I love activity books. In fact, my son has an entire bookshelf of books that allows him to learn while opening flaps, turning handles, launching sloths and more.

When Raincoast Books ask me to part of their #PlayTestShare 2017 edition, I jumped at the chance. The hard part was picking two activities my eight year old could try out.


I opted for The Ultimate Book of Cities ($27.71, Chronicle Kids), which features 59 flaps, pop-ups, pull tabs and movable parts that has all the information you would want to know about cities and how they work. My son loved the underground utilities page, with flaps that opened to expose the cycle of water, recycling and how energy is made. Interesting information you have never thought about – a fire hose drying tower at a fire station. I am certain our local fire department dries their hoses on the floor, but I do wonder if the larger stations would have such a tower. Cool.

The absolutely best part of the book is the last page. I wish I could have captured my son’s expression when he turned the page and a giant city popped up. It was priceless. As it was, he was so excited to show his dad and explain how the city in the book is always evolving – buildings changed from one thing to another and skyscrapers were built.


The second book my son tried out was 642 Things About Me: Young Writer’s and Artist’s Edition ($24.95, Chronicle Kids). My goal of this book was to find a fun way to encourage my son to write. Sadly, he was willing to do the creative parts of it – creating a country of the future for example – but he wanted me to do the writing. There is a good mix of writing and drawing activities, and lots of suggestions. He was quite excited to give me a report card – including F for listening. As creativity is just as important, perhaps my son will come up with the ideas, and I will fill in the blanks, or…maybe it will just wind up on my bookshelf so I can fill it in.

Other #PlayTestShare activities and books include (the contest is at the end of the list):


Birds of the World Nature Sticker Activity Book
Beautifully illustrated by Olivia Cosneau, Birds of the World introduces aspiring ornithologists to these and other fun facts through a range of coloring activities, removable stickers and a short quiz.


Crystal Menagerie Coloring Book
This fresh new coloring book renders foxes, birds, hedgehogs and more with a prismatic look. With just the right level of detail, these unique designs can easily be completed in one sitting, but those who want a more involved colouring session can opt for a 3D look and make the animals leap off the page.


Introducing a new, fast-paced casual card game for word lovers and anyone who loves to think on their feet. Simple to learn, with nearly endless possibilities, this free-for-all game is a fun addition to any game night.


Space Playing Cards

Launch into your favorite card games while immersing yourself in deep space! Each playing card features extraordinary NASA photography and two Pantone colours on beautifully designed card backs.


Mighty, Mighty Construction Site

All of the favorite trucks are back on the construction site-this time with a focus on team-building, friendship, and working together to make a big task seem small! Down in the big construction site, the crew faces their biggest job yet, and will need the help of new construction friends to get it done.


TouchThinkLearn Fly!
A deceptively simple and joyful celebration of the natural cycle of life, this book adds the bonus of removable-and movable-characters and scenery. In this first narrative title in the series, the movable pieces invite and involve the reader in a meaningful and multi-sensory participation in the story.


Old MacDonald Had a Truck Bingo
A classic family-friendly game gets revved up with a winning combination of construction vehicles and farm animals, featuring artwork from the picture book Old MacDonald Had a Truck . Bingo includes six illustrated, double-sided game boards plus a set of colorful bingo calling cards and chips.


Towering Tree Puzzle
Join adorable critters as they navigate the seasons and make new friends in their towering tree. Imaginative play and puzzle logic intersect as each interlocking branch of this innovative puzzle tells a new story.


Which of these #PlayTestShare activity appeal to you? To enter for a chance to win a #PlayTestShare activity of your choice, courtesy of Raincoast Books, send an email to contestsforbooktime@gmail.com with your first and last name, and which book you would like to win.

This contest is open to Canadian residents, 18 years and older, excluding residents of Quebec. No purchase necessary. The #PlayTestShare contest runs from 11 a.m. Monday, March 6, 2017 to 11:59 p.m. Thursday, March 16, 2017 (Eastern Time Zone). Once the winner is chosen, I will forward their contact information to Raincoast Books. A representative from Raincoast Books will collect their personal information, and award them their prize. Book Time and its affiliates are no longer responsible for the prize, which is valued at $9.95 and up, depending on activity chosen.

