A pal of mine has a daughter, Addi, who just celebrated her first birthday. I wanted to give a handmade gift that would reinforce early literacy techniques and that Addi would love playing with. My first idea was to make a quiet book, but it proved too difficult and took too much time. What I came up with instead was easy to make and quite affordable: a Storytime To Go binder!
I bought a zip-around trapper keeper and a set of six zip pouches from Amazon for about $20 total. From the craft store, I bought a stack of $0.49 felt sheets, some soft blue and black flannel, and pieces of 8.5×11 foam board. I wrapped one board in black and one board in blue flannel: this involved some trial and error, and neither piece is perfect, but they should hold up ok for a little while at least. I used an ordinary glue stick as an adhesive, since the fabric adhesive I bought for that purpose turned out to have some VERY frightening warning labels that I hadn’t noticed at the store.
Each zipper pouch contains the felt pieces for a song/rhyme/game and a printout (glued to cardstock for durability) of any necessary lyrics/instructions. The pouches:
- Twinkle Twinkle Little Star (various sizes and colors of felt stars)
- Little Mouse (classic)
- Five Little Baseballs (this family are big-time baseball fans, so I made up a baseball rhyme for them to enjoy)
- Shapes (with ECRR2 techniques to help the parents use free play as a learning opportunity)
- Bonus: a ‘page’ with a rainbow of zippers sewn to a piece of stiff felt. I tied long ribbons onto the zippers for her to grab and pull.
Addi absolutely loves her gift and her parents were thrilled by it as well! She started playing with it as soon as her mom unwrapped it, and I’ve heard from her mom that she’s played with it every day since. Mission: accomplished!