Monday, February 14, 2011

Quiet Books

Sitting through sacrament meeting for about an hour can be brutal for little kids... and parents. We've tried yummy snacks, exciting toys, stickers, coloring books, etc. to keep our two misfits entertained and quiet! These tactics have lasted about as long as it takes to devour a packet of fruit snacks (or shake them all over the pew, in our case). I'm always in search of something that will give us a little piece and quiet during church.

Then armed with a coupon, I snagged a sweet deal on a laminator at Harbor Freight. After laminating everything in my house, my mom gave me the idea to make a quiet book. I love projects like this. Fun, simple and easy! Ok, the cutting can be a little tedious, but I kinda like things like that. I did steal a few ideas from other people online, so I guess I won't charge anyone for my book. :) Here's how I did it and you can use my template to make your own, if you so choose. Or you can mock me for my nerdy laminating fetish.

Step One: Print out your pages. Simple enough, though some of my images were just in black and white. I don't have any fancy smancy software (but I do have a pretty sweet laminator...ok, it's from Harbor Freight so it's really not that fantastic) that will color images. I find it just as easy to print it out and color it myself.

Step Two: Color and cut out the small pieces. One of the great lessons I learned while studying to become a teacher is that there is a trick to making laminated projects last. In order not to have the plastic peel off and curl up after lots of use, you have to leave a edge of clear laminate around each object. So you have to cut out each little piece on the line before you laminate it. Any pieces that I colored, I colored before cutting so I could color a little sloppy.

Step Three: Laminate. Woo hoo! Don't pee your pants, but it is pretty fun. When you laminate the little pieces, be sure to leave about a 1/2 inch space between each piece. That way when you go to cut them out you'll have enough excess to keep that border I was talking about.

Step Four: Cut out the pieces (again). Remember to leave that clear edge. I didn't cut out the pieces until I had enough time to put it all together so that I wouldn't lose any.

Step Five: Velcro. You can buy velcro stickers just about anywhere. I used the clear kind because you can put it over the design without covering it up. There is a bit of a technique to it and I learned a couple helpful hints along the way. Instead of putting each side of the velcro on individually, hook them together first. Then place it on the page. Then, position the piece how you want it on the page and press down. That way you aren't trying to find the bullseye blindly. Make sense? One thing I found along the way was to put the velcro in the center of each object so kids don't have to position them perfectly to get the pieces to stick. Also, you can use half of each velcro sticker. Saves money, and makes for a quieter ripping sound when your kids is pulling pieces off.

Step Six: Bind your book. Use a three hole punch (so you keep your holes lined up) and punch each page. You can find rings to hold it all together at any office store. I recommend using reinforcers on the holes because I noticed several times the books got stepped on and pulled on the holes.
Voila! You have a book that will keep your little one entertained! I tested out our books on Sunday and not only did they keep our boys quiet, but also the kid behind us. They would also be great as travel toys or anytime. Have fun making this one, or go make your own. Here is my template