Summertime is the perfect time to relax, read and create.  The following activity books will do just that! Some require following directions to create fun creations.  Some are books to enlighten and educate.  Some are just pure fun.  The first three are geared for ages four through seven.  The rest, unless otherwise indicated, are for ages eight through adult.

My First Rock & Gem Collection, by Klutz, is a wonderful kit full of just what the young geologist needs. You will find in this fun and educational kit nine different polished rocks which include amethyst, turquoise and lemon jade.  There is also a kid-friendly field guide teaching about the different properties found in rocks, and paint and a paint brush to decorate your own rocks – and a magnifying glass for closer inspections. But probably the most unique and fun item in the kit is a surprise rock hidden in a chest to chisel out with a hammer.

Rainbow Daydream Soap, by Klutz, will need adult supervision because it involves the microwave. However, the instructions are simple and easy as this kit includes a sudsy soap base, custom scent and molds to pour the soap into for a shape of a crescent moon or a rainbow.

Hidden Wonders! (A What Can I See? Book), by Walter Wick, is the newest entry in this ever-popular search and find series!  This book, however, has a little different format making the search and find a bit easier.  The main theme is optical illusions with amazing photographs with the list off to the side to check off.  Be sure to check out the riddles near the end as they are especially fun to locate the items.  This series is made for travel!

Build the Shark, by Barbara Taylor, is a three-dimensional puzzle with 35 slotted pieces that fit together. This great white shark puzzle will extend to 2 1/2 feet long. There is also a kid-friendly thirty-two-page book included with brightly illustrated pictures and information all about sharks.  This kit is best suited for ages six and up.

Reptiles Everywhere,vividly illustrated by Britta Teckentrup, and written by Camilla de la Bedouere, is a picture book packed with pictures and easy to read information about these cold-blooded creatures.  All of the pages feature each reptile group in an open-page layout.  Some invite readers to locate or count specific animals making this an engaging book as kids learn.  The categories include types and how reptiles live. There are two other books by this illustrator with a similar layout: Fish Everywhere and Bugs Everywhere.

Adventures From Scratch: Family Edition, published by Let’s Roam, is a fun, interactive book perfect for families to enjoy together and explore.  Each cardstock page is made to be scratched off to discover activities waiting for an adventure.  The categories include:  Explore, Create and Spread Joy.  This activity book is good for all ages and especially perfect for family members.

Earth: 100 Piece Puzzle, by Chronicle Books, is a circular shaped container with large, oversized pieces of a puzzle.  When completed, the shape and color of our planet viewed from space takes place.  The puzzle photography is taken from the archives of NASA.  When completed, the size in diameter measures 2.5 feet.

Sew Mini Gardens Kit, by Klutz, is a terrific way to enhance your child’s interest in sewing.  The kit includes an easy-to-follow booklet that teaches basic sewing and embroidery, eighteen different plants, felt, needles and thread.  The instructions are easy to follow, and the end result will likely make your older children (through teens) very proud of their creations.

Fabulous Flowers Craft Kit, by Klutz, is aptly named as these paper flowers turn out to be just exactly that: Fabulous!  There are easy punch-out petals with kid-friendly instructions to follow and the result will be astounding!  Also included are wire stems, glitter glue and more.  The many ways these flowers can be utilized are countless which could include gifts for grandparents, family members or decorating rooms. There are twenty different flowers included in this kit.

The Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Elements: The Powers, Uses, and Histories of Every Atom in the Universe,by Lisa Congdon, is the perfect book for your budding science lover, or possible future lover of science.  This beautifully illustrated nonfiction not only addresses the elements, but ingeniously showcases the history behind this science.  This is a book that should be lying around the house for members to pick up and likely pour over.  Perhaps a scientist is waiting to be discovered.

Molly and the Mathematical Mysteries: Ten Interactive Adventures in Mathematical Wonderland, by Eugenia Chong, and cleverly illustrated by Aleksandra Artymowska, will surely open new horizons for all ages as you follow Molly on a mathematical adventure as she becomes involved in solving puzzle after puzzle.  It begins with Molly discovering a note hidden behind a flap.  As you follow her adventure, each open page presents new problems to solve, many which will take some inventive thinking.  There will be more foals to open, riddles to solve, mazes to follow and even folded shapes to match.  What a terrific over-sized book (made with heavy card-stock pages) to discover there is so much inventiveness, fun and creative thinking involved in math.