I have been really digging making custom books for Lexi and seeing her response to them.
Since at this age, their world revolves around their own self, it’s helpful to show their days and experiences from their standpoint, featuring their names and pictures. Aside from helping kids develop a sense of self, it keeps their interest longer and more intense. I started making custom books at about a year old. Creating one after another based on the struggles or interests we were having.
There are some books that are pre-made for you and only need minor personalization, and others that require more time, photos and creativity to make it a story or a lesson.
BOOK OF EMOTIONS
The first custom book I made was a board book from a company that does seem to be in business anymore. I wanted to get a jump start on helping Lexi recognize emotions and feelings and when she was about 8 months old. I took a series of photos of me and Andrew featuring some basic expressions: happiness, sadness, anger, surprise, being cold and hot, fear. I was limited to only 12 pages and since I was featuring both Russian and English words, I could only do 6 emotions.
Lexi absolutely LOVED the book. At that age, seeing her mommy and daddy with funny expressions was EXACTLY what she wanted. At about 16 months, the book lost its appeal and it once again is peeking her interest now, at 2, when she has a better understanding of human emotion. I would recommend that EVERYONE creates such a book for their little one as early as possible, because understanding and recognizing emotion is integral part in avoiding tantrums and creating compassion.
Little Sparkle and Little Super by Paperhat Press
This is my favorite custom storybook to date!
The designs are just soooo gorgeous. I am not sure if a 2 year old appreciates that part, but I certainly do. You can customize the color and length of the character’s hair, their name and preferences (like favorite foods or personality traits), all of which are included into the story line. The story follows a girl who likes to pretend she is a fairy or a boy who is a super hero. Or it can be visa versa. In fact, Lexi is much into superheros so maybe it’s time to get a superhero book made for her. (edit: for some reason I cannot find the Little Super option on their website at this time)
Every page is filled with the most amazing illustrations and just enough text to interest, but not overwhelm a toddler.
A great resource creating a solid bedtime routine for them, as it follows the character all throughout his day, and then goes over the typical bedtime steps: dinner, bath, kisses from parents, sleep. The character in the book sits down to eat your baby/toddler’s favorite food (in our case it was broccoli), then Mom and Dad go on to list your kiddo’s best characteristics, so the book goes beyond just name and hair color customization.
I can’t recommend it enough. If fairies or superheros aren’t your type, there are plenty of other stories, like Birthday book, Christmas stories and many others .
Designed as a Book of Names and Faces (which is still a great idea), Pinhole has a perfect medium for parent’s imagination and creativity in the form of a mini board book.
It can be adjusted to pretty much any situation and any desires- sky is the limit. I created two books that were important to us at the time. Potty Book and Bedtime Book.
Both books used and overused, read over and over again. The bedtime book was especially useful when travelling, as it is small and features what toddlers love best, themselves. It helped wind Lexi down for bed by showing her how much she had accomplishes that day. We still do that now, without the book, going over her memories from the day. But having the book early on was instrumental in setting a good example in what became a daily routine for us.
The quality of the book is great, being a board book it holds us to wear and tear really well and once again, I love it because possibilities are endless: from names and faces, to routines, short stories to changes in the family. For example, rather than purchase a book that deals with an introduction to a new baby, parents could make a custom one that is more relevant to their child.
ABC Alphabet flash cards
I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE this product!
The quality is amazing! We have other store/internet bought flash cards, and they just don’t even come close to the Pinhole press cards. Matte, soft to touch, colorful and MOST importantly completely personalized with your pictures. I sort of wish Lexi didn’t learn the alphabet so early on (16 months), so she got more use out of these. I personally enjoy simply looking through them like a photobook.
Super affordable, too. I would expect something like this to cost a lot more than $25 dollars.
These ABC flash cards are a total must for anyone with a toddler!
A Photo Storybook
Another Pinhole Press creation!
Right after our annual big trip to Disney and before Lexi’s first 5 hour flight, I made a Disney Story book, a book detailing our trip to Disney and everything that she saw and did.
Oh it was a life saver on the plane and often occupies her in her car seat.
It’s a fairly thick book with a lot of pages to it. It allows for several designs for each page and enough writing to create a storybook. I don’t dig the feathered rounded circles and that pictures go into, but I guess it’s for a storybook effect 🙂
I haven’t seen any other product like this on the market and I think it’s a fairly new concept and product with Pinhole press, so that’s pretty cool that we have an opportunity to make custom stories for our kiddos. I can imagine as she gets older, we’ll be creating stories where she is a princess or a superhero, taking photos specifically for that.
MAKE YOUR OWN CUSTOM BOOKS
Some of these books were sent to me free of charge in hopes of receiving a mention. Thank you, Pinhole Press and Paperhat Press, for allowing me to discover these amazing products for children. I am sold.