baby proof: coloring books, etc.

June 26, 2019
coloring without borders | reading my tea leaves

It’s officially the last day of school for Faye. She’s currently running through city sprinklers with her friends and a babysitter, and despite the usual childcare and work/life balance questions to still sort out, I’m looking forward to lots of long, lazy summer days ahead.

My hopes for my kids mostly involve eating too many cherries and running through sprinklers, but I know there will be also be hours to occupy with slightly more structured pastimes. Plus, we’ve got train rides and car rides ahead of us with a newly minted five year-old eager to be entertained.

Here, a few of the coloring and activity books that have caught my eye lately, along with a few old-fashioned kids magazines perfect for passing the time.

kids activity books, coloring books, and magazines | reading my tea leaves

Coloring Without Borders Coloring Book

This 176-page coloring book is hefty enough to last a summer and then some. It’s filled with illustrations from more than 80 international artists and the beautiful and inventive pages abandon the classic coloring book conceit of coloring between the lines and instead prompts kids to flex their imaginations and add their own illustrations to the pages instead. 100 percent of proceeds support Families Belong Together. Each prompt is given in English and Spanish. (More on how to support immigrants detained by the US government in yesterday’s post.)

Highlights Magazine

Founded in 1946, Highlights Magazine has a long history of entertaining American kids. Yesterday, CEO Kent Johnson, issued a statement denouncing the current administration’s policy of separating migrant children from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border, urging its subscribers to join them in speaking out against family separation and calling for humane treatment of children in Federal custody. I’m sure I wouldn’t have thought to do it before, but I’m glad to consider a year-subscription to their High Five magazine in light of their leadership.

Queerbook Committee: Girls Will Be Boys Will be Girls Will Be…Coloring Book

I love the look of this jaunty new coloring book from Jacinta Bunnell. It’s aimed at adults and kids who, “given the gender stereotypes pervasive in most children’s literature..want to unlearn a lifetime of gender-biased education.” Sounds perfect to me. A Spanish translation is due out later this year.

Lunch Lady Magazine

I’ve never held a physical copy of Lunch Lady Magazine in my hands, but I hope to very soon. From the founders: “Lunch Lady is a magazine where parenting is not taken too seriously but a balanced approach to family life is. Colourful, thoughtful and full-of-cheek, it reminds parents to keep things in perspective and have fun.” Sign. us. up.

Studio Anorak: Anorak Magazine & Dot Magazine

Faye adores Dot Magazine from Studio Anorak. It’s a colorful, creative magazine beautifully printed on recycled paper and using vegetable inks. It’s a magazine and activity book that can be revisited over and over and we’ve had two issues on rotation for the past few years. This summer, it’s time for us to re-up.

How To Draw Almost Everything For Kids

Some of us are deep in a phase of setting our sights on advanced drawing skills around here. I’m eyeing this kid’s version of the Quarry Books How To Draw series for helping a little one intent on drawing “the right way” to feel a bit more confident in her skills. (Okay, her parents could use some help, too.)

Click Magazine

My sisters and I had a long-standing subscription to Cricket Magazine as kids, and Click Magazine from Cricket Media seems like a perfect fit for my own science-loving kid. I’m very hopeful it could help us with all of the 7 am requests to “do science” that we’ve been getting.

Omy – Pocket Games and Coloring

This portable version of the giant Omy cityscapes beloved by my kids looks perfect for train rides to Grammy and Grandpa’s. It’s small enough to fit in a tiny backpack, but long enough to last on a protracted journey.

To the Moon

The longest coloring book in the world? All about the moon? Why yes indeed. Like the Omy illustrations above, I love the intricate illustrations and attention to detail. No doubt Faye would, too.

coloring without borders | reading my tea leaves

What else are you guys liking these days? I’d love to hear.

This post includes affiliate links. Reading My Tea Leaves might earn a small commission on the goods purchased through those links. 

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  • Reply Jessica June 26, 2019 at 3:16 pm

    Love the “What’s inside your body” issue of Click Magazine! Our 2 year old recently said “I pee from my butt,” which we’re now working on correcting with books and other visuals about how bodies work (including where she actually pees from!). Never too many resources to explain bodies to kiddos.

