For children who love to read and write, and even for those who may struggle, authoring a book is an exciting opportunity. This project combines arts and crafts with writing, as your child writes a story about himself and publishes it into a book—made out of a paper bag! With simple materials you can create an enriching activity for your child that combines creativity, self-expression, fine-motor skills and brainstorming. Plus, it can make a great gift for someone special.
What You Do:
- Start by laying the paper bag flat on the table following the natural lines of the bag’s shape. The rectangular part that normally forms the bottom of the bag should be folded in and facing up—that is section A. The other part of the bag should then be folded in half horizontally—these are now sections B and C. When folded in half section C should tuck underneath section A, so that you have something that looks more like a square shape.
- Cut about 10 pages of construction paper in different colors into rectangles that measure about 5 inches by 4 inches. Stack them together. These are now the pages of your book.
- Unfold the bag so that section C is closest to you. Attach the pages of your book to section C of the bag (the section closest to the opening of the bag) by putting three staples along the left side to make the spine. Now, when you fold the book up and tuck it under section A, the pages will be hidden.
- Now that you have your book built, it’s time to brainstorm what your child wants to write about! Help your child choose an activity that he enjoys, such as picking flowers or playing soccer. How would your child describe that activity? Who else normally does this activity with him? On a scrap piece of paper, write a sentence with your child for each page of the book. When your child is happy with his story, help him to transcribe his story on each of the 10 pieces of construction paper. Have him illustrate each page as he goes along.
- Now make a title to go on section A of the book. If it’s a story about picking flowers, have your child cut a flower shape out of the construction paper, write the title of the book on the flower, and paste it directly on section A. You could even make some cut-out illustrations to go on section C, so that when it folds up you have a complete picture. How about a stem with some leaves to go with the flower head on section A? Don’t forget to find some place to write the book’s author! There is lots of room to be creative with this project, so let your child's imagination run wild!
When the whole book is completed, have your child consider giving it as a gift to a friend or family member. It's sure to cheer up someone’s day.