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 book 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.
And there are plenty more scattered around the internet. You can even make your own glue for the ones that need it.
- These Matchbox Books are really unique. You transform tiny matchboxes into beautiful little drawers, and inside you put a tiny little book. The opportunities for creativity here are amazing.
- IHeartCraftyThings has a DIY Funny Face flip book that’s really cool. It uses three sections of paper so you can mix that match eyes, noses and lips.
- PremeditatedLeftovers has a tutorial for a paper bag book. Brown paper bags serve as the binding in this fun, colorful project.