Family Fun


This topical guide will introduce you to important books, videos, and information resources available from the EI Clearinghouse and other sources.

Contact us via online form or by phone (1-877-275-3227) to request a resource listed below (or ask your local public librarian). Note that some videos may be viewed online, and journal titles will take you to the publisher’s homepage.

mom and child blowing bubbles


The Sand Bucket List: 366 Things to Do With Your Kids Before They Grow Up
David Hoffman
Running Press, 2012
Whether it’s simple, silly, selfless, or an aspiration, this book is the ultimate handbook for reimagining quality time and creating magical shared experiences as you go.
Call#: GV 182.8 .H64 2012

I Love Dirt! 52 Activities to Help You and Your Kids Discover the Wonders of Nature
Jennifer Ward
Trumpeter, 2008
This book presents 52 open-ended activities to help you engage your child in the outdoors. No matter what your location—from a small patch of green in the city to the wide-open meadows of the country—each activity is meant to promote exploration, stimulate imagination, and heighten a child’s sense of wonder.
Call#: GV 197.63 .W39 2008

Fifteen Minutes Outside: 365 Ways to Get Out of the House and Connect with Your Kids
Rebecca Cohen
Sourcebooks, 2011
This collection of activities gives families an idea for every day of the year, requiring little planning, no expertise, and relatively little resources (time, cash, or patience!), no matter where they live.
Call#: GV 182.8 .C64 2011

52 Simple and Fun Activities for Dads and Kids: Simple Ways for Busy Dads to Connect with their Kids
Brent Johnstone
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2016
This book has ideas that will help father/child interaction flourish on a weekly basis.
Call#: HQ 756 .J65 2016

The Rhythm of Family: Discovering a Sense of Wonder Through the Seasons
Amanda Blake Soule
Trumpeter, 2011
This book explores what we learn and can gain as parents and families by encouraging and experiencing creativity and nature exploration with our children, the seasons can provide us with a rhythm that brings us close to the earth, and closer to our children.
Call#: GT 2420 .S67 2011

The Artful Parent: Simple Ways to Fill Your Family’s Life With Art and Creativity
Jean Van’t Hul
Roost Books, 2013
From stomping around in mud boots in the spring to gathering around the woodstove in winter, the activities in this book naturally change from season to season—from the rhythms of the seasons comes the rhythms in our homes, our hearts, our families, and our every day.
Call#: TT 157 .V285 2013

30 Fun Ways to Learn With Blocks and Boxes
Clare Beswick
Gryphon House, 2011
From building basic models and mazes to constructing complex stairs and bridges, box and block activities ignite children’s imaginations and engage their creativity and critical thinking.
Call#: GV 1218 .B6A27 2011

Treasure Basket Explorations: Heuristic Learning for Infants and Toddlers
Laura Wilhelm
Gryphon House, 2017
In this book, teachers and caregivers of infants and toddlers will learn how these simple explorations support cognitive and vocabulary development.
Also available as an eBook
Call#: LB 1139.35 .P55 W55 2017

Baby Steps to STEM: Infant and Toddler Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Activities
Jean Barbe
Redleaf Press, 2017
This book supplies 50 play-based developmentally appropriate activities for introducing STEM. All activities include extensions, inquiry questions, and tips on how to help parents strengthen children’s learning at home.
Call#: LB 1140.5 .S35 B37 2017

150+ Screen-Free Activities for Kids: The Very Best and Easiest Playtime Activities
Asia Citro
Adams Media, 2014
Complete with dozens of ideas for babies, toddlers, and school-aged children, this book will help your family step away from your devices and step into endless afternoons of playtime fun!
Call#: TT 157 .C4984 2014

And the Cow Jumped Over the Moon: Over 650 Activities to Teach Toddlers Using Familiar Rhymes and Songs
Pam Schiller and Thomas More
Gryphon House, 2006
With more than 250 songs, rhymes, and chants, this book is a fun way to enrich toddlers’ language experiences.
Also available as an eBook
Call#: MT 920 .S334a 2006

Banish Boredom: Activities to Do with Kids That You’ll Actually Enjoy
Rebecca Green
Gryphon House, 2016
This book offers new ideas for parents who are looking for fun and educational activities that they can do with their kids but that are also fun and interesting for the parents themselves.
Also available as an eBook
Call#: GV 182.8 .G74 2016

Screen-free fun: 400 activities for the whole family
Shannon Philpott-Sanders
Adams Media, 2018
This book has 400 ways to have fun as a family without staring at a screen. DIY projects, outdoor adventures, easy daytrips, etc. are all examples of possible activities in this book.
Call#: GV 182.8 .P55 2018
Also available as an eBook

Talking With Your Toddler: 75 Fun Activities and Interactive Games That Teach Your Child to Talk
Teresa Laikko and Laura Laikko
Ulysses Press, 2016
This book teaches you how to stimulate speech using everyday play. It makes learning to talk fun and engaging for your child using easy-to-follow activities.
Call#: P 118.5 .L35 2016
Also available as an eBook

The Book of Gardening Projects for Kids: 101 Ways to Get Kids Outside, Dirty, and Having Fun
Whitney Cohen and John Fisher
Timber Press, 2012
This book features simple, practical gardening advice, including how to design a play-friendly garden, ideas for fun-filled theme gardens, and how to cook and preserve the garden’s bounty.
Available as an eBook

