My First Words Book {DIY}

2:00 AM Elephant & Chick 0 Comments

This is my 20 month old's favorite book:
And it has been for probably 6 months now.  We have all sorts of books at our house (like, you know, books with storylines and plots), but for some reason this is the one he carts around the house with him, leaves for safe-keeping under the rug while he naps, and prefers to take to bed with him at night.  It baffles me.

The 100 First Words Book made the trip to Thailand with us this summer, of course.  To our parental dismay, it was somehow was the only book that made it in the suitcases.  This was about the time we'd introduced reading books as an official part of our bedtime routine (usually 3 or 4 books each night), which meant that book was read an innumerable amount of times over the course of the week.

As we read it night after night, time after time, we started to notice some inconsistencies in the book (as only analytical parents like ourselves would notice).
  1. First of all, the title isn't completely accurate.  There are not actually 100 words in the book.  Eight are repeats ("duck" listed on both the Animal page and on the Bathtime page), and some of the "words" are actually two words ("stacking rings").  
  2. Second, some of the words have no business being in the first 100 category, in my opinion.  For example, again, "stacking rings."  What in the world?  I agree babies will play with stacking rings as one of their first 100 toys, but words?  
My list could continue, noting things like outdated pictures (telephone is a rotary dial phone... shouldn't it be a touch-screen phone?).  But alas, I digress.

This got me thinking.  What if I made a First 100 Words Book, specifically of my child's first 100 words?  I decided to try it out.  As I got to work, the pros of the idea kept coming to me.  I even tested it out on my baby as I went along and he loved the idea even more than I could have hoped.
1. I love it because it's a fun, colorful, interactive record of his first 100 words.
2. He loves it because he knows every. single. word. on every. single. page.  He yells every word, getting more and more excited with each one (which means this likely won't be a good addition to our church bag).

Now, for the DIY.  I started by making a list of all the words that are currently in his vocabulary.  I added to the list over the course of a day or so as I'd remember or hear more of them.  He isn't quite at 100 yet, which means this book will be a work in progress until then.  Rather than wait until that time, I decided to start now with the words he does say.  I'm so happy I did, seeing how much enjoyment he's getting out of practicing his words with the book.  (We don't include a word in his vocabulary until he's said it multiple times, on multiple occasions, without prompting.  He's gotta prove it!)

Then choose your materials.  I used a simple plastic photo album from the dollar store and some adorable Stampin' Up Designer Series Paper.  Use anything that fits your style and budget.
Then, it's up to you to do the rest!  A couple of thoughts to keep in mind as you go along:

1.  Keep it Simple.  Find cute paper you like and a simple method for adding pictures and words to your book.  Like I mentioned, mine is a work in progress, since he doesn't yet know enough words to fill the entire book.  My approach is a simple print, cut, mount, add the word, and insert in to the book process.  This makes it easy for me to add a few more words to the book each week as he adds them to his vocabulary.

2.  Portrait Orientation.  In my first attempt at the book, I did bigger pictures, filling the page.  This mean some were portrait orientation, and some were landscape.  As we would flip through the pages, we'd both get whiplashed, turning the book around each time the orientation changed.  I suggest keeping all the pictures the same direction, and even including two per page.

3.  Include the word.  You'll notice I added the actual printed word to the picture.  This is my attempt to increase the longevity of the book to a phase when he starts recognizing letters and words, not just images.  We'll see how that pans out in a few years.
One element I haven't figured out are how to document the words he says that don't necessarily correspond with an image.  For example: "all done," "awesome," and "bless you" (after a sneeze).  I'm considering just a list in the back (for me, not really for him) and calling it good.  Any other more creative ideas?


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