Bookmaking celebrates storytelling, imagination and memory.
Your little learner knows books are important. They likely see grown-ups read them for many reasons. Dad finds recipes for dinner. Mom laughs at funny stories before bed. An aunt looks back on important historical events about their city and country. There seems to be a book about everything! They see you reading, and soon they will be reading too — in fact, they are already getting there. As babies, they learned how to hold a book. As toddlers, they can easily turn pages and remember parts of the story.
Create Books Together
At two, your child has come a long way. He already has the skills to understand the value books can bring to his life through stories. And creating books together can help him make a link between the ideas in his mind and creating something he can see with his eyes.
Bookmaking can also be a celebration of your toddler’s developmental milestones. She might not be reading just yet, but she understands what it means to be a reader, she can identify certain letters and symbols, she recognizes the books that are her favorites, and she can recite her favorite song lyrics and repetitive phrases. (Think: “Goodnight, Moon.”)
To get started, gather any plain paper you have around the house. Your books can be as simple as folding a stack of paper down the middle. But you can get crafty too! Remake old books or catalogs into new books. You can paint or glue over an old cover and pages. You can also find different kinds of paper or fabric and sew them together to make a book with different textures.
Make photo books of family members.
“Where do I come from?” is a question you might hear from time to time. Maybe you show her photos from pregnancy or the first time the two of you met. Stories of how you became a family are an important part of her journey to learning who she is and who she will be. Photographs or other images that represent your family story or history can teach children that they are part of something bigger. It is also a great way to learn about family members that have passed or those who live far away.
Make an art book by having fun with crayons, markers and paints.
Not all books have words in them. Some books have art and pictures, and you can make your own art book too! Make a story about snacks or about the feelings you have when you look at different colors: “When I see blue, I feel peaceful. When I see yellow, I feel happy”. There are no rules for the stories you can tell when your books are about art.
Cut pictures out of magazines or catalogs to make word books.
By the time your child is four, she knows the letters that make up her name. And now she sees those letters everywhere! But what other words start with the same letters? Find magazines or old books and look for words she can recognize. “What does it say here?” can be a fun game and a way to teach your pre-k learner about how sentences come together. When you finish your wordbook, you will surely have an interesting story in your hands.
As your child gets older, have him or her dictate a story to you and then draw pictures to go with the words.
When your child was younger, you may have done most of the storytelling. Now, when books come out, your child is taking on a bigger role. She may ask to hold the book, turn the pages, and finish the last sentence on each page (especially if it ends in a rhyme). Ask her questions about the story—her opinion of the characters, or what she would do if she herself were a character in the story. Then turn that story into your very own.
Build Your Child’s Brighter Future!
Want to dive deeper into helping your little one build language skills? Check out our Play and Learning guidance about English and language arts for:
- Babies — From baby talk to body talk, babies learn so many word skills in their first year.
- One-year-olds — Chatter, scribbles and tons of books lay a foundation for lifelong language skills!
- Two-year-olds — So much to say, so little time! Toddler’s communication skills increase at lightning speed.
- Three-year-olds — New phrases, new words, new solo “reading” — at three, little ones find new ways to play with language every day!
- Pre-K learners — Getting ready for school success means that pre-K is a year of huge language growth.