Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Every Toddler Needs a Textbook

Way back in the last century when I was taking classes to become a teacher, I learned that a child loves to hear their own name.  Then earlier in this century when I was working on my Masters Degree, I learned that young children can learn things best by looking at pictures of themselves performing tasks...

On a side note (but not really) my sister in law has a huge family.  To teach her son all of his cousins, she made him a photo album with the photo and name of each cousin.

I combined these two ideas and came up with this:

The Big Book of Smiles

I was given a random photo album as a gift for my son's baby shower.  It kicked around in his closet for about 18 months before my sister in law asked for a picture for her book.  That request got me to thinking.  I could do something with that random album.  Making a cousins album wasn't necessary because my children didn't have enough cousins to fill up even 1/4 of that album.

I continued to think and decided to make an alphabet book.  Great!  an alphabet book.  Nope, it didn't fill enough pages.  Okay, the alphabet, numbers 1 - 20, colors, and shapes.  Still not full.  It was a big album!  Finally I decided upon the alphabet, numbers, colors, shapes, and opposites.  I needed 92 pictures to fill the album with eight extra pages of chapter titles and a table of contents.

Each page had a photo of my son doing something that matched the caption.  Each page used his name.  Then I decorated the album pages with coordinating stickers.  

Here is a page from the album I made for my son...

Alex loves to swim.  Swim begins with "S."   Alex points to his teeth.  Teeth begins with "T."

I called his book Alex's Big Book of Smiles.  He (and his sister) have loved it and loved it and loved it.  There has been so much love in fact that I have had to do a lot of taping and re-taping to repair all the love. 

My daughter kept asking when I was going to make a Big Book of Smiles for her.  I finally did.  In hindsight, I probably should have just bought a photo book instead of using an album and doing all of the work by hand, but it really turned out beautifully.  I may scan the pages of the books and get photo books made  that will be kept away from the love for posterity purposes.  We'll see...

Here is what you need to make your own Big Book of Smiles:

empty photo album with 100 pages, 92 photos, stickers

All this is great, but first you have to make a plan...
Go through mountains of photographs looking for just the right ones.
Yes, the box is filled with photos too! 
Make a list of all of the pages you will do in the book, and decide what your statements will be.  You will want to do this whether you are making a photo book or manually making an album like me.  

After going through that huge stack of pictures, I only had to stage 16 of the 92 total pictures.  There are a few reasons for this.  First, Chloe is nearly three so I have had a lot longer to take pictures of her.  And second, I always knew that I would be making this book so I took pictures along the way with this book in mind.  

Here is my scribbling as I decided on a picture and a statement for each page. 

I made a title page, a table of contents, and starting pages for each chapter on the computer.  I wanted the book to look and function like a real textbook.  I figure it is never too early to introduce the correct textbook form to my kiddos.  Also keep in mind what pages will face one another.  This is especially important when it comes to the opposites pages.  You want them to be in sets of two. 

After this, I got to work assembling the book.  This took a LONG time - much longer for this book than for the first.  It took bits of four days to finish everything.  I am sure that it was more difficult because with two kids who don't nap that want to sit on my lap all the time, I just had to work at a much slower pace.  It was all worth it though!

My messy kitchen table as I worked.  My daughter had just stepped away from her lunch.
 I made my own stickers for some of the items in the book.  I did the two digit numbers in fun fonts, color words in color, shape words, and the shapes themselves, as well as stickers of the opposite words.  I created a word document and then printed the document out on full sheet label paper.  I bought this package of label paper over 10 years ago when I began teaching.  I used it all the time and I am still finding uses for the few sheets I have left.  Every crafter should have a package of full sheet clear label paper!  It is one great gadget!

I LOVE full sheet label paper!!!
Here are some sample pages from Chloe's Big Book of Smiles.....

I used photos that had meaning for her, but I still used her name on every page. 

Notice the fun alphabet letters on each page.

Here you can see some of my homemade stickers. 

I didn't get a photo of an "opposites" page so here is a caption:

Chloe's hat is on.  (on the left page)  Chloe's hat is off.  On and off are opposite.  (on the right page)

The cover!

She loved her book once I finally finished it for her.  It had been a long four days.  I often heard throughout this process, "Are you done with my book of smiles?"  I was happy to finally say, "YES!"

She was so sweet to me when I gave it to her.  "Thank you for making this for me, Mama."  OOHHH!  You're welcome!!!
Seriously reading her Big Book of Smiles!

This is a great project for little ones.  My son still wants me to sit and look at his book with him.  I LOVE that!  

I would also love if you would "Like" my Greetings From the Asylum page on Facebook.  You can click the button on the sidebar.  Thanks!

I am linking up to these and other great parties.  To find a complete list of all of the parties I visit, click here or the Linky Party page under my header.  Thanks for visiting!





