Book Review: Eat, Nap, Play

I am happy to be hosting the very first (official) book review on my blog!  I recently received a copy of the book Eat, Nap, Play to review here as a part of TLC Book Tours.  Co-authored by Robyn Spizman and Evelyn Sacks, Eat, Nap, Play promises to show readers "how to get even more out of your child's day for less."

I was intrigued by the book's claim to show creative ways to find fun in day-to-day life.  Although most of our days still revolve around a predictable schedule right now, I realize there will come a day when we can loosen the daily routine and begin to shake things up a little.  Reflecting on this book reminded me that some of my favorite childhood memories are of the times when we did things on the spur-of-the-moment (once, it was so spur-of-the-moment that we got to an amusement park an hour and a half away before my mom realized I didn't have on shoes!).  My mom is not the creative, crafty-type, but she did come up with some fun activities...and it's the unexpected, yet not extravagant moments that stand out the most.  That's what I want for my girls as well...having fun and making memories together all the time, not just on the weekends or while we're on vacation.

At times, it felt as though this book was a little scattered, perhaps trying to include too many different things, and they don't all clearly tie into the main premise of getting more out of your child's day.  For example, there are some good tips on the sections about budgeting at the grocery store and swapping/bartering, but these topics don't really seem to fit with the overall theme of maximizing your child's day while spending less.

On the other hand, though, I do see the value in this statement from the first chapter:  "By teaching children that the lasting value is in the time we spend, not the money, we are teaching skills for a lifetime."  That, I can agree with wholeheartedly.

If I were to pick up Eat, Nap, Play in the store, it would be for the tips on how to find fun in the daily activities, where we sometimes find ourselves just going through the motions.  In that area, this book did provide some good suggestions.  There are ideas for games to play in the car, suggestions to make a regular weeknight dinner more special, and cheap and easy activities for parents to share with our kids.  There is a good section on creative and inexpensive birthday parties, and a section on how to give gifts without necessarily spending money out of pocket.  Most of the suggestions apply to older children, but I will certainly be bookmarking some for future use.  Eat, Nap, Play also includes a long list of online resources, many of which I am eager to check out.

A couple of my favorite suggestions from the book...
--Have an indoor picnic.  Growing up, my sister and I often ate in the living room.  But how much more fun would it be to throw down a blanket, pack a basket of food, and have a picnic in the living room, the hallway, or even the front porch?
--Instead of investing lots of money in extracurricular lessons, think about a high school or college student who can teach your child new skills.  There are so many options for this scenario:  sports, music, art, dance, etc.  A lot of high school students I know would be thrilled to earn a few extra bucks a week for teaching little ones to dribble a basketball or perform a school cheer.  Cheap entertainment is always a plus!

Best of all, this book reminded me to think outside the box when it comes to entertaining my girls in the upcoming years. It's not about the money you spend or the places you go; it's about making your time together special and having fun in whatever the day brings.

What are some of your favorite ways to make an ordinary day a little more fun? Any related childhood memories?  I'm always interested in new ideas for activities to do together as my girls grow!


  1. I remember the mad dash into KMart for shoes. :) And doesn't making perfume out of Glade and Glitter count as crafty? :)

  2. Amanda...Ha! We were the best-smelling, shoeless kids around! : )

  3. Deanna, it's Evie Sacks, one of the co-authors. Thanks for your wonderful, thoughtful comments about the book. Robyn and I had a blast writing it because it was stuff we really did with our kids. Can't wait to see what your readers add... that's the best!

  4. Well, the book sounds great!

    As you know, I am a clutter control freak so I like using other stuff instead of permanent toys :)

    While I'm cooking, I'll give them the packaging from the pasta or the apple peels to play with - they LOVE it. There is even a box D has forbidden me to toss as Kendra loves it (I've tried twice now to throw it out)

    Is that the type of thing you mean?

  5. Sounds like a great book. We play the "Guess My Favorite Game" we made up for car rides. It helps you get to know each other. Someone will say, "What's my favorite food?" or "What's my favorite animal?" and everyone has to guess. The first person to get it right, it becomes their turn to ask "Guess My Favorite".

    When Phoebe was 4 and 5 years old, my DH and her Daddy was getting his MBA. Every other Friday night he had classes and Phoebe missed him terribly. I turned this around by making this "Girl's Night". We would go rent a movie and buy lots of foods that began with the letter P for "Phoebe". We would eat pizza, popcorn, pretzels, popcorn chicken, etc. and spread it out on a blanket on the bed and watch our movie while we ate. Then I'd let her sleep in her Daddy's spot. When he graduated, Phoebe made a sad comment, "I guess no more Girl's Night!" Too funny that now she looks forward to her father being away on a weekend night once in a blue moon. I won't do it if he's out of town during the week as school night bedtimes are strictly enforced around here!


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