What is a quiet book, you say? Well, a quiet book is one that is chock full of quiet activities for little ones. It is especially useful when traveling, in church, or when you just need some quiet at home.
This was a LOT of work. I got most of the ideas from this page - http://quietbook.blogspot.com/2008/09/gathering-supplies.html, and she has links to tons of other pages, so I already have a million more ideas. Quincy and I started brainstorming as well, so I have an additional one million original ideas. I'll definitely make more pages and therefore, create what will truly be the neverending project. (This is kind of hard for me because I really like things to be "done," but this is one of those projects I won't exactly get to "check off the list." I'm trying to psychologically prepare myself for that. Wish me luck!)
One of the things I read early on, when researching this endeavor, was to be sure to use book rings to bind the book, instead of sewing it together. There were a few of reasons for this. First, since this book is made for kids to play with, some of the pages will inevitably be destroyed. Since it is bound with book rings, I only have to remove the destroyed page instead of throwing out the whole book, or worse, trying to repair one page in a completely sewn-together book. Second, you can easily take pages out and put them back at will. It can be a completely different book from week to week. It can always be "new" to the little one, making them more interested and creating the likelihood that it actually will keep them quiet. Finally, if you have multiple children, the pages can be traded between multiple books. Let's say that once Aspen is old enough, she just loves all the apple tree pages, while Ephraim really likes the fishing pages. No big deal. Just trade. Beautiful. I am SO glad I read all of that before beginning the project. It really took a lot of tedious work to create the pages, so I would be devastated if my book were in 1 piece and then ruined, or if it became boring.
So, here are the photos. Enjoy! If you have any questions, feel free to ask!
The cover of the book. I added a snap in order to be able to shut it.
I sewed a huge pocket on the inside left of the cover. Page 1 is a cell phone. All the ideas that I saw online were rotary phones, which are cute, but they are barely in existence. Ephraim would have no idea what to do with one. I really wanted the book to teach him something, so I tried to make a phone he'd be familiar with. I added our phone numbers to the page, so that he can learn them, and the little phrase, "In an emergency call 911." The phone snaps to the page, so it can be removed to make calls. ;)
These are all the things that are currently stored in the giant pocket. A small Magna Doodle, crayons, a small coloring book (with stickers and tattoos, of course), and a baggie full of Cheez-Its. This is truly a child survival kit and is all ready for church tomorrow!
The next page is a mail box. The slot is open so he can put his letters and drawings inside. The facing page has a pocket for a pencil and a larger pocket for paper. (I'll put the paper in later.)
The page on the left is a miniature "town," complete with a Hot Wheels type car parked in the neon green garage. It can come out and drive on the street. The right page is a street light. Each of the colors is attached with Velcro to its corresponding color.
Letters and numbers! There are about a zillion pieces of Velcro on these pages so the letters and numbers can be moved around. He can practice spelling. The green pocket on the left can contain any/all letters or numbers not in use.
Getting dressed! The left page has a little boy with a few Velcro spots for his clothes. The right page is his closet. When you unzip the closet, you find...
Clothes! He can be dressed in multiple ways. Over time, I'll make some more little outfits for him.
Here we have a teepee and Noah's Ark. I'm not sure what I'll put in the teepee yet. Something great. The turquoise pocket will hold a compass. When you unzip Noah's Ark, it will of course contain... ANIMALS! I've looked at a few different places and haven't really found animals that I am happy with. I will probably order the finger-puppet animals from Ikea, as suggested on the aforementioned blog.
I think these pages are ridiculously cute. (Also kinda girly, but don't tell Ephraim.) The cupcakes can be removed from their "papers" and moved around. The oven opens and a cupcake can be inserted to bake. I will eventually make a little pot holder and attach it to the oven page, just to teach baking safety. ;)
Help Peter catch some fish! (This page makes me laugh for two reasons. 1. Peter looks crazy. I just drew him on the felt. Drawing on felt is kinda lame. 2. We used to call Ephraim's unmentionable part a peter, so he's still a bit confused about this friend of Jesus named Peter. I'll chock that up to a first-time parents mistake. Do not give private parts human names. When you meet that person, it will be embarrassing at the least, and possibly horrifying/confusing for your child at the worst.) The fish are buttoned to the page. They can be unfastened and placed inside the fishing net! The opposite page is for weaving. The strips of felt can be layered over each other to create a checkerboard pattern. (I was too lazy to do so for the picture, but you get the point.)
On the left, slide your hand inside the baseball glove. I thought I had a great idea by making the glove for the left hand, because Ephraim is right-handed, but it just sort of looks like a backward glove for the left hand. Oh well! On the right side, match the flower colors. Each of the flowers can unbutton from the page. Beneath them is a flower of the same color.
Match the shapes! These shapes Velcro on to their corresponding shapes on the page. The brown pocket will contain them when not in use. In hindsight, I wish I would have made the shapes in different colors from their corresponding shapes. Then, I could have had a little higher cognitive-level activity, matching shapes OR colors. I can always cut out some additional shapes though. No biggie. On the right is a teddy bear with a bow that needs tying. Good skill to learn.
And finally, the apple tree. The apples snap onto the tree and can be placed inside the little basket.
So, that's the quiet book for now. Like I said, I have approximately 2 million ideas for additional pages, so I'll update as I go. Also, I'll let you know how successful the book is after church tomorrow. :)