Book Review: Out of the Box by Jemma Westing

Out of the Box by Jemma Westing includes twenty-five interactive cardboard model projects that will encourage kids' creativity and "out of the box" thinking skills through hands-on learning and the application of science-based principles. Kids can bring old cardboard to life and build recycled creations they can play with, sit in, or wear. From small-scale gifts to large constructions there are clear, step-by-step instructions to show kids how to make dinosaurs, masks, race cars, and so much more. There are also images and ideas to encourage them to make their own unique projects when they feel ready. Each of the projects use recycled materials, including cardboard rolls and boxes, so all the supplies should be easy to find right at home.

Out of the Box is a well written group project instructions and inspirations for making a wide variety of creations with common cardboard objects we all are likely to have around the house. The additional supplies, such as glue sticks, scissors, markers, duct tape and the like are also things that many of us have on hand. Even if you do not have every tool that the instructions use throughout the book, there are certainly some projects that will require no shopping. The projects include games, animals, wearable masks,  ships, a 'cityscape', things for pets, and more. Even though I am an 'adult' I still want to try out some of these projects. So I work in a school and I will find a way to make it about the kids, but I want them for me- they are just a good excuse. I found the instructions to be understandable and easy to follow, although some of the projects are significantly more difficult than others. The photographs that accompany each project are helpful and clear.  One of my favorite things about the book was the inclusion of "Try This" ideas which encourages kids to take their projects to the next level, and to truly make it all their own.

Out of the Box is a wonderful addition to school, public, and personal libraries. While it is a wonderful jumping off point for organized or personal crafts (i.e. makerspace, classroom, storytimes, homeschooling) it would also be a great resource for anyone that likes to build and create. I will be trying to get a copy for my school library for next year.
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