I am teaching a course right now, to children ages 4-6, called Beyond Books. In the class we read stories and then do projects based on the books we have read. I love teaching this class, and I have some fun projects prepared for my students. My own children do not want to miss out on the fun, so I have promised them that each week will have our own activity time at home based on the projects I did with my class. All of the activities I have created for this class are activities you can do in your own home, and so I’m sharing them with my readers in the hope of providing project inspiration for you and your young ones!
Making Books With Children :: Create Your Own ABC Book:
This past weekend the theme for the day was Alphabet Books. I went to the library and checked out a whole stack of ABC books to read to the children. I love that our library puts a sticker on the spine of the books that says “ABC” so I can scan the aisles and grab a variety of books all about letters. I did not read all of them during the class, there just wasn’t enough time, but my favorite was The Hidden Alphabet
by Laura Vaccaro Seeger. The illustrations were fantastic. All of the students and my kids loved this one. Even though we did not have time to read them all, I left the books out through the class so the students could look at them.
After reading a few of the ABC books and talking to them about the different parts of a book I gave the children their task: to create their own alphabet book. I had a great time watching their work develop. It was interesting to see what approaches they took, and what words they came up with for each letter. The students in my class weren’t able to finish the books in the time allotted, so they took them home to work on, but my kids finished theirs up in a few hours. I think this is a perfect hands-on learning experience for young kids, anywhere from age 2 (with help) to age 10. I think the most important thing you can do is to let them write and illustrate this book on their own. When the kids asked for ideas I was very careful to suggest LOTS of words, or to direct them to magazines to look for ideas. I hope that you try this project at home with your own children, and if you do, let me know how it goes!
Here’s how we created alphabet books:
First I made books out of 2 pieces of card stock, 15 pages of copy paper, three staples and a strip of colored masking tape. Then I gathered a bunch of supplies, magazines to cut, construction paper, scissors, glue sticks, tape, crayons and colored paper.
I gave the kids their blank books and instructed them to make and alphabet book, starting with A and ending with Z. I also made sure they knew that they had to use the front and back of each page to fit all 26 letters in (with a page or two to spare). These are all the instructions I gave them, aside from the request to think creatively and use their imaginations.
The end products were very cool indeed. I made extra books so that I can keep a few in the art cabinet, and Ella has been authoring books all week long. This was a great way for the kids to express themselves creatively, practice fine motor skills (writing, drawing & cutting), become more familiar with their ABC’s, and gain confidence in themselves as writers, artists & creators. This is a perfect project for classrooms and home alike. And the possibilities with the book is endless…one week it can be the alphabet, the next week it can be fairy tales. Or it can be a nature journal. So many options!
This sweet note was written by Ella on the last page of her book, because Mary Pope Osborne puts “A note from the Author” in the back of her Magic Treehouse Books
. Ella is currently seeking publishers to read her work.
**UPDATE to this post: we have done this project over and over again at our house, the kids get more creative each time! See this post
for more alphabet book ideas to read to the kids!