Saturday, December 5, 2009

Make a book for Christmas

This is a great time to make your child a book for Christmas or Hannukah.

Children of all ages are motivated to read a book about their favourite subject - themselves.

Here's how
*Buy a small scrapbook with stiff pages. (Craft stores have them. You can also use a photo album.)

*Select five to 20 photos of the child, her favourite activities, family and friends, and events from the year. I usually print them out on one of those machines in Shopper's Drug Store - they're just $.23 per print, or so and I don't have to wait.

*Put them in some kind of logical order.

*Tape them into the book.

It's best to type the text for the book on your computer, print it out, and cut it into lines that you can paste below each photo. Use a simple font like Times New Roman (don't get fancy - the goal is legibility.)

For really young children, print one or two words in a large font under each picture:
"Susie's teddy"

For slightly older children, try one-liners:
"Sebastian turned 4 this year!"
"Sebastian loves to play hockey."
"Daddy and Sebastian at the museum."

For kids who are reading, try writing your own short story.
Each page can have a few lines or a paragraph, with pictures on some pages. Reflect on the year, and write about some of the highlights:
"Our trip to Hawaii was incredible. Dad got seasick on the boat, and Mom lost her wedding ring - but she found it again! I couldn't wait to try Mahi-Mahi - it was delicious."

Another idea is a book that shares some of your insights about your child.
"Daddy and I love you, and we are so proud of you for always trying to do the right thing. Remember when Bradley at school was getting bothered by that boy? We were so proud when you stepped in and stood up for your friend. That took courage!"

Or, help your child keep track of milestones.
"I am a good hockey player. Just two years ago, I was barely skating... now I'm a fast skater and I can do a hockey-stop. I played in goal twice this year; I've scored six goals and gotten a whole bunch of assists. The coach says I'm a good team player. Next year, I want to join the Select team."

Other tips:
In your captions, try to go beyond what's obvious in the picture: "At the beach," could be "This is where we found the big orange conch shell."

Write from the child's perspective, "I, I'm" and the book will be more interesting to them.

Include the names of your child's friends. Wouldn't you love a record of names and photos of your friends from when you were really young? Do it for your child.

Cut some of your photos into shapes if they don't fit on the page.

Pick a great photo for the front of the album, and don't forget to date your book.

A book about your child will be something that fascinates him, and makes him want to read every word. He'll pick it up again and again - and for years to come.

The book in the picture is one that I started for my son this time last Christmas, but never finished. I picked it up, blew off the dust (literally) and flipped through it. I teared up - you forget how fast they grow, and how small they were last year! I'm going add the captions and a photo on the front and give it to him this year.

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