A hodgepodge of developmental insights, directions for games and crafts, and opinions about what's good for kids--offering parents a multitude of ideas but little direction. There are charming descriptions of toddlers as research scientists, of five-year-olds' persistence with puzzles, of ten-year-olds' exclusive clubs. But vignettes can't stand alone. Cutesy headings--""Propped up and Playful (Position is Everything in Life),"" ""sex and the Preschool Set, or Tony and the Tulips,"" ""U R #1""--contrast disconcertingly with pedantic prose: your responses to his single-word utterances can make a difference""; ""Often, drawing with pencil gives them the controlled line they seek."" Little guidance is offered in making choices about activities. For the parents of toddlers, there are brief sections on picture books, singing games, and ""The whole sentence game"" as ""Language Expanders""; parents of early-school-age children are given directions--in less than three pages--for collages, constructions, clay and plasticine, print-making and weaving ""Art Experiences."" Parents of the eight-to-elevens are warned of the dangers of competitive performances and urged to assume the role of ""advisor, audience and aide."" Predictably, given the Bank Street imprimatur, Oppenheim (a children's-book author and Bank Street editor) deplores TV, guns, early reading, and electronic games. And while this guide does present a number of alternatives to passive, non-learning activities, it does not approach the standard set by The Pleasure of Their Company (1981), a previous entry in the Bank Street Child Development Series.