It’s Day 6 of my Twelve Days of Christmas Gift Ideas! Today the focus is on kids! I’ve been thinking of my little guy and the holidays lately. Even though he’s only 15 months his personality is really emerging and he (like most kids I assume) has no issue with showing his like or dislike for something. One thing I know he loves is books – and that includes photo books too! (What a relief for Photo Book Mom!) (Update 2014: My little guy is now 3 years old!)
For those of you following my series (I hope you all are!) you may recall Day 1 of my gift ideas was photo books, but I realize I didn’t talk specifically about photo books for kids and those are some of my favorite books to make.
Here’s some of my best ideas for photo books that will please the little ones:
“Facebook” for Babies – No we’re not talking about signing up your little one for his or her own Facebook account, what I mean here is a book of photos of baby’s family and/or close friends – anyone you would like your baby to get to know. This book can be especially helpful if grandma or grandpa live out of town or for any relative that you may not see often. I will tell you from firsthand experience that this book works! At 15 months he can point out and say “ma” and “dah” and grandma and grandpa, as well as his uncle’s name and even his cousins’ names who he doesn’t even see that often! We also included photos of him and he’s learning how to say his own name as well! Click on the link to see my baby’s face book!
Lullaby Book – I made a lullaby book recently for my little one – but admittedly, it was probably more for me than for him. However you can easily make a book of your baby’s favorite rhymes or songs and add photos of your baby to personalize it. At bedtime, you and your little one can curl up with a personalized book of the lullabies and stories he enjoys;
My Favorite Things – What about making a book full of photos of your child’s favorite things? You can snap photos of these items and add a little narrative about them. If you have an older child you can make it a fun project you can do together. You can ask why that item is special to them – it will make for a great keepsake when they are older.
Milestones/School Days Book – When I was a kid, my mom bought me a spiral type book with pockets that you can fill out once a year with the name of your teacher, what you wanted to be when you grew up, your favorite school subject, your grades etc. You can easily make a custom one which leave spaces for you or your child to fill out and a place to paste your child’s yearly photo. I love looking back at my book and recalling that I once wanted to be an astronaut. For a younger child, you could create a milestones book and fill it will your child’s accomplishments (like first word, date of first steps, etc.)
ABC Book – What better way to learn your ABCs than with photos of things that familiar to your child? I’ve seen examples of this executed very nicely on Pinterest. You might have to stretch a bit to think of an “X” or a “Z” but chances are you have a xylophone in the house or a stuffed zebra right? You also don’t have to limit yourself to things in your home – it could be things in your neighborhood or city or photos you’ve taken on vacation. I think this would be a fun project to make. (Update: I’ve made two ABC books that I totally love! Check out my Photo Book Baby’s ABC Book and my Disney ABC book.)
First Words Book – Photo Book Baby loves those books with spreads that are filled from edge to edge with all sorts of objects – they really catch his eye. Like the popular books that feature “things that go” or “things around the house”. It got me thinking it would be fun to make a book like that of things that he interacts with in his own environment. I could take a photo of our sofa, or car or socks, or shoes, or table etc. and label it for him just like those books that he loves. We’ve really seen an explosion of words from him lately and we know it comes from reading to him all the time and pointing to objects in his books and showing him the corresponding objects around the house. He’s really making the connections and learning so much about his world. He also at the stage where he loves to point at our eyes and nose and belly buttons etc.! I thought it would be fun to have a spread in the photo book with a large photo of him with his body parts labeled, so he can learn them that way. I’m definitely going to do this project for him!
Character Theme Book – Most parents have probably learned more than they wanted to know about Elmo, Lightning McQueen, Cinderella etc. If your kid loves a specific character, chances are you can make a photo book featuring that character and your child. I have received several emails from folks wanting to make a photo book of their trip to Disney World and incorporating Disney characters. I recently saw several Disney themed photo books at Snapfish. I also found free Disney type fonts at Fontspace, and at urbanfonts.com.
Be A Part of the Story – I’ve seen some books where you choose from various storybook themes, provide a photo of your child and his/her name, and the company creates a personalized book. Shutterfly has a line of these books called CenterStage. They feature well-known characters from Sesame Street, Dora the Explorer and Sponge Bob.
Kids’ Cookbook – for older kids this may be a fun project to work on, or to receive. What a great way to pass down family recipes! Although I haven’t made a kids’ cookbook, I have made a collaborative cookbook with friends before and you can read more about it via the link.
Where to Print Your Book
If your book is for a baby or young child and you want to make a book that can take some wear and tear and some handling, you can have a custom board book printed. I’ve never done this myself, but I saw in my online research on this topic, a company named Pint Size Productions that prints custom board books – you can upload a completely custom book you’ve designed on external software or you can do a semi-custom book using one of their templates.
I also think the thicker pages of AdoramaPix books, the deluxe ArtsCow books as well as the Ashbury book from MyPhotoCreations could work well for this type of project. (UPDATE 3/28/2013: Also check out Shutterfly’s lay flat upgrade with premium paper.) Keep in mind however that the corners will be pointy (most board books I’ve seen have rounded corners), so make sure to supervise younger children if you have a concern about the edges.
If your child is older, then any one of the photo book companies could work just fine for this type of project. I actually have lots of books for Photo Book Baby that aren’t board books, but I do supervise him to make sure he isn’t being too rough with the books. Make sure to check out my photo book deals page for the latest discounts.
Other Tips and Inspiration
If some of these projects sound like they may take some time and thought to put together, don’t forget how easy it is to replicate your book – you only have to design one book and order several copies for all the kids on your list. If an exact copy is not ideal, you can easily change out a few pages to personalize it for that particular recipient. You could also make a collective photo book for all the children in your family (including your children’s cousins etc.) which would make for a nice family keepsake too.
If you’re looking for more inspiration, check out my NEW photo book idea gallery that will give you a quick glance at my books (kids themed and all photo books in general) and if you like what you see, just click the links to a more detailed review.
If you’re new to photo books, be sure to check out my step-by-step guide on how to make a photo book with all my best tips. Also remember you can make a photo book very easily with a stylish pre-made template, so don’t stress about being a newbie!
Kids photo books are ideal for including lots of fun and colorful clip art. Companies that have lots of clip art I like are Mixbook and Shutterfly. You can also find lots of free clip art online as well as buy all sorts of decorative embellishments for relatively cheap (a few bucks) if you want to go that route. I have more info on some of my favorite digital scrapbooking sites (with lots of freebies) here.
Don’t forget to check out the latest photo book deals here. You can often find BOGO (buy one get one free) deals as well as big savings!
DAY 7 COMING SOON!
Be sure not to miss any of my gift ideas! I’ll be archiving all of them on the main Photo Book Girl gift page as we go through all 12 days so be sure to check back! I’d love to hear if you’re planning on making any of my picks for someone on your list! Comment below.