Kids often learn best by doing rather than simply reading or listening. The Kids Can! series takes a hands-on approachto educating young learners from preschool to middle school in a variety of topics including nature study, music and American history. Layout is fairly consistent throughout the series—one craft every 1-2 pages, drawings and diagrams, and educational text relating to the craft itself.
Many of the crafts are not particularly "useful" in the sense that the finished product will either just sit on the shelf or go in the garbage. However, the very act of working with their hands helps kids internalize the "real" information....and keeps them focused, whereas books alone aren't likely to hold their interest indefinitely. The science, wildlife and nature titles contain a mix of crafts and actual experiments; most of the other titles are primarily or exclusively craft and activity oriented.
While the older editions are entirely black and white, newer additions to the series are full-color and feature handsome artwork (as opposed to the original rudimentary drawings). Recent titles also tend to include much more educational content, with a higher text-activity ratio. In an era when the typical kid's attention span is shorter than he is, the Kids Can! books may be exactly what you need to help your students get on track and actually learn something.
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.
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