My son loves making books at the minute. Nearly everyday over the past month, he comes home from kindergarten with a book he made. On weekends he makes books. Before bed, he makes books. He has made books about seaweed. He has made books about sand. He has made books about dinosaurs. Lately, he makes books about Dogman (by the author of Captain Underpants - Dav Pilkey) even though he hasn't read it yet. Sometimes the books have pictures and words. Sometimes just pictures. Either way, I love them. He is always so proud of them and I really want to encourage that pride with anything he makes. I also want to encourage any connection and love he has with/for books and reading!
I had been trying to think of a way to take his current book making obsession and create an activity for us to do together. Last weekend we ended up at Home Depot, of all places, and a great idea popped into my head.
We were there for two reasons. One - to pick out a bunch of flowers to plant in the garden. Two - to take part in a kids building session. I snapped a million pictures. A little more than usual because I wanted to be able to show my little one what his big brother was up to. He was too young to take part, so he wandered the store picking up buckets and following the forklift around.
It was our first build (and we were surrounded by 'experienced' kid builders) so didn't know what to expect. We were handed a small kit with instructions, a hammer and a Home Depot kids apron, then shown to a table. We worked through the instructions together and as we followed the steps I thought, "This would make a great little book!". I suggested to him that we write a book to explain to his brother what he did in the workshop. He loved the idea.
A few days later, we sat down and looked through the pictures I had taken to refresh his memory. I asked him to tell me his favourite parts of the trip, so we could try and use those ideas for each page of the book. We were only aiming for 4 pages (he is only 4 after all!). He told me riding on the trolley was fun, picking out the flowers for the garden, making the planter/using a hammer and then heading home with paint on his fingers (like a 'real builder').
Next, we folded two sheets of paper in half and he got started with the drawings for each of his favourite parts of the day. He managed to get through all the drawings but didn't quite have the concentration to do any writing, so we left it for the day. I didn't want him to rush through it just because he was tired. We came back to it later in the week. I got him to tell me in his own words what was going on in each picture and then we used that to come up with a sentence. He wanted help with his spelling because he really wanted everything 'perfect' for his brother. I don't normally correct his spelling because at this age getting the 'sound' correct is more important to me. Since he asked though, I helped out. Soon we had a sentence for each page and the book was done!
He marched over to his brother and invited him to sit on the couch and read him the story. It was pretty adorable. He explained to his brother that when he was a little older they would be able to go to the workshop together and both have the same apron. His brother watched and listened so closely.
It really worked beautifully and now we have a little hand made memento of a day in his life. The pictures I took really helped him remember what happened. Picking 4 favourite moments helped guide the 'story'. We will definitely be trying this out a few more times in the near future (as long as his book making obsession continues!).
This activity could also work well with younger ones narrating their thoughts and parents writing for them under their pictures. Have you tried anything similar? We'd love to hear about it!
Hello! I'm Deb,
a book-toting mother of two and an elementary (primary) school teacher. I love making stories engaging and interactive for kids.
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