Must-Read Books for Playful Parents

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If you’re like me, you try to parent intentionally, growing and learning through diapers and braces. The three must-read books I’m sharing today, two on parenting and one on art with kids, resonated with me with my parenting journey. See what you think. Maybe they’ll resonate with you as well.

Must-Read Books for Playful Parents

Fed Up with Frenzy: Slow Parenting in a Fast-Moving World
by Susan Sachs Lipman

Have you ever noticed the difference in your kids when you’re hanging out with them, fully present? I promised myself to not work even for a minute after they got home from school yesterday. We made cookies, fuse bead projects, and dinner. I noticed the difference — it felt peaceful and I loved how much I learned about the girls’ day.

This is the message of the book Fed Up With Frenzy — make our parenting slower, our days slower. I don’t always do this well but it’s my daily intention.

I can look in Fed Up With Frenzy for slow parenting ideas in these categories: Slow Activities, Slow Games, Slow Crafts, Slow Kitchen, Slow Garden, Slow Nature, Slow Season, Slow Celebrations, and Slow Travel. Some are familiar (Duck, Duck, Goose) while others are new to me (Octopus Tag).

For the fall season, Sachs Lipman shares ideas like stuffing a scarecrow, pasta skeletons, and making apple butter. Sounds good to me!

The Artful Autumn: Celebrating the Seasons and Holidays with Family Arts and Crafts
by Jean Van’t Hul

I’ve been following Jean Van’t Hul’s blog, The Artful Parent, for years. Before I do any projects, I drool over her beautiful, kid-friendly ideas and photographs. She’s my go-to resource for all things artsy — in fact, we own her calendar and have done all the monthly projects. 

I’m excited to recommend Van’t Hul’s new book, The Artful Year: Autumn e-book, where you’ll find the following:

Autumn Leaf Crafts
Celebrate Halloween
Autumn Recipes

I LOVE this book! It’s so perfect for after school creative time. Plus she has a webpage of resource links like precut leaves. Speaking of precut leaves, I love how she uses the leaves for watercolors with an eye dropper, leaf rubbings, and my favorite, a leafy wall mandala. Oh, we can’t wait to try the plaster leaf casts next.

It’s OK Not to Share and Other Renegade Rules for Raising Competent and Compassionate Kids
 by Heather Shumaker

Did you read the title and think, what the heck? Me, too. Not only did I read it to figure out the title, I underlined about a third – it’s that good.

The concept of the book was inspired by the School for Young Children (SWC) in Columbus, Ohio, a school that fully embraces childhood and play. Author, Heather Shumaker, attended the school as a child and her mother teaches there.

The number one renegade parenting rule she recommends is:

It’s OK If It’s Not Hurting People or Property.

Which doesn’t mean there aren’t limits. Example: Yes, it’s okay to play kitty but not at the dinner table. Free play does not mean a free-for-all with no boundaries.

I love that Shumaker supports parents by giving us wisdom for implementing her advice with a section entitled, “Try This”. It’s quite useful.

She shares an example she used about her son coming home with a “living in Peace” handout, song, and coloring page. “That’s not really teaching peace.  Children learn by having problems,” a SWC teacher told Shumaker.  Kids need to play to experience conflict so they can know about peace.

Shumaker has a very helpful section on emotions and behavior. To summarize very briefly — emotions are welcome and okay, we can teach kids how to handle their emotions appropriately. There is LOTS of great advice in these chapters.

But, let’s get back to the title.

“As adults, we expect our friend to wait his turn before grabbing the magazine. . . When we’re done, we gladly hand it over. The same turn-taking concept should apply to young kids. A child’s turn should be over when she is “all done,”” explains Shumaker.

She’s saying, we don’t just take a toy from our child and demand our child share. We let them play with the toy and teach turn-taking when he is done playing. The child decides when he is done, not us. Shumaker adds plenty of research on development to support this parenting philosophy — it really convicted me!

This book will make you think. I’m going to reread it and challenge myself to pay attention to my parenting. Will you join me?

Have you read . . . ?
5 Books for Thinking Parents
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One Comment

  1. Great list! I love the Artful Parent’s Autumn Crafts!

    The last book looks thought-provoking, too! I wrote a long response but my browser crashed- sorry! I need to get the book then write again 🙂

    Thanks for sharing these!