Tag Archives: Life Skills

Homemade Toy: Family Board Books

I made these board books for J when he was probably 12 or 13 months old.  It was SO easy to accomplish and well worth it.  J has always loved them.  I think these would be great from infancy on (just keep your little one’s slobber away since the ink will bleed… or seal the pages beforehand).

I bought a board book kit from Amazon; I’m pretty sure this is the link. I still have a three blank books to make.  The kit included the books, blank labels for each page and a computer template to download.  Of course you don’t have to use the labels.  You can draw on the books or even have your toddler create their own book.

The family book I made is really simple.  I include parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.  We don’t live anywhere near ANY family, but I really wanted J to learn who all his relatives were.  This way when we are able to see them, he is already familiar with their pictures at least.  Each page in the book has just one labeled picture so it’s very clear who is who.  I used to read this book a lot to him before we took a trip to visit family.  After each trip we’ve taken to visit family, J tends to return to the book a lot on his own too.   I do think if I were to do it again, I would try and include photos that were a little more fun… like Grandpa playing with a ball or Aunt Jenn riding a bike (whereas I just have a front photo of each one smiling). 

“My Dad Loves Me” was actually a Father’s day gift (from J to daddy).  This is his favorite of the two board books, probably because Daddy is J’s favorite person in the world!  I included lots of pictures of J and dad from birth until the present (or when I created the book obviously).  I added a rhyming story to go along with the photos.  J loves that he sees them playing the guitar or playing with a ball in the pictures.  When we’ve taken a few trips without dad, I brought J’s daddy book along with us to read which he really likes.

Here’s the text of J’s daddy’s book:

Right from the start, Dad was my biggest fan. 

We share kisses and cuddles and lots of big grins.

My Daddy is teaching me to play the guitar.

I’m teaching him to take care of the car.
We work out together.
We act silly together.
We walk and we ride and we explore together.
We splash around in the pool.
We eat ice cream ’till we drool.
Whether we’re playing ball or just hanging out,
My Daddy loves me. You can’t get better than that!
Another side benefit of the books is that when J has experienced a little separation anxiety and hesitant to play alone, I have kept the books within his reach so he has pictures of those he loves close by.  I got this idea from an online group I’m in.  I’m honestly not sure how much this helped since any bout of separation anxiety was very short lived.  It certainly didn’t hurt though!
FYI…. I also bought this blank board book kit and it really only included the blank book and some ideas/instructions on how to create your book.  I haven’t used this one yet; it’s currently stuffed in my craft cabinet. 

Follow the arrow!

I can’t believe it, the weather was absolutely gorgeous today! So gorgeous in fact that we got to play outside!  I forgot how wonderful it was to run around in the sun together! And such a perfect way to wear out a toddler :) 

I brought out the sidewalk chalk this afternoon and J made his usual requests (funny how he always asks Mommy to draw letters or shapes and Daddy gets the more intricate requests like a whale or a ship; do you think he’s already figured out who the skilled artist in the family is?).  Then I decided to reinforce a lesson we’ve been learning, the purpose of arrows.  He’s taken an interest in arrows and has a few books with arrows in the pictures.  He likes to point to them and say “way! way!” (meaning “Go this way!”)  I’ve decided to just go ahead and teach him that arrows point in a certain direction that we should follow.  He kinda gets it. 

So back to my reinforcement lesson… I drew arrows in a block around our driveway, pointing a path that he should follow.  I thought actually marching along the arrows would reinforce their purpose AND help him recognize the direction that each arrow is pointing.  He loved it.  He followed the path over and over and over and wanted Mommy to follow the path over and over and over.  He did not, however, get the entire lesson.  I realize that I need to spend some time inside teaching him how to recognize the direction an arrow is pointing.  There were simply too many distractions outside to keep his attention long enough for this lesson.  He was way too interested in following the path (and sometimes backwards since he hasn’t quite grasped the arrow concept yet!).  Since our driveway is on hill, we could discuss going up and down the driveway and turning at the corners.

Anyway, it turned out to be a great activity and something that, with time, can be educational!  With older toddlers you could make the path they follow more intricate, introducing left and right or even north, south, east and west (for the especially advanced!). 

Age attempted: 22 months, needs a little more work before he completely grasps the concept

Can you see the arrows on the driveway?

Teachable moments: purpose of arrows, recognizing the direction an arrow is pointing, following directions, possibly understanding up/down, left/right

Try Again? yes, he loved this