The maker trend has expanded the scope of juvenile crafts and hobbies to include technology projects like coding, but a “digital detox” movement among parents—even those who don’t consider themselves crafters—is also nurturing a continued enthusiasm for children’s hobby and craft titles.
“Millennial working parents either want to give their children the hands-on experiences they once had, or to simply spend more quality time together as a family,” says Quarto’s Anne Landa, a v-p and group publisher, who oversees the 94-year-old kid-centric craft imprint Walter Foster Jr. That desire, Landa says, coupled with an increasing savvyness among children who have a strong sense of what “quality” craft projects look like (thanks to sites such as Pinterest and Etsy), means parents are willing to shell out for beautifully designed titles that offer sophisticated creative companions to what can be found in online craft-oriented communities.
Walter Foster Jr.’s detail-oriented, full-color how-tos are directed at kid crafters, working alone or enlisting help from adults; they’re priced in the midrange, between $12.95 and $14.95.
Meanwhile, Quarto’s adult-driven imprint Quarry is expanding its 52-book Lab series with its sixth title aimed at parents, Stephanie Corfee’s Paint Lab for Kids (Nov.). Barnyard Kids by Dina Rudick (Aug.) capitalizes on the wave of interest in hobby farming, with a family bent. “We’re squeaking further into the juvenile BISAC, with titles that are more along the lines of family reference,” says Winnie Prentiss, a Quarto v-p and group publisher. She adds, “Parents are trying to involve their kids more in what they’re interested in, in fun ways that also involve learning.” More even than Walter Foster Jr.’s core consumers, Quarry’s are willing to pay for the experience—$24.99 each for books in the Lab series.
Skyhorse is launching a direct appeal to fathers who are seeking to get their kids off-line. Made with Dad by Chris Barnardo released in May, offering 55 do-together projects of varying skill levels. 52 Prepper’s Projects for Parents and Kids by David Nash (Jan. 2016) has a distinct survivalist vibe: bushcraft predominates.
These supplement offerings from Skyhorse’s children’s imprint, Sky Pony. Its most recent release was Mason Jar Crafts for Kids by Linda Z. Braden, which, like Walter Foster Jr’s. titles, is geared toward young reader-crafters and has large type and simple instructions. Julie Matysik, Sky Pony’s editorial director for children’s and education, says that people who buy juvenile craft books—whether the titles are aimed at kids alone or kids and grownups—are looking for tactile and educational components that give kids a reason to stay off their devices. And despite the prevalence of the “parent” concept in Skyhorse titles, Matysik finds that the books appeal to another, often overlooked consumer: the analog-era grandparent.