A new generation of backseat activity books can help while on long summer family drives.
Head-to-Head Brain Races (Klutz, $10.99, ages 8 & up) arrives as a pair of well-designed books for two-person competition in games like making 10 words out of a 7 or 11 letters, finding the differences in two similar pictures or doing crosswords.
Some activity books specialize, like Friendship Pixies: Charmed Little Dolls to Make and Share (Klutz, $16.99, ages 8 & up) and Thumb Wars: The Ultimate Guide (Klutz, $12.99, 8 and up. The dolls package comes with cut wire, glitter glue, plastic charms and raffia. Thumb Wars comes with a thumb sleeve and encourages many variations, including mud wrestling (using chocolate pudding), other desserts like applesauce and marshmallows, and hook wrestling with homemade tinfoil hooks.
For the very young, there’s Snuggle Bunny (Silver Dolphin, $14.95, ages 2 & up) with a hand puppet that sticks right through the book, and for the older set, Hundertwasser: Create Your Own City Sticker Book (Prestel, $9.95, ages 4-8), with colorful stickers of architectural elements in the whimsical manner of Austrian painter Friedensreich Hundertwasser. The kids might not want to leave the car!
Frank Lipsius is a contributing writer to MetroKids.