Bookmaking isn’t something you ordinarily think of as a fun craft for kids. But if you show them a method of somehow binding some pages together, and then either writing on them or printing them from a computer, it can keep them busy for hours. It can also help them learn and practice valuable skills: writing, penmanship, typing, drawing and/or graphic design, etc. The books themselves can also be used as teaching and studying devices. There are lots of free online templates and printables to start from.
Free book templates
Of course, the traditional booklet is good enough, and simple as can be. You just take several sheets of letter-size paper, fold them in half, and staple along the binding.
Susan Kapuscinski Gaylord is a teacher and author who’s put together a wonderful set of free templates with instructions that kids can use to make booklets. She focuses on using recycled materials like paper, index cards, rubber bands, and sticks. The templates come in a great variety, including:
- Step book. The step book has flip-up pages that get larger as you go down. Great for telling a story, they’re also terrific as a sort of flash card system for when a child is struggling to learn a topic. Help the child put the answers on the back of each page, and just the act of writing it all down will help reinforce the information in her mind.
- Stick and Elastic book. Uses a stick and an elastic band to bind folded pages into a booklet.
- Accordion book. Suitable for a short story or a series of drawings, especially if you want to display it (since the semi-folded pages can stand up on their own).
- Wish scroll. A tradition with Ethiopian children: a scroll to be placed inside a container and worn around the neck or tied to a belt. This scroll can contain a wish, a prayer or an affirmation.
If you want something more technological, free printables offer a lot of options. Some allow kids to create the whole booklet on the computer and then print it out, and others are designed to be printed so a child can add hand-written and hand-drawn work to it before assembling the whole thing into a booklet. Vicki Blackwell has a great assortment, including:
- Fact Flipper Books. Another great alternative to flash cards, made from a Powerpoint slide presentation. She tells you to put a question on Slide 2, and the answer to it on Side 8, and so on, which takes out all the guess work so kids can just get down to business.
- Stars Twinkle Book. A Word template with border pages featuring twinkling star graphics, for kids to type or hand write their books on.
- Fan Book. Download this Powerpoint template, and kids can fill in text boxes and add graphics about whatever they’re studying. Then they cut out the pages and assemble the booklet.
- Pop-up book. A Powerpoint template for making a pop-up book.
- Friendship book. A Word template with cooking images and room for text. Kids type in their idea of a “recipe for friendship”, print it, and then assemble it into a book.