Did anyone else feel like their kids spent way too much time in front of screens this summer?  We got to that point a few times this summer, but thanks to Quarto Books the kids had some awesome crafty adventures in our own house.  When I was a kid I loved crafty books that taught me how to do cool things with materials we had around the house and my own two hands.

Quarto Books offer so many great titles, but my favorites in their collection are the books that encourage people (young and old) to do something creative.  My kids act like it is Christmas time when boxes arrive with books from Quarto.  This summer I had some medical issues (all better now) and these books were a great distraction for the kids and kept them occupied when I  needed quiet time.  Not to mention that they made some really cool creations!  I have official descriptions of each of the books we reviewed below, along with a few words of my own to tell you what we thought of each of these three books.

Start stocking up on crafty books at your house and for holiday gift giving!  Give the gift of PROJECTS and CRAFTS!!!  The three books highlighted in this post are geared towards older children, but Henry (7 years old) used them as well!  I’d go so far as to say that these would make great gifts for adults too.  Let’s get crafty!

Crafty Books for Boys and Girls of All Ages

Rubber Band Engineer by Lance Akiyama ~ Build Slingshot Powered Rockets, Rubber Band Rifles, Unconventional Catapults, and More Guerrilla Gadgets from Household Hardware.  Shooting far, flying high, and delivering way more exciting results than expected are the goals of the gadgets in this book.  Discover unexpected ways to turn common materials into crafty contraptions that range from surprisingly simple to curiously complex. In vivid color photos, you’ll be guided to create slingshot rockets, unique catapults, and even hydraulic-powered machines. Whether you build one or all 19 of these designs, you’ll feel like an ingenious engineer when you’re through.

Best of all, you don’t need to be an experienced tinkerer to make any of the projects within. All you need are household tools and materials, such as paper clips, pencils, paint stirrers, and ice pop sticks.  Oh, and rubber bands. Lots of rubber bands.  So grab your glue gun, pull out your pliers, track down your tape, and get started on the challenging, fun, and rewarding journey toward becoming a rubber band engineer.

Our Thoughts On Rubber Band Engineer: This book was super popular with my boys this summer!  And I was really impressed with how they could put together some of the creations in this book with very little help from the parents!  All three boys are now the proud parents of homemade catapults.  And Max made a bow and arrow in his Dad’s garage.  I cannot stress enough how excited I was to see them making and creating things instead of losing themselves in video games.

Star Wars: Build a Scene –  Build Papercraft Scenes from a Galaxy Far, Far Away by Benjamin Harper and Claudio Dias ~ Star Wars: Build a Scene includes everything you need to make iconic papercraft scenes from the Star Wars universe. The kit provides ten sheets of punch-out pieces and step-by-step instructions for creating three detailed 5″ x 8″ x 4″ paper dioramas, including one with LED lights.

Re-create the drama of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader’s duel on Mustafar from Revenge of the Sith; the nail-biting trench battle on the Death Star from A New Hope; and the Kylo Ren and Rey lightsaber fight in the snowy forest of the Starkiller Base from The Force Awakens. The accompanying book includes illustrated assembly instructions for the models, along with three essays on each classic scene and how they were designed and filmed.  Each model takes roughly 2–4 hours to build.

Our Thoughts on Star Wars: Build a Scene –  Build Papercraft Scenes from a Galaxy Far, Far Away:  The kids loved this so much, but  I will warn that it is not an easy project, it is geared towards older kids.  The scenes take a few hours to put together, and it takes some serious focus to make them!  Max worked for an entire day (with a few breaks) to create his scene, and it looks amazing and he was very proud.  It has a place of honor on our mantle!

Stick Sketch School: An Animal Artventure – Mastering the Art of Stick Figure Critters by Billy Attinger and Rachel Kochackis ~ Stick figures are hotter than ever. The biggest web comics are produced in stick figure format, and they are hugely popular in social media. But the best part about stick figures is that anyone can draw them! Billy Attinger showed how to draw stylized stick figures in his popular Stick Sketch School, and now he’s back showing the world his stick figure animals. Take an “artventure” around the world: learn to draw stick animals in the jungle, the Arctic, the rainforest, the Outback, underwater, and more! You’ll even learn how to draw extinct animals and fantasy animals in stick form. Each spread features a grid to show the reader how to draw the lines, how to add movement, expression, and more. Ideal for the visual learner and accompanied by tips and tricks from stick artist Billy Attinger, the book shows how to make your stick animals personal, recognizable, and unique!

Our Thoughts on Stick Sketch School:  I do not have any pictures to share from our time with this book because my kids were not ready for me to share their drawings.  They had fun with this book though and I loved watching them doodle and draw!  This book makes it easy for kids of all ages to make some cool sketches!

Visit the Quarto Website to find these and even more awesome books!

Disclaimer:  We were given these books for review purposes, but as always all opinions are 100%  my own.