At Inhabitots, we love, love, love kids’ crafts and activities books. Maybe it’s because we know how important screen-free time is — or because we love the idea of kids being kids and participating in nonquantifiable creative pursuits just for the fun of it. Whatever the reason, Creating Really Awesome Free Things: 100 Seriously Fun, Super-Easy Projects for Kids will scratch the whole family’s creative itch… without costing you a penny! The book, an off-shoot of Jamie Dorobek’s popular blog, manages to be eco-friendly without even trying, due to the recycled and upcycled nature of many of the materials. My kids and I earmarked dozens of projects to try as we paged through the book, and we especially appreciated that each and every project was accompanied by a photograph of the finished project (and more photos if there were several stages to an activity). From candy wrapper bows to a handprint cactus painting, read on for hands-on, super kid-friendly projects that your family will actually do!

cotton ball sushi, kids entertainment, eco play, eco activities

Arts and crafts projects can occasionally feel like more trouble than they’re worth between the buying of supplies, the mess from making them, and never quite knowing if my kids will actually stay interested in them for more than two minutes. The projects in C.R.A.F.T. are great because there is little to no investment in materials, and they are easy enough to complete that even kids with short attention spans will be able to finish them (older kids or those with more concentration skills can spend more time).

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Divided by room to make the supply search simpler (i.e. make a paper plate owl from materials often found in the kitchen or too cute toilet paper roll animals from bathroom supplies), C.R.A.F.T. will appeal to kids of all ages: younger ones can tackle basic jewelry projects like cork necklaces as well as DIY drums while older kids can make a gift bag out of a cereal box, paper bead necklaces, cotton ball sushi, or a tie-dye manicure. The seasonal projects, including decorating a pumpkin with thumbtacks, are simple yet innovative and will inspire tots to think creatively with the materials they have around them. With winter weather settling in, we’d say now is a great time to stock up on this book filled with both indoor and outdoor activities. Happy!

+ Creating Really Awesome Free Things: 100 Seriously Fun, Super-Easy Projects for Kids $11.83

Photos courtesy of Jamie Dorobek, Sarah Schiffman, and Erin Dawson. Used with permission of the publisher. Copyright © 2015 by Jamie Dorobek and published by F+W Media, Inc.