by Mariah Bruehl

Trumpeter Books, $22.95, 272 pages

Parents are a child’s first teachers. The instinct seems to come naturally for many, as anyone who has seen a mother cooing to her infant will attest. Still, as a child moves beyond toddling, a parent may feel less certain how to encourage his or her child’s natural curiosity. Playful Learning is a great guide for parents who want to encourage a child’s joy and wonder.||In this book, parent and educator Mariah Bruehl discusses how to nurture children’s interest in writing, reading, math, science, art, and the world and to guide their social and emotional development. At times, this book is dense with information to the point that the parent may not feel so playful. Indeed, what she suggests feels a bit like preschool and early elementary school at home. However, taken in small doses, Bruehl arms the parent with the skills to facilitate learning. Bruehl provides well-designed activities for each subject area with literature tie-ins and ways to extend the activity. Furthermore, a good third of the book is printables to aid the activities and a resource guide for parents who wish to read further on any subject area. While Bruehl provides more than some parents will need, it’s more information well worth having.

Reviewed by Annie Peters