‘But what do I do with the scrapbook?’ One family’s crafting journey and top tips for scrapbooking

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Julie Boyle found out about Reading Force from a post shared on a military wives Facebook page, when her daughter Chloe was not yet two. “I looked and thought that sounds brilliant.” She ordered a scrapbook and book through the Reading Force website. Since then the family have completed three scrapbooks and take great pleasure in crafting them. Here, Julie shares her Reading Force experience and top tips for scrapbooking…

I was so excited waiting for our first scrapbook to arrive and to see Chloe’s face when she received the new book! Chloe has enjoyed reading since she was tiny so I knew this would be perfect for us, she likes nothing better than curling up with Mammy and Daddy to read a book (or ten!). The book from Reading Force arrived, amazing I thought, and we settled down to read it. It was such a hit we read it four more times before we could read anything else.

But what do I do with the scrapbook? I wondered. I was stumped on how I could make it meaningful for a not yet two year old. After a bit of a think I hit on an idea to do some themed crafts linked to the story. Chloe really enjoys crafts so it felt like a winning combination. Google became a friend at this point, it offered me a lot of ideas.

The first book was Mog the Forgetful Cat. I ambitiously decided with an enthusiastic Chloe we could make a puzzle using a copy of the book cover picture. We set to with picture, cardboard, glue and scissors and a little while later we had our puzzle drying out. Daddy arrived home and immediately had to make the puzzle with Chloe! Alongside the puzzle we coloured in a facemask and drew inside the scrapbook. We talked about what Chloe had enjoyed in the book and wrote this down in the scrapbook. We made the puzzle using the book to help Chloe work out where the pieces went, then popped them in an envelope and attached it to the scrapbook. Chloe had lots of fun running round with her mask on and we took pictures to send to her aunty! It was time, we posted our scrapbook off!

A lovely certificate arrived in the post, along with a book and another scrapbook. I began to wonder if I had set too high an expectation by making a puzzle for the first book! We had a few reads of the new book, A Secret Worth Sharing, another hit, then we made a bookmark (cue more glue, scissors and wool). Daddy really liked the bookmark, so much so he is going to take it with him next time he goes away. We painted a picture of a mole and wrote down what we had enjoyed from the story. Chloe wanted to show the bookmark to the lovely people at Reading Force so we placed it in the pages of the scrapbook, making it just like a real bookmark!

Book number three arrived, a lovely little story of an elephant family, All In One Piece. We made a handprint elephant family and a paper plate elephant (thank you google!) Chloe liked pulling the trunk off so we ended up making a new trunk and using sticky squares to attach it so it pulled off easier. Lovely messy crafts for a rainy afternoon.

My real message here is not to be put off when the scrapbook lands on your mat, the real idea is to spend time together as a family reading and enjoying stories. Crafting may feel a bit out there for some but I am no expert, far from it, it really is about the experience and doing it together. Google was helpful but Chloe would have been happy with a piece of paper and some paint or pens, it was the fact we were spending time doing something together that she liked best.

Chloe tells me our next book will be Christmassy, so I have been thinking we could make a handprint Christmas tree with added glitter, a cotton wool snowman and we may even do some salt dough tree decorations!

I cannot say enough how wonderful Reading Force is and how glad I am I happened across this amazing charity. If anyone is thinking of taking part I would wholeheartedly say do it! It is a great way of bringing the family together in a time where this can be a real challenge!

Five scrapbook creation ideas from the Boyles:

  • Let the little ones use their imagination, it doesn’t matter if things aren’t perfect or even make sense to you, it is about them exploring and learning
  • Use what you have at home, it doesn’t have to cost anything or much to make some things. We used things we had here from other crafts but also a cereal box, a paper plate left over from a party, a mask from a party bag – things that would never have been used otherwise
  • Talk about what you are doing, what have they enjoyed and why. Is it something you could do more of? We have set aside time every week for messy play as it’s something Chloe is really keen on (go outdoors if you don’t want the mess inside!)
  • Google ideas, the internet is full of things to make and do and range from super simple to really complex with everything in between!
  • Have fun! It doesn’t matter what you decide to draw, paint, make, its about doing it together

By Julie Boyle (a Reading Force mum)

To request your free book and scrapbook please join up today HERE

Reading Force