Will and I have a new mutual interest; photo story books. I recently blogged about the photo book that kindled Will's interest; "Will and Mimi Ride the Train". Will LOVES this book. He will flip through it on his own, bring it to us to read, and ask for us to read it again until we've read it sometimes six or seven times in a row. It's impossible to know exactly what a toddler is thinking, but I think he loves this book because it helps him remember a fun time he had (toddlers are still developing long term memory), he enjoys seeing pictures of himself and of his Mimi, and it's a simple concept book pointing out actions and items.
Will enjoyed the book so much that it inspired another book about a ferry ride to Peak's Island up in Maine. This book was not as popular - Will only said "again?" seven times when we first read it. (It's a hit. Even if nothing quite beats the train book.)
I love these photo books because they capture the wonderful memories, and because Will enjoys them so much. But they're just the beginning of the possibilities for creating your own custom photo books for your children. Here are some ideas I have for books that'd be fun to create!
From Mimi: A "Where's Mimi" Book: My mom created a fun book (it was actually HER mother's idea!) called "Where's Mimi" that has lots of different family pictures and snapshots, everything from her walking on the beach in the distance to a group photo of everyone on vacation. The captions are cute descriptions of the photos, such as: "Big family meals are fun, but where's Mimi?" Will loves it, and gets it. He can point to Mimi in every picture, even when she's back to!
From Mimi: A Themed Counting Book ("Mimi's Ocean Book") My Mom also made a book for Will with beautiful pictures of sea glass counting up to ten, and illustrating concepts like big and little, round and pointy, a few and many, using shells and other beach items. It's super cute, especially since it incorporates her sea glassing hobby.
A Book of Colors: This would be especially fun if you used items around the house or a grandparent's house or around town that your child sees often. It'd be a great activity to take the pictures together, finding the red firetruck downtown, and a blue ball from the playroom, and green grass in the backyard.
A Book of Family: Kids love looking at pictures of faces, and it's a great way for them to keep thinking about relatives that don't live in the area, and to learn to say their names! After Will was born, I made him a photo book called "Who Loves You, Will?" with pictures of all his family members holding him as a newborn. It's pretty boring: "Who Loves you, Will? Uncle Alan does!" etc., but he has started to really look through it and enjoy it. (Although I think he thinks everyone is holding Andrew which makes me sad.) It also captures what everyone looked like when he was born, which will be fun in ten years.
A Cars Book: For a child who likes cars, it'd be fun to take pictures of different family members with their cars and make a short book about it. Nana drives a black car! Mommy's car needs to be washed. Daddy's car is silver! Here he comes, home from work!
A Book of Words to Learn: There are some really popular books for young toddlers that are just a whole bunch of pictures with the word underneath them, so you can point to things and name them from your toddler as they're becoming verbal. Why not make one with specific things in your house to help them learn? One page could have pictures of all their utensils, their high chair, cup, etc., another all their bath items, another the faces of family members / caretakers.
A Book About Any Life Changes: Will is going to preschool in the fall, and I'm considering making a book about him going to school. I'd include pictures of the playspace and the director of the playschool, so by the time he starts we've not only talked about it, it looks familiar to him. Of course, I have to check with the playschool director and see if she's up for letting me have a few pictures to use in a photo book, but I think it might ease the transition!
You get the idea... the possibilities are endless! So much fun. I use shutterfly largely because I'm familiar with their interface and think the results are fine, but there's a company that lets you make custom board books that I'm excited to try for Andrew!