Help your child make her own book about something that interests her.

What You Need:

• Photos or magazine pictures
• White glue (such as Elmer’s Glue®**), glue stick, or tape
• Blunt, child-sized scissors
• Scissors
• Index cards, blank sheets of paper, re-sealable sandwich-sized plastic bags, thin cardboard (such as a cereal box), or small paper bags
• Large metal rings, string, or yarn
• Hole puncher
• Stapler
• Pencil, pen, or washable markers

What To Do:

1. Ask your child what she’d like her book to be about or suggest a type of book that you think she’d be interested in. For example, you could make:
• an animal book
• a body book
• a feelings book
• a letters and sounds book
• a numbers book
2. Invite her to join you in cutting out photos or pictures of items such as toys, people, vehicles, or animals to make her book. (Or, draw pictures together.) Show her how to use the child-sized scissors, if she needs help.
3. Show her how to glue or tape the pictures onto index cards, sheets of paper, or cardboard and let her practice cutting, gluing or taping. (Or see Methods 4 and 5 below for alternatives). If using glue, ask her what she thinks will happen when the glue dries.
4. Take turns thinking of a sentence or two for each picture and write them above or below the picture.
5. Fasten the pages of the book, using one of the following methods.

Method 1. Make two holes with a hole puncher on the top or side of the index cards or sheets of paper. Fasten the pages together with large rings, or tie them together with string or yarn.

Method 2. Staple the pages together on the left side of the cards or sheets of paper.

Method 3. To make a smaller book, fold several sheets of paper in half, place them together, and staple them down the middle on the fold. Cover the staples with tape. If using this method, fasten the pages together before adding the pictures.

Method 4. Place pictures or flat items in re-sealable sandwich-sized plastic bags, so that each bag becomes a page of your book. Place the pages together with the re-sealable sides together. Tape or staple together the sides without the opening to form the book. The items in the “pages” can be changed periodically if desired by opening the bags and replacing the items.

Method 5. Create a flap-book by tying or stapling several small paper bags together on the opening side, with all the bottom flaps facing upward. Write a question on each page and place pictures under the flap to answer the question. Or, place a picture of an animal or object under a flap, with a part of it sticking out. Encourage your child to guess what it is.

6. Read the book together or ask your child to tell you about the pictures in her book.
7. Ask her questions about the pictures in her book. For example, if you made an animal book, ask questions such as “What kind of sound does this animal make?” “How many legs does it have?” or “Where does this animal live?”
8. Talk with your child about the different characteristics of the items that are pictured. For example, if you made a feelings book, have your child describe what she thinks each person is feeling. If she needs some help identifying the emotion, offer some choices, for example “Do you think the boy is happy or sad? Is the girl scared or surprised?” Choose a picture that your child is particularly interested in. Imagine together why the person might feel the way she does. Create a story about the picture.
9. Use descriptive words when talking about similarities or differences in amounts (e.g., “more,” “fewer”), sizes (e.g., “bigger,” “smaller,” “longer,” “shorter”), and features (e.g., “straight” “curly”). For example, if your child says that the girl in the picture has curly red hair, you could ask her, “What color is your hair? Is it curly or straight?”
10. Look for ways to include counting and numbers in your discussions. For example, if you made a body book, count the number of different body parts a person has—one mouth, two hands, five fingers on each hand. Also, count in different languages or name body parts in different languages.

! Safety Alert: Do not let your child play with real balloons. If it pops and he puts pieces of the balloon into his mouth, they could cause choking.! Safety Alert: Adult-size scissors are not safe for young preschoolers. Let your child practice cutting with blunt, child-sized scissors. Monitor your child as she uses the scissors. If you do not have appropriate scissors or the paper is too thick for your child to cut, do the cutting yourself. Discuss the dangers of moving around with a pair of scissors in hand.

** Use of brand names is for informational purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the Learning to Grow Project.