Game On! Screen-Free Fun for Children Two and Up
Linda Armstrong
Redleaf Press, 2018
This book is a collection of screen-free, traditional games and activities for young children that require nothing more than people and their brains to play.
Available as an eBook

The 52 New Foods Challenge: A Family Cooking Adventure for Each Week of the Year, with 150 Recipes
Jennifer Tyler Lee
Penguin, 2014
This book is the perfect companion for any busy parent who wants to stop stressing over mealtime and find a creative, playful solution to make this family ritual relaxing and fun.
Available as an eBook

Project Kid: 100 Ingenious Crafts for Family Fun
Amanda Kingloff
Artison, 2014
This book provides basic crafting lessons for children of all ages.
Available as an eBook

Teach Your Child Meditation: 70 Fun & Easy Ways to Help Kids De-Stress and Chill Out
Lisa Roberts
Sterling, 2018
Whether the goal is for a child to sleep better, concentrate before a big test or game, or enjoy some much-needed relaxation, this guide helps anyone who loves and plays with children to introduce them to the many benefits of meditation.
Available as an eBook

Kitchen Science Lab for Kids: 52 Family Friendly Experiments from the Pantry
Liz Lee Heinecke
Quarry Books, 2014
This book will tempt families to cook up some physics, chemistry and biology in their own kitchens and back yards. Many of the experiments are safe enough for toddlers and exciting enough for older kids, so families can discover the joy of science together.
Available as an eBook

The Grandparents Handbook
Elizabeth Laban
Quirk Books, 2010
This book includes dozens of activities for grandparents and grandchildren, including scavenger hunts, fruit cobblers, bath-time fun, and more.
Available as an eBook

Everyday Play: Fun Games to Develop the Fine Motor Skills Your Child Needs for School
Christy Isbell
Gryphon House, 2010
Organized by age, this book gives you the tools needed to make developing fine motor skills easy and fun for young children.
Available as an eBook

The Toddler Bistro: Toddler-Approved Recipes and Expert Nutrition Advice
Christina Schmidt
Bull, 2009
This book offers parents a fresh approach to feeding a toddler by providing tips and tricks for quick shopping, easy recipes, and nutrient and supplement needs.
Available as an eBook

365 Toddler Activities That Inspire Creativity: Games, Projects, and Pastimes That Encourage a Child’s Learning and Imagination
Joni Levine
F+W Media, 2012
This book provides hundreds of entertaining toddler activities, songs, games, and art projects that stimulate cognitive development and encourage inventiveness.
Available as an eBook


Age-appropriate play.
Volume 1, The first 12 months
Volume 2, 12-24 months
Volume 3, 2 -3 years
15 minutes each; DVD
InJoy Productions, 2004
In these videos, parents and caregivers will learn what social, language and motor milestones young children will be reaching and how to play in a way that supports these achievements. Viewers will discover how to stimulate skills development through age-appropriate games, toys and activities that are easy to understand and fun to implement.
Call#: HQ 782 .A44spa 2004

Yoga Motion: 10 Fun, easy-to-learn yoga routines (for ages 2.5 and up)
35 min; DVD
Namaste Kid, 2011
Yoga motion contains 10 3-4 minute yoga routines. Your child can mix-and-match chapters to create their own unique yoga experience.
Call#: WB 890 .Y546 2011

Large Motor Games…We Like to Play!
25 min; DVD
Learning Through Adventure, 2004
The mind can only absorb what the butt can endure! Lisa will teach you large motor games that can be played both indoors and out.
Call#: GV 452 .M951g 2004

Fingerplays! Hands That Tell a Story
44 min; DVD
Merriweather Records Ltd., 2011
Presented by Kathy Reid-Naiman. Fingerplays are a way of telling a story using your hands and fingers to illustrate the words.
Call#: GV 1218 .F5 F56 2011


Five Ways to Embrace Messy Fun
Scholastic Parents
These simple activity ideas will keep your kids engaged and learning, with smiles all around.

Museums and Libraries for Summer Fun and Learning
Susan Hildreth
National Association for the Education of Young Children
Parents and caretakers play an important role in assisting with their children’s early learning and finding low-cost or no-cost places to play and learn together can sometimes be a challenge. Libraries and museums of all kinds are all welcoming places where you can borrow books, learning backpacks, and other materials to use at home.

Web Resources

30 Days of Families Learning Together
This resource from the National Center for Families Learning provides a month’s worth of family literacy activities and practices designed to inspire family memories rooted in imagining, playing, and learning together. Also available in Spanish.

Awesome Family Fun Activities Guide
From UNICEF Kid Power, this activity-packed guide offers a wide-variety of activity ideas. No matter the size of your family, whether it’s 2, 3, or 10 family members, there is a wide range of fun-filled activities and ideas for the whole family: mom, dad, brothers, sisters, grandma and grandpa – something for everyone! Whether it is spring, summer, fall or winter, daytime, night time, indoors or outdoors, a quick midweek break or a weekend family break, we’ll have a fun activity for your family.

Explore STEAM with Young Children
This comprehensive list from the Illinois Early Learning Project includes links to many ideas that families can use to incorporate fun activities into their day.

Play With Your Toddler – Indoors
Get moving with your toddler! This graphic tip sheet has ideas of how to play with your child. Also available in Spanish, Polish, Korean, Chinese, Arabic, and French.