Friday, January 4, 2013

Creating our way into the new year

I love Christmas, the anticipation of celebrating Jesus's birth, spending time with family, making gifts and ornaments, decorating, baking cookies with and for the ones I's all very magical.  Then the new year comes in with its own bits of sparkly anticipation.  A whole year, blank, unspoiled, and stretched before me with possibilities limited only by my energy, creativity, and sensitivity to how God is leading.

I love to start the new year with a blank, unlined journal or sketch book.  I spend all year filling the pages, jotting ideas down.  My 6 year-old, Jesse, is learning to read, write, and understand key features in a story (i.e. plot, characters, setting...).  And although doing his reading homework every night is often a difficult and patience-testing task, he loves to write and  illustrate his own stories.  I usually don't give him a lot of instruction or guidance since Jesse has an awesome imagination.  The best thing about this activity is that you probably have everything you need in your house right now to make this, and you can adjust the difficulty level according to your child.

Blank paper
Stapler with staples
Pencils, pens, crayons, markers...
Optional: computer with printer, magazines, blank books

Take 3-5 pieces of blank paper and fold them in half width-wise.  (Or line up whole pages and staple them along the left side for a bigger book.)

Use a stapler down the spine of the book to hold it together.  (You may have to bend one side of the book a bit to get the stapler to line up with the spine.)

Ta-dah!  An easy book ready to capture your little one's imagination!

Sometimes Jesse likes to write by himself and other times he just wants to dictate the story to me while I type it out on the computer.  We leave parts of the paper blank so he can illustrate it after he's done composing his tale.

Here's a book Jesse wrote with my Mom this Christmas  (a.k.a The Little Pirate and the Mighty Pirate, Written by Jesse Plew)
My Mom typed up the text and cut and pasted it onto whole pages.  Then, Jesse illustrated the book.
Here's my favorite part.  (Notice the peg-leg!)
We've used lined handwriting paper and story paper (a free version found here) this summer to journal when we wanted to practice writing, too.

If your kids need some prompting, just ask your child leading questions like...
* And then what happened?
* Everything went well, until....?
* And what was her name?
* What did he look like?
* Where were they when that happened?

Little ones could make a "Colors" book.  Staple blank pages together and label each page with a different color name.  Have small children color each page a different color according to the label or cut our pictures from a magazine and paste onto corresponding titles (animals, shapes, letters of the alphabet...).  Don't worry if it's not "perfect."  The imperfections make it so sweet!!!!

And if your kids really like doing this, check out Bare Books.  They offer TONS of high-quality, low-priced blank book options for your little ones to create their own literary masterpieces.  (GAH!  I even spied a make your own board game on there.  I will be adding that to my order!)

And, check this out.  I found these Story Studio packs in the clearance section of Target a couple of months ago and snatched 2 up for my little supers.  These awesome little kits (I'm a sucker for a kit!) have everything you need to create 3 story books with your child as the star.  (Crayola makes other versions, too - princesses, Cars, and Star Wars to name a few.  You can purchase one here, if you want to try it out!)  Jesse and I made a comic book featuring my SUPER 6-year-old and Spiderman.  Jesse loved it so much that he's taking it to school for show-and-tell today.  He kept giggling that he was actually helping Spider Man catch the bad guys.

Everything you need - crayons, paper, and a code to access an online comic book - so cool!

Jesse's first comic book, starring Super Jesse!  
I hope this inspires you to start creating with your little ones, too!

And don't forget to leave a comment some time before January 13th for a chance to win our super awesome giveaway!  (P.S.  Here's a sneak peak of one of the things we'll be sending to the winner.....)


  1. Nice ideas, Amy! Now all I need is some "grands" to play with.... my boyz just kept growing up.

  2. I did this with Molly yesterday and here was her story:

    Once upon a time there was a baby fairy who couldn't fly. She was too little. But the mam fairies flied around the room to teach the baby fairy. The baby fairy's name was Kaydon. And her mom was Peabed. They were all three bakers. They liked to make pea soup. One day, they all got married to boy fairies. THE END.

    I google imaged some cartoon fairies for her to choose some images and then cut and pasted it onto a word document. I think it would be fun to keep a folder with all her stories in! Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. Megan, that is too cute!!!! I just love her!!!