For details, visit Raincoast Books.

#PlayTestShare full contest rules

Agreement: These rules govern the “#PlayTestShare” (“Contest”). No purchase is necessary to enter the Contest. The act of entering the Contest constitutes acceptance of the Contest rules and the decisions of the Sponsor and the Contest judges, which decisions shall be final and binding upon all entrants.

Sponsor: Raincoast Books.

Eligibility: The Contest is open to all legal residents of the Province of Ontario that are eighteen (18) years of age or older at the time of entry. You are not eligible to enter if you are (or you live with) an employee, officer, director, representative, agent, consultant or supplier of the Contest Sponsor or any of its affiliates (collectively, the “Promotion Entities”). Contest Sponsor reserves the right to verify the eligibility of the potential winners. Incomplete or illegible entries, bulk drop offs, photocopies, scanned copies, facsimiles or other mechanically or electronically reproduced entries will not be accepted and will be disqualified.

Contest Entry: To enter the Contest, send an email to contestsforbooktime@gmail.com with your first and last name, and which book you would like to win. A valid e-mail address will be required. The Contest Period begins at 11 AM ET on March 6, 2017 and ends at 11:59 PM ET on March 16, 2017. Limit of one entry per email address per day. The prize will be awarded to randomly selected entry. The winners will be selected by 10:00 AM ET on March 17, 2017. One name and email address, along with the requested prize, will be to forwarded to Raincoast Books. A representative from Raincoast Books will contact the winner directly, and award them her prize. Book Time and its affiliates are no longer responsibly for receiving the prize.

Prize: One activity book of the winner’s choosing, courtesy of Raincoast Books, and valued at approximately, $9.95. 

Waiver of Moral Rights: As a condition of being declared a winner, each selected entrant releases the Sponsor and its related parties from any and all liability in connection with the Contest and/or the prize; (ii) confirming compliance with these Contest rules; (iii) consenting to the use of his or her name and photograph, in any and all forms of media, without further compensation, in any publicity carried out by the Sponsor and/or its advertising and promotional agencies.

Indemnity: By participating in this Contest, you agree to defend, indemnify and hold harmless the Sponsor, and its parent, subsidiaries, affiliates and/or related companies and each of their officers, directors, shareholders, employees, advisors, assignees, agents, licensees, representatives, advertising, media buyers and promotional agencies from any and all damages, injuries, claims, causes of action, or losses of any kind (including but not limited to lawyers’ fees) arising out of or relating to your participation in the Contest; your receipt or use of any prize; your violation of any term of these Contest rules; your violation of any third party right, including without limitation any copyright, property, or privacy right; or any claim that your submission caused any type of damage to a third party.

Privacy: We use your personal contact information to administer this Contest, including contacting, announcing and promoting prize winners.

Banning: The Sponsor may, in their sole discretion, prohibit any person from entering the Contest whom it believes to be abusing the rules. Such abuse includes entering false information and voting more times than is permitted under these Contest rules.

Other: Odds of winning depend on the number and caliber of eligible entries received. This Contest is governed by the laws of Ontario and the laws of Canada applicable therein and is void where prohibited by law. The Sponsor reserves the right to cancel or modify the Contest or the Contest rules at any time without notice. All prizes must be accepted as awarded, are non-transferable and are not convertible to cash. The Sponsor reserves the right to substitute any prize or portion of the prize with a prize of equal or greater value. All prizes are awarded as-is and no warranties or guarantees are implied or expressed. Sponsor are not liable for any lost, late, misdirected or stolen entries or inability to process entries, or any errors, damage or negligence that may arise in connection with this Contest, including technical failures on any website or software, viruses, website disruptions, malfunctions or website down-time, human error or property damage incurred by any Contest entrant. Sponsor are not responsible for any errors or omissions in printing or advertising this Contest. Use of any automated system including robotic or form-filling software to enter or participate in this Contest is prohibited and will result in disqualification of all entries by anyone using such assistance. If a dispute arises regarding who submitted an online entry, the entry will be deemed to be submitted by the authorized account holder of the email address provided at time of entry. Authorized account holder is the natural person who is assigned to an email address by an Internet access provider, online service provider, or other organization responsible for assigning email addresses for the domain associated with the submitted email address.