Kids love making stuff. Hand a kid seven blankets and the living room becomes an elaborate series of tunnels and tents. Toss a kid some yarn, and in moments you’ll have a rainbow wig or furry-fluffy cat. Throw out some paper, markers and finger paints, and soon you’ll have a Jackson Pollock on your hands. Give a kid a hammer and some nails and … on second thought, don’t give a kid hammer and nails.
What you can give them, instead, is the Papertoy Monsters book. Compiled by artist Brian Castlefort, who has done work for Nike, MTV and Sony, Papertoy Monsters puts a gruesomely entertaining spin on at-home origami. The idea is as simple as the old paper doll books of yore. Simply cut out the template, fold on the scored lines and glue that sucker together.
Parents (some of us, anyway) don’t spend enough time doing hands-on stuff with their kids. It’s too easy to hand them a tablet or video game controller and walk away. The result is often a disengaged child who learns little about the act of creating. But it’s our job to keep them active and inspired, and these monsters will help us do just that.
(Check out this colorful introduction to Castlefort and his army of monsters. Gather the kids around the computer before you do. They’ll love the short promo.)
As the introductory video shows, the monster designs created by Castlefort and his hand-picked group of 25 of the globe’s most creative paper artists are wonderful. And each of the monsters comes with a backstory all its own. There’s Pharaoh Thoth Amon, a former Egyptian ruler; NotSoScary, a monster who is so unthreatening that he has to wear a mask just to be even a little bit scary; and Zumbie the Zombie, a health-conscious zombie.
The Papertoy Monsters book also comes with a few pages of blank templates, so kids can create their own original beasties. Don’t be surprised if your little Dr. Frankenstein creates a world all his or her own, with a vast array of freakishly unique monsters and attendant imaginary lands. This is hands-on play at its best.
Papertoy Monsters is available though Workman Publishing.