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Kaitlin said...

The alphabet book is such a great idea! Very clever! Thank you for following me I am now following you!

Kaitlin @ The Goodey Knot

Just Jaime said...

How sweet! What an undertaking though! I'm impressed you got another one done!

The Atomic Mom said...

Cute idea!!

Hani said...

This is such a cute idea.. I love the alphabet textbook you made very neat and useful..


Becky said...

You are amazing! That looks like a lot of work but well worth it! Way to go!

Glad you enjoyed my craft. I hope your cousin has success with it!

Anonymous said...

Love this idea! I used an old photo album to make a coffee table quote book

Thanks for visiting my blog and good luck with the hop scotch, I would love to see the finished product! :)

Sweet Little Smoothie said...

What an awesome idea! And your book turned out so sweet! Thanks for sharing! I'm your newest follower :)

Mrs.2010sHousewife said...

I love it! I'm not the only one who still has boxes of actual, physical photographs! It seems everything is online now but there's something special about flipping through a big box of old photos! Happy to be your newest follower too!

Jacqueline said...

What a wonderful idea. I am sure it took hours and hours but such a treasure.

We have done quite a few photo books and with a lot of use the pages start to fall out. I think this is much sturdier! I should make these for my grandkids!

Mary Ann Pickett said...

Great and useful keepsake. Here from Savvy Southern Style.

gengen said...

Nice idea for a baby book..Happy Rednesday...Mine is late...

Chris said...

Very inventive! Love it! Thanks for sharing at Us and Them! Chris

very merry vintage style said...

What a fabulous idea! Would make a great baby gift too. Thanks so much for linking to my Share the Love Link Party!

Jesse {GoodGirlGoneGlad} said...

Very cute!! I Love this!!
Thanks for visiting me today! =)

michelle@decorandthedog said...

Cute idea!!

Thanks for commenting on our blog today!


How cute,you are doing great,keep it up dear :)

Magical Mystical Teacher said...

Who cares about the messy table? It's the end product that counts--and what a fabulous product it is!


Did someone mention scarlet
Or was it red I heard?
Perhaps it was a varlet
Or a vermilion bird
That shouted out the color
That’s dearest to my heart.
(It makes me feel much duller
If red is not a part.)

© 2011 by Magical Mystical Teacher

Rusty Red Reflection

Amy@happylittleparty.blogspot.com said...

Really cute idea! I'll have to make one for my rugrats. Thanks for following my blog, I'll join yours too!

Unknown said...

This is an absolutely fantastic idea! I have a 2-year-old son, and he would LOVE this! He loves looking at pictures of himself, and it's a great way to reinforce letters, shapes, opposites, etc! I just may have to get working on one for his b'day, which is coming up in August. I'm your newest follower.


Melissa said...

What an amazing idea!!! I need to make one of these for my 19 month old son. He would love it! Thanks for the inspiration!


readwatchrelax said...

i agree with @justjaime...what an undertaking -and with kids on your lap! :) I know how hard it is just to post a blog with a li'l one on my lap..hehe!

Unknown said...

Oh this is so sweet, smart, clever, and simply amazing. What an awesome keepsake too. Something she can enjoy now and pass on to her kids one day. This is just awesome. I wish I had the forsight to do something this cool.

Thanks so much for linking up to Strictly Homemade Tuesday. I hope you will be back this week to inspire us all!!

Jill said...

What a fabulous idea! such a great keepsake too.

Thanks for linking to a Round Tuit!
Hope you have a great week!
Jill @ Creating my way to Success

Ruth said...

Cool idea!! I think I *ahem* have an unused *ahem* album somewhere too!! It might even be under the bed - the shame! - waiting for a time such as this.....

Moquelish said...

That is such a great idea! What a great mom you are to put in so much time and effort for your kiddos. Nice job!

Cindy said...

So fun! I love to do ABC books with random photos and stickers. Kids love them!

SewHappyGeek said...

That's such a good idea! I love your little stickers, they're really sweet!
Thanks so much for linking up!

Kitty Deschanel said...

Look at all those photos! My goodness :)

Jenn Erickson said...

What an incredibly creative and special idea! I love the way you've personalized these books that are both educational and nurturing. A Book of Smiles would be a perfect gift for my girls and I to put together for their little baby cousin!

Thank you so much for linking up to "A Little Birdie Told Me...".


Stephanie Lynn @Under the Table and Dreaming said...

Hi Tanya, This book is such a fantastic idea. I love the idea of using your own pictures...makes complete sense and the kiddies can relate a little better. Great job! Thanks so much for linking to the Sunday Showcase party - I greatly appreciate it. I am a little behind commenting...but I have featured this last week. Hope you have a wonderful week ~ Stephanie Lynn

Jenny said...

Such a clever and creative idea!