    Also REALLY love the gender un-stereotyping option. Constant, important work.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE June 26, 2019 at 3:20 pm

      Yes! (Had our own long bedtime convo regarding butts and what comes out of them *just* last night! THE JOYS OF PARENTING!)

  • Reply mado June 26, 2019 at 4:56 pm

    Um, I want all of these! Do I have to share them with my kid? Your space on the internet is the absolute best, I feel comfort and hope every time I come here, without escapism ❤

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE June 26, 2019 at 9:57 pm

      Kindest note! Thank you!

  • Reply Jenny June 26, 2019 at 5:03 pm

    My daughter and I love KAZOO magazine with its strong feminist perspective and loads of fun and educational projects and activities 🙂

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE June 26, 2019 at 9:58 pm

      Can’t wait to check out—sounds so great!

      • Reply Rachel June 27, 2019 at 9:13 am

        My favorite right now is Root&Star! It’s a seasonal magazine for children. I feel that you would love it. Truly beautiful and inspiring and out of the box. Love your blog and way of living ♥️

        • Reply ERIN BOYLE June 27, 2019 at 9:34 am

          Looks so wonderful! Thanks so much for the introduction! Added a link to your comment to help folks find it, too!

        • Reply Sarah June 28, 2019 at 10:12 am

          Root & Star is our favorite, too! Beautiful and thoughtful. We reread our issues often.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE June 27, 2019 at 9:36 am

      So great! Updated with a link so other folks can find it, too!

  • Reply Grace June 26, 2019 at 5:09 pm

    Another vote for the whole Cricket lineup! I got Ladybug as a kid, and my daughter has been enjoying Babybug for the past couple years. I think it’s time to bump her up to Ladybug or Click. I so appreciate their efforts to include diverse depictions of children.

  • Reply Alice McBee June 26, 2019 at 6:58 pm

    I’m delighted you mentioned a Cricket media magazine. I Love Cricket and all its friends and relations. I still have All of my childhood Crickets; now I thoroughly enjoy getting a subscription for my stepson. Regarding long car ride entertainment… as a teacher managing multi-hour bus trips sans tech, something that works well for me, in addition to coloring books, friendship bracelets and gimp, are pipe cleaners. Choices from a delightful variety and dolled out only a few at a time “now you can pick Three more… (20 minutes later) now you can pick Two…(20 minutes later) now pick Five! ” The bus is often decorated with mobiles by the time we get to the field trip site.

  • Reply Jay June 26, 2019 at 8:15 pm

    Are you planning a post on picture books, Erin? Love your recommendations.

  • Reply Hannah June 26, 2019 at 11:42 pm

    These all look like great suggestions, thanks – about to investigate. Also to add – this was a huge hit with my 6 year old:
    And this – for slightly older (8ish+ )
    Also… I wrote a thing on a staycation strategy, in case it’s of interest – we are rolling into 12 weeks of summer here with 5 under 9 year olds (!) so I am feverishly reminding myself how we survived happily last year 🙂

  • Reply Dani June 27, 2019 at 11:05 am

    I so so appreciate posts like these. I have a “healthy children” pinterest board for stuff like these, you know, in case I ever have a kid and forget everything that can help me and them haha. Thank you for your thoughtful content <3

  • Reply Trish O June 27, 2019 at 12:53 pm

    My kids are teens now, but a friend has a little and she does these bingo cards that she found online. So one is for a walk…look for different things like a robin, a lake (the counted a large puddle) etc. She said there are also ones for the home…with things like a crack in the wall, a dusty bunny, etc. Bet it would be easy to make your own as well. Thought this could be fun and the cards used pictures with the words for the kids that are not reading.

  • Reply Maryann June 28, 2019 at 8:33 am

    I love a good coloring book. When our resident 10-year-old artist was a bit younger, she was (and still is) a big fan of Ed Emberly books. We have both the make a world and animals books. These are regular books (i.e., not coloring books) and might be at the public library?

  • Reply Helen June 29, 2019 at 11:18 am

    Mo Willems (Author of Elephant and Piggy, Pigeon books, etc) has released two “Art-tivity” books that are amazing! My daughter is not a workbook kid- she always turns it in to something much more fun- and these fit the bill perfectly. Very open ended and silly.

  • Reply Helen June 29, 2019 at 11:46 am

    Just random- I found this fun article on this history of Cricket while I was poking around.

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