Playtime with a child is a very special time. Being a mom, I have to remind myself from time to time that what I think is fun isn’t always my daughter’s idea of fun.
“So, Mom, wanna do something fun together when you’re done with your writing today?”
“Sure, sweetheart. How about going to the garden center and picking out some shade-loving plants for the backyard or cleaning out the laundry room?”
“Get serious, Mom.”
“Ummm . . . I was being serious. What’s not fun about filling the trunk with plants and poking out lint, lost socks, and undies from between the washer and dryer?”
“I was hoping we could build a BIG tent in the living room and pretend we’re going camping. Max (our dog) can come, too. He could be a bear that comes to snatch our food while we’re sleeping.”
“And then we can clean the laundry room?”
Long eye roll. “Then, we can bake cookies, curl up in the tent, tell ghost stories, and hug.”
Today’s picture book review is about a super cool dad who, despite having a daughter, is willing to subject himself to her list of girly plans for their day together (as long as they can trade off and do things on his list, too.)
Title – Hammer and Nails
Written by – Josh Bledsoe
Illustrated by – Jessica Warrick
Published by – Flashlight Press – 2016
Suitable for ages – 3-7
Topics – Dealing with disappointment, imaginative play, and taking turns.
Opening – Darcy crumpled up her playdate plans and plopped onto her bed. Her best friend was sick, and now Darcy’s entire day was ruined.
Daddy overheard the grumbling and knocked on Darcy’s door.
Daddy had a list of his own. “Hey, Squirt. I’ve got an idea. What about having a Darcy-Daddy Day?”
Amazon’s Review – View it HERE. Darcy has plans. She and her friend are going to play dress up, do each other’s hair, and polish their nails. Daddy has plans, too. He’s going to read the paper, mow the lawn, and fix the fence. When Darcy’s friend cancels and she’s sure her day is ruined, Daddy suggests that they tackle their to-do lists together with a Darcy-Daddy Day. Daddy dons a tutu, and Darcy gives him a fancy hair do. They groom the lawn with Her Majesty’s Mowing Service and face off in a Daddy-directed sock battle. But will Darcy want to hammer? Will Daddy do nails? Stepping outside their comfort zones, Darcy and Daddy opt to be open-minded and even a bit daring. As Daddy says, “Sometimes things you’ve never done end up being fun!” With a gung-ho attitude, Darcy masters the hammer, and Daddy goes for it with the nails.
Why do I like this book? I seriously cannot picture my dad tugging a tutu over his work trousers and styling my hair. And I REALLY can’t picture him allowing me to style his hair, thin as it was. And if I ever came near him with a bottle of nail polish, he would have streaked out of the room and not come back until he felt I cleared that silly notion out of my noggin. But this is what makes Hammer and Nails such a fun book. Josh Bledsoe gave the illustrator, Jessica Warrick, a fantastic manuscript, allowing for much creative freedom and expression. Together, their talents create a laugh out loud picture book both parents and children will want to read again and again. Hey, it might even inspire parents and children to plan out a similar day!
Playtime ideas for parents and kids.
- Grab a few chairs, a stack of bed sheets, and pillows to build the biggest fort or tent. And while you’re at it, pop a batch of cookies in the oven to snack on when you’re ready to crawl into the tent. The tent is also a great place to read stories with a flashlight. And make room if your dog wants to join in on the giggly fun.
- Okay, so maybe heading to the garden center for some shade-loving plants doesn’t sound like a fun idea for most kids, but if you fill a pot with soil or clear a small patch in your garden, they’ll love picking out a few packets of seeds to plant their own garden.
- Bake cookies. I like to make a double batch of butter cookie dough my daughter and I split it in half. Clearing two counter spaces, we each have our own workspace to add whatever we please to the dough. (Peanut butter, chocolate chips, crushed nuts, oatmeal, granola, coconut flakes, raisins, dried cranberries, cinnamon, etc…)
- Grab two sketch pads, a box of colored pencils, a couple cushions, a blanket, and head outside for some artistic fun. There’s always plenty to inspire a budding young artist in a backyard or at the park.
- Rearrange your child’s bedroom with them.
- Upcycle clothing in your child’s closet to add a little fun to their wardrobe. With fabric markers, they can color pictures or add borders around the neckline and sleeves of a t-shirt.
- Call the parents of your child’s friend(s) and arrange for a surprise playdate at the park.
- Cuddle together in a big chair with a stack of your child’s favorite picture books.
- Choose frozen fruits to mix with milk or yogurt in the blender and make popsicles.
- Fold a stack of paper in half, staple the seam, and trade off writing a story together.
- Take a little advice from Darcy and her dad in today’s picture book review. Make a list of three to five things you each want to do and trade off doing them together
Well, I’m off to ignore the garden, sweep the laundry room lint out of my mind, and build a BIG tent with my daughter that fills the living room.
Feel free to share in the comments any fun activities you do with your kids or activities you remember sharing with your parents when you were a child.