Need a project to keep your kids creative and productive during this quarantine time? This is one of my favorite things to do with my kids and is such a keepsake!
On Shutterfly, you can make 8×8 hard cover books. Multiple times a year, they let you print a free one, and you only pay shipping! So for about $10, you can have your child create and illustrate a story and have a copy printed. My kids love to look back at old stories that they wrote when they were younger!
First, print out this plan that I created. The free books are only for books that are 20 pages or less, so it helps kids to have a guideline to use in their planning. This plan shows them what they will see on Shutterfly–Xs where they cannot place items, and the spreads for their story and photos. Let them brainstorm what their story may be about. They need a fun setting, characters, a problem, and how it will be solved. Then they can sketch out their ideas on this plan. Sometimes, they may want to have only a picture on a page. Or they may want to have only writing, or a combination of a picture and writing. This is when the plan helps out. (When my kids were younger, they always wanted it more like a picture book with a large photo and then writing underneath. As they get older, they prefer more words in order to tell the story in detail.)
Once their plan is made, they are ready to go to Shutterfly and start their book. Create a new hard cover 8×8 book. They may want to start with just a plain white book and add images and backgrounds, or they may want to start with a themed book! There are themes such as a Disney one, tropical settings, woodsy, etc! How fun would it be to create a story that happens at Disney and then be able to add clip art of some of your favorite characters?? Once they have a theme, they can start typing their story and adding their illustrations. For littles who are still learning to write, it is fun to have them dictate the story to you as you type it in the book! It’s also a good idea to put the year on either the cover, the spine, or a title page so you can always remember when they created it.
For illustrations, I think one of the most special things is having actual art drawn by my kids. These images are from books they made in 2015 and really reflect their innocence and art skills at those ages. An easy way to add art is to have them draw an illustration, then take a picture of it with your cell phone. You can do any editing on it (such as brightening) and then upload it to the book. Shutterfly even has an app that you could use for this part. Using the app, you can upload straight from your phone to their book.
Once their story is complete, they may want you to look it over for any errors or editing assistance. From there, you can order your book or wait until they have their free 8×8 offer and order it then! (Just follow them on Facebook to watch for that free offer.) I think you will love this keepsake and it makes them feel like real authors to have their work in print! Have fun creating!