Over the years our family has made a lot of booklets and crafts to learn about various character traits. This was one of my oldest son’s favourites when he was around 2 years old.
I made this “Learning about Gentleness” book because, like many parents of toddlers, I was finding myself talking a lot about being gentle. Being gentle with toys, with friends, and I also wanted to prepare my son to be gentle with his soon-to-be-born baby brother!
I created particular book by myself, but making a booklet is also a project you can do together if your child is interested.
I started by outlining the concepts I wanted to help my son understand (full text is found at the end of this post). I knew my son loved lift-the-flap books so I simply printed out my text in short segments and laminated it onto rectangles of paper. Then I found magazine pictures to represent each idea that fit under the flaps, and laminated those onto the pages of the book.
I taped the flaps over the pictures so that they lifted upwards but they could be made to go in any direction you want. Just make sure they don’t interfere with each other as that can make it confusing when they are being opened and closed. I reinforced the flaps with tape on the underside as well.
Lastly I punched holes on the inside of each page and then tied each pair of holes together so that the book opened all the way out. I had learned from trial and error that threading the string all the way through the holes (similar to sewing) meant that the book didn’t stay open very easy, which wasn’t very user-friendly for toddlers especially for a flap book.
If you don’t want to use magazines, you could also use images of your child’s favourite characters or even photographs of your own child.
The text in this particular booklet was:
I am gentle when I offer things to my friends. (encouraging kids not to throw)
I am gentle with my toys.
I always touch babies very gently. They are very small and need special care.
I am gentle with my friends’ feelings when we play.
I am careful not to hut anyone when we are playing.
There are special times to play quietly. (encourage kids to use a gentle voice in certain places or during specific times of the day)
As we read through the booklet, I would try to point out times my son had practiced gentleness similar to the child in the picture. When he was old enough, he could give examples as well.
You can make your own manners book for toddlers to teach about many different concepts: patience, table manners or meeting new friends to name a few.
You can see the book in action in this Instagram video.
Would you like to make a manners book for your toddler? What would you include?
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