It’s always wonderful to see a children’s craft book that contains plenty of projects that kids can actually do by themselves as well as with adults, and Craft It Up Around The World is one of those books. It contains 35 craft projects that have been inspired by travels across the globe. All the projects are indoor activities, so great for wet and cold days, and most only require the most basic of materials such as paints, paper and glue.
There is an impressive range of activites which cover a wide variety of crafting techniques, with painting, printing, embroidery, baking, clay and mosaic all being introduced.
On top of being a fun activity book, it’s an educational book too, as children can learn about countries around the world. They can see what each country looks like on a map, are shown the national flag, and are given interesting facts about each destination, such as;
"The Whirling Dervishes are a popular attraction in Turkey. Did you know that they perform an Islamic holy dance? As they spin they represent the Earth revolving on its axis while orbiting the sun."
The information isn’t overly detailed or too heavy, so it shouldn’t feel like schoolwork, but could easily encourage wonderful conversations about different cultures and how people in the rest of the world live.
The book begins with a brief introduction and a world map, that children can refer back to, to see where each country is situated. The map is divided into continents and is also numbered to indicate where specific countries are, which are listed in a numbered key below.
There is a one-off worldwide project at the beginning which makes bunting from a map of the world, the following projects are then divided into four chapters: The Americas and Antartica, Europe, Asia and Oceania, and Africa. Some of the countries featured in these chapters include: Argentina, Colombia, Peru, Greece, Russia, Turkey, China, UAE and Ghana.
Some of the craft projects seem to have rather tenuous links tho their country, for example I didn’t feel like I discovered anything of great interest about Finalnd, other than it has snow (lots of countries have snow). However, most crafts represent something very specific about their country, such as the Whirling Dervishes for Turkey, and Sushi brooches for Japan.
Projects that I particularly enjoyed were; the flag coasters, covering a handful of African countries, looks like great fun with flags, as well as being an interesting use of patterns and geometric shapes. The paper dragon puppet for China is also really effective, and finally who could resist a gingerbread mountie from Canada (not me).
The only project I felt a little let down by (which isn’t bad considering there are 35 projects in total) was the Australian Memory Jar. The project itself is great, but there are two memory jars of sorts included. I preferred the Egypt treasure hunt jar, as you place your memorabilia into the jar with sand, to partially hide it like treasure. I thought this reinforced the sandy nature of Egypt, as well as linking it to explorers and archaeologists that went in search of tombs and treasure. The Australian jar just seemed to be collected trinkets from Sydney, which I imagine will be fairly lost on many British children. I think it would have been more effective to have this project at the front as a world-wide project, for any location that one might visit, and then had something that focused on the rich Australian history in it’s place, such as indigenous cave paintings, the gold rushes or a project featuring the Sydney Opera House, Australian wildlife, or how to bake lamingtons.
Any criticisms I may find in this book are tiny though. The instructional steps are clear and easy to follow and there are plenty of clear supporting images. It has a lovely hands-on crafty look and and feel, using images of textured papers as backgrounds, and using images of clip boards to list materials that are needed, making them easy to locate on the page. There are also cute images of sticky tape, seemingly holding travel photographs in place, as if in an album or scrapbook. There is a great selection of templates at the back of the book, to help children complete some of the projects, and all are full size, so they only need to be traced, rather than having to photocopy and enlarge.
This book offers so much, it’s a great source of activities for bored kids, it introduces them to a large amount of different crafting techniques, teaches them about different cultures, and is an exciting way to learn a bit of geography without having to whip out some old uninspiring atlas.
Craft It Up Around The World
Libby Abadee & Cath Armstrong