This homemade book (literally nothing more than paper and markers) reigns supreme as my favorite craft with Mateo. Many people would wager that I love books more than people. In most instances, they would not be incorrect. Therefore, little man and I have been reading since the get go and the kid LOVES books. Nothing warms my heart more than a good snuggle session with some books and my kid… except maybe watching him create his own book.
This craft was not pre-planned. Mateo was rocking the nastiest cold I’ve seen in my parenting journey and asked to go to the library for stories. Clearly I couldn’t subject the local residents to his nastiness, so I suggested we make our own book.
Story telling is a new thing for Mateo and it’s beyond adorable. I will say that 99 percent of stories are about a farmer and he usually gets stuck. The plot lines varies very slightly from story to story but watching his little brain think and create a story makes every meltdown and every sleepless night worth it. And, he loves it. You can tell he feels clever. Perfection, I tell you. Perfection.
This craft was incredibly simple and was more of an experience than a craft. We sat down together and I asked if he wanted to make a story for us to read at bedtime. He loved the idea. I had hole punched the paper ahead of time and simply laid out a piece at a time. I asked him what his story was about and wrote what he said (or the more coherent version of what he said since apparently the whole world doesn’t speak toddler). Then he colored the pages. Once finished, he helped me run a pipe cleaner through the holes (A HUGE HIT!) and bind the book. Then he read the book maybe 15 times in a row with such a look of pride. We read it another 10 ten times before bed and it now resides proudly on his bookshelf.
To get going, I simply asked what his story was about. He said a bear. I asked the bear’s name. He said “Panda Bear.” There you have it, the story is about a bear named Panda. From there I asked “what happened next” and wrote what he said. My favorite part? The story ends with his friends (the neighbor kids) helping the bear. Oh, be still my mom heart. Be still. Such sweetness.
- Cardstock paper (for durability)
- Markers (or crayons)
- A hole puncher
- Pipe cleaners (or ribbon or string)
- Ahead of time: punch three holes in each of the pieces of cardstock paper.
- Gather two pipe cleaners and cut to an appropriate length (approx. in thirds)
- Set out some markers or crayons.
- To begin, ask your little one if they want to make their own story. Ask what the story is about. And build from there. He’s two so “what happens next” is about as complicated as he can go but if your little one is older, you can ask more complex questions for a thicker plot line. As your little one tells you what happens on each page, write what they say along the top. Then have them color the page. Since Mateo’s coloring resembles almost nothing, I labeled each of the things he told me he was drawing. He said “draw a tree” and would draw it. I would write the word “tree” next to it for clarity.
- When the book is finished, bind together with pipe cleaners and snuggle with your little one to read the story they created.
Simple, adorable and a real bonding experience for Mateo and I, this craft gets a million thumbs up from us.