life and culture around the world. Learns about…


Book cover of Try Not to Laugh Challenge Camping Joke Book: for Kids!

Joni Hilton Why did I love this book?

This is the book that’ll definitely get ‘em laughing. I like the idea of camping at home—in your living room or in your back yard—as well as in the wilderness. And this book is fun to bring along. Camping and nature-themed riddles, silly jokes, games, and lots of interactive laughs. Good for all ages, too.

By Howling Moon Books, C.S. Adams,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Try Not to Laugh Challenge Camping Joke Book as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Hilarious Camp Joke Book for Kids!!
Hike right into the Wilderness with these LOL Camper-Approved Jokes that the Whole Family will Enjoy!
Funny Outdoor Jokes, Silly Nature Riddles & Punny Knock-knocks about Camping, Hiking, Backpacking, Bigfoot, Bugs, Wildlife, & Glamping!
Play the Popular Try Not to Laugh Challenge Joke Game!
A Really Fun Interactive Game for Kids, Teens & Adults!
OR
Read Jokes to Each Other While you Travel or Read This Book for Lots of Campfire Chuckles!
Great Activity for Summertime, Summer Camp & Camping Trips!
Put this Joke Book on your Packing List for Your Next Outdoor Adventure!…


Book cover of Social Skills for Kids: From Making Friends and Problem-Solving to Self-Control and Communication

Joni Hilton Why did I love this book?

Even tiny kids get glued to their game screens, without being connected to the internet yet. And older kids are even more addicted. We've all heard how dependent kids are on "likes" and how depressed they get if their life doesn't compare with what they see online. This means we have an entire generation of kids who spend waaay too much time on the computer. They haven't developed as many social skills as they're going to need. And this book addresses it. Children will feel more confident at school and in any social setting. I'd love to see manners and etiquette lessons come back-- here's a start!

By Keri K. Powers,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Social Skills for Kids as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Help your children develop essential social skills-including groups, one-on-one interactions, and virtual communication-with these 150 easy, fun activities to teach your kids how to socially succeed.

From taking turns to making eye contact to staying engaged during conversations, developing appropriate social skills is an important factor for kids to be able to succeed in school and life in general. But how can you tell if your child is really making progress while you read the same stories, have the same conversations, and chaperone the same playdates? The answer is to add some variety to your child's daily activities with these…


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At What Cost, Silence?

By Karen Lynne Klink,

Book cover of At What Cost, Silence?

Karen Lynne Klink Author Of At What Cost, Silence?

New book alert!

Who am I?

Author Child abuse survivor Reader Adventure traveler Animal lover

Karen's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

Secrets, misunderstandings, and a plethora of family conflicts abound in this historical novel set along the Brazos River in antebellum Washington County, East Texas.

It is a compelling story of two neighboring plantation families and a few of the enslaved people who serve them. These two plantations are a microcosm of a country on the brink of war, encompassing a variety of issues: love and friendship between men, relationships between fathers and sons, sibling rivalry, slavery, and the position of women in society.

At What Cost, Silence?

By Karen Lynne Klink,

What is this book about?

Adrien Villere suspects he is not like other boys. For years, he desperately locks away his feelings and fears-but eventually, tragedy and loss drive him to seeking solace from his mentor, a young neighbor Jacob Hart. Jacob's betrayal of Adrien's trust, however, results in secret abuse, setting off a chain of actions from which neither Adrien's wise sister, Bernadette, nor his closest friend, Isaac, can turn him.

At What Cost, Silence presents two contrasting plantation families in a society where strict rules of belief and behavior are clear, and public opinion can shape an entire life. Centerstage are the Villeres,…


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