With March Break in full swing here I've been looking for creative ways to spend time with the girls. I've also been looking for a way to prioritize my time with them, while still fulfilling my creative needs. I was hoping that this book would provide a bit of inspiration.
Side by Side from Tsia Carson is not your typical craft book. She pitches it as projects that you can do with your resident crafter. Not so much about setting them up or doing all the dirty work for them. That's the goal.
To be honest, I'm not sure she really succeeded in that. There are definitely projects that work very well when parent and kid work as a team. And some that show great parallel activities so that both get something interesting and appropriate for the skill level. But it didn't really read any different than most craft books to me, other than some language about working with your kidlets.
And the projects? Well, many are things I've seen before - with some notable exceptions. I'm trying to convince my husband to do some guerilla gardening in the park across the street for the Living Willow Tree Teepee. And my kids loved the Giant Newspaper Snowflake. But pom poms, making stuffies from your kids drawings, and hand sewn pillows I've seen many times over.
My other issue with the book is the inconsistency in project instructions. In some cases they are so basic. And that's fine, if you know what you are doing. In others they are nicely detailed. It reads like a reflection of the author's own skills. If she knew how to do it, she assumed others did. If she had to research and figure it out, she spelled it out for readers. There is, however, a detailed technical section at the back of the book for the skills needed for the projects, like crochet stitches. It's pretty handy.
Carson's website is Supernaturale. I love the site for tidbits of inspiration and ideas. The book, I suppose, is the same. Tidbits that are good for picking.
I do think this is a good addition to my library, despite my criticisms. It serves as a good reminder to be with and work with my kids a bit more. And I'm positive that once the kids devour it I will be pulling out pom pom makers and fabric paint and staplers to craft with them, at their insistence, not mine.