I love books. Natalie loves books. I'm addicted to buying them for her, but they can be so stinkin' expensive. Plus I wanted to start working with her on recognizing her family members and friends. She would eventually destroy pictures by bending them or chewing on them, so that idea was out. I was trying to think of something clever to do.
Then I found this on Pinterest: http://www.icanteachmychild.com/2010/07/make-it-ziploc-my-body-book/ from the I Can Teach My Child website. Trying to explain it to my mom over the phone, it sounded like a ridiculous idea. Make a book out of ziploc bags? Sounds like a cheap way to make something. There's no way it would hold up. On the contrary, it has been AWESOME!
It was fairly simple to make too. I used five freezer ziploc bags. I used the freezer ones because they are thicker, and I felt would be more durable. (Note: Be sure they don't have the area to write what's in the bag on it though or it'll cover part of your picture.)
Use masking tape to tape two bags together on the sides opposite the side you zip (did you get that? LOL). Continue taping another bag to the ones you've taped together already until you have all five taped together. This will help keep the bags in place when you sew the binding on.
Next, get a piece of fabric about four inches wide and as long at the side of the ziplocs you taped together. I folded the fabric in half and used the sewing machine to straight stitch all four sides. I figured this would make the binding stronger.
You're then ready to put the binding onto the taped ziploc bags. I folded the fabric over the taped part of the ziploc bag and, using the sewing machine, used a zig-zag stitch to attach the binding. It was surprisingly easy to sew the ziploc bags together. This was the first time I had stitched something besides fabric, so I was pleasantly surprised. (Note: Because the ziploc bags are so thick, I don't think you'd be able to hand-stitch them together.)
By now the bags should look more book-like. On one end of the bags you have the binding. On the opposite end you have the zipper part of the bags.
Now it's time to print whatever pictures you want your little one to learn. For the first book I printed pictures of me, my husband and her friends we have playdates with each week, plus their parents. After they're printed you can put them right into the book if you want. I wanted to make it look pretty though. :) So I mounted the 3x5 pictures on scrapbook paper, then put them into the bags.
Having the zipper on the bags makes it very easy to change the pictures as your child learns the ones you have in the book. Since Natalie's only 16 months and isn't saying many words yet, I have her point to the picture I ask her about. I'll say something like, "Where's Daddy?" and she points to his picture.
I'm amazed that at such a young age she picks up on stuff so quickly! And even though two of the toddlers she's friends with are identical twins, more times than not she points to the correct picture. It's crazy!
Because this was so easy to make and Nat enjoyed it so much, I made two more...one for the twins and one for the other little girl we play with each week.
Some other ideas I had for pictures to put in the book are:
Animals (farm, ocean, pets, jungle, etc)
Modes of transportation (train, car, airplane, bike, etc)
Like I said, it is SO easy to change the pictures out that you'll probably want to change them with each holiday! As your child gets older, you can even have them come up with their own story and draw the pictures for it. Or you can write the story about a family vacation and have them draw the pictures or add pictures taken on the vacation. The possibilities are endless!
Can you think of any ideas that might be beneficial to put in the book?