Thursday, August 6, 2009

A Few of My Favorite Things Toddler Book

Back on my post about keeping toddlers occupied in the car, my friend Sarah had this recommendation:

The only other thing that might be fun is to get one of those little photo albums (the kind that hold one photo each page) and put in photos of family that she's going to see to re-familiarize her with some members she hasn't seen in a while, as well as pictures of her favorite things at home (cats, tractor, etc.)

She's right on with that idea! (and she knows what my Goose loves.) Goose has a Who Loves Baby Photo Book that you can insert photos into for little ones to look at (but can't ruin . . . and hers needs updating badly!) and she also has a "favorite things" book that I made her that was super cheap. I'll show you how I put it together. (with apologies for the picture . . . it was 10:30 PM when I did this!)

I used cereal box cardboard for the pages (cut approximately in half, so you get four per box), various pictures cut from magazines or printed from the internet, a glue stick, clear contact paper, and a hole puncher. The white paper is if you wish to cover the printed side of the cardboard, which is not always necessary (I'll tell you why below).

After being a mother for five or ten minutes, you start to know what your little one likes, so I kept an eye out for pictures of things that she enjoys. For this book, I used mostly animals. If you have a variety of sizes, you can group smaller ones on the blank side of the cardboard and put larger ones on the printed side. If the picture takes up most of the page and doesn't make you dizzy with the Cap'n in the background, perfect! But if you need to put several pictures on the printed side, or if your bigger pic isn't quite big enough, add a layer of white paper as the background.

The glue stick helps hold things down while you're putting it together, and is a bit forgiving if you want to move something. Make sure you note where you want to punch holes and leave adequate room - or just punch through the picture, though you may end up hearing "owie, Mama!" a hundred times while a toddler points at the hole in the kitty's tail or whatever. Ahem. Also don't forget that if the holes are on the left side on one side of the page, when you turn the page, they'll magically be on the right side! (Not that I'd know that from experience . . . ahem again).

Once your pages are how you like them, use the contact paper to cover. I kept my cardboard trimmed just enough so that I could cut the length of the contact paper to be the width of the cardboard page and have little waste. Make sense? No? Hmm . . . lay the contact paper tube on the table as it as shown above in the pic. Unroll the contact paper the width of your page - take the Cap'n piece of cardboard as he's situated above and lay him on the sheet so he's facing you in the same way (just sliiiide him down). Cut the contact paper about an inch longer than your page, and remove the paper backing from the top half. Stick the page on there as straight as you can, unroll the other half, and fold it up over so that you have a contact paper sandwich with your page in the middle. (or you can do the bottom half first - it's your book!) Press down well to adhere the contact paper and remove any bubbles, then trim the edges. Repeat with the remaining pages.

Use the hole punch to punch two (or three, if you wanted) holes in each page, using one page as a guide so you get them in the same relative spot. To tie them together, I threaded scrap yarn or ribbon through the holes, then laid a pencil along the edge so that I could pull the knot tightly but it would leave some slack once the pencil was removed so Goose could turn the pages. I recommend a double or triple knot.

I'll admit these don't last forever, especially getting knocked around, pulled out of and shoved into the diaper bag, but I have used some scotch tape and packing tape to seal the edges as needed and they're fine. The contact paper is the only real investment in this project . . . and you get an awful lot of it to use for other things. Anybody else's mother cover everything in clear contact paper when they were little? I thought it was the coolest!

For more cool, frugal ideas, visit Life as Mom.

And, if you're coming over for Frugal Friday, please visit my giveaway post! I'm giving away a pair of baby leg warmers, taggie blanket, bathtub fishing game, fairy wings, vintage craft books, a CUTE set of storage tins - go see!


Angela said...

HA! I love clear Contac paper too! I've used it for a lot of projects for Isabella, including covering the pages of her favorite books, so they don't rip.

Your Frugal Friend, Niki said...

I have done this for my son, but used cheapy scrapbooks from the dollar stores (or Target's Dollar Depot). We also made an ABC book together, choosing pictures of family members and friends and pictures from magazines for each letter's page.

The contact paper version would be nice to do with my preschool class though, since there are a bunch to make.

Thanks for sharing this.


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shopannies said...

I love this idea so great and I know kids love them

Buffie said...

I love this idea. I'm going to have to try it for my daughter. Thanks.

Andrea @ The Train to Crazy said...

Great idea! Thanks for sharing it with us!

Katie said...

What a cute idea for a book. I should make one for my little girl! Thanks for the visit today and the link to your post. I never even thought about selling the baby jars, what a great idea.

Valerie @ Frugal Family Fun Blog said...

This is a great idea! I'm making note of it to make one for Clara. I think she would love it, and there never seems to be any shortage of clear contact paper around here!

Sarah said...

Ha Ha! Thanks for the shout out Lenetta! :) I'm glad that it was a success!


My Boaz's Ruth said...

What I've done for the toddler book for my just-turned 2 year old is get a cheap photo book from CVS or somewhere ($1), put my pictures in, and then used scotch tape on the sides. MUCH easier (But I don't like messing with Contact paper)