Play All Day

With March Break around the corner for many families, what better time to review Play All Day by the infinitely charming Taro Gomi.

Taro Gomi has been delighting children and adults for decades with his enchanting and inventive children’s literature and activity books.  One of Japan’s most prolific children’s authors, Gomi has published more than 400 books during his career.  Translated into many languages his books have been bringing big smiles to little faces all over the world.  If you’ve toilet trained a little one sometime over the last decade you’ve probably read “Everyone Poops”; if you’ve taken a road trip or a flight with a 4-7 year old hopefully you’ve done yourself the great favour of bringing along Doodles or Squiggles for hours of happy colouring.

Cardboard animals you pop out and assemble. Surprisingly durable little creatures!

Gomi’s latest, Play All Day: A Really Giant Book of Punch-Out-and-Play Games, Toys, Finger Puppets, Boxes, and More! just arrived in the mail and I couldn’t wait to get the niece and nephew (ages 4 and 6) over to explore its contents.  The back jacket says its perfect for the playful 3-103 crowd and I doubt that’s a misnomer.  Bottom line whether you’re planning a March Break get-away and need some activities for the travel portion of the trip or just want some imaginative quiet time for your children’s stay-cation, this is the book for you (or them)!

Unexpected heroes mouse and robot had no idea the day they were in for when they went exploring the quaint town of nurk-nurk. Pictured: Play City and two finger puppets from the book.

A few words of wisdom:

  • If you are using this on the plane or in the car, (or any space where kids are limited in their work and wiggle room) choose the activity in advance to ensure if can be done under those conditions and plan your ancilliary materials accordingly (glue stick, sticky tape, colouring pencils, etc).
  • If your kids will be cooped up for a bit, plan the games they can play with the creations they’re making.  My niece and nephew penned the puppet show and made some cool landscape backdrops – using the book’s Play City but also painted their own sceneries- in addition to the puppets they assembled from the book.
  • If you’re working with younger kids (3 -5 year olds), some projects will require lots of big person hands-on help, or will need to be amended to avoid frustrated meltdowns.  I’m looking at you Treasure Boxes.
  • If you’re entertaining babies as well as big kids as I did this fine afternoon, have the older kids make something from the book for the little ‘uns to keep everyone happy and involved in the fun.

Hope everyone enjoys a marvellous March break!

Taro Gomi
Play All Day
A Really Giant Book of Punch-Out-and-Play Games, Toys, Finger Puppets, Boxes, and More
Chronical Books
680 Second Street, San Francisco, CA, 94107
May 2010
ISBN 978-0-8118-7121-1

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