Making books comes naturally to kids. After all, with any luck (and/or good parenting), they have been exposed to books since birth. When kids start to translate this love of books into their own oeuvres, don’t expect Maurice Sendak right out of the gate. Stories may lack plotlines and may not even make sense, but they are full of meaning for these little authors. And though I evolved to writing poetry as an older kid, my first “book” was a department store catalog.
It starts with folding paper and scribbling, which if you are like me, you run over and staple together, write the date on and place carefully in one of your overflowing “memory” boxes. The scribbling eventually turns into writing and drawing, but once children graduate from this stage, bookmaking can take on new dimensions — including the third, i.e. the pop-up book.
Creating a pop-up book can be done as a fun way to capture stories that your kid has been telling. (If the child is having a hard time coming up with a story, the pop-up book can be started as a craft project, and the story can be added later.) Although pop-up books can get very complicated, they also can be very simple. With a few basic techniques, your child’s stories can really pop.
First, start with a story. If your child is anything like mine, she will have no lack of story material. If your child is not writing yet, you can write it down for them. Then they can illustrate the story using their own drawings or by cutting out pictures from magazines. Another approach that works well with young kids is to start with the pictures and write the story based on them. Whatever approach you take, it is best if everything is done on cardstock, construction paper or any paper that is rigid enough to stand on its own. You can also glue the pictures to cardstock if that’s easier. Just remember the main objective is that these pictures need to stand up.
Next, choose some cardstock for each page’s background. If you use 8 ½-by-11 sheets cut them in half making 8 ½-by-5 ½ sheets. Fold these in half to make the pages. On the spine of each page, make two cuts of equal depth. The cuts should be as wide as the picture you want to glue or tape to it.
(You can do several if you have several things that you want to put on each page). Fold the cut section over and make a sharp crease. Bend it back and open the page. Push the cut section through so it folds the opposite way of the spine fold.
Repeat with the pages that you would like to have in the book. Color the backgrounds to help tell the story, and then glue or tape the figures, flowers or whatever to the “pop” sections. Glue or tape the pages together, then make your cover. Cut a piece of cardstock that is a little bigger than your pages and fold it in half. Write the title and add a cover picture. Then glue the cover to the back of the first and last page and voila you now have a pop-up book.
This kind of pop-up book is neither complicated nor time consuming, but it will definitely go into the memory box and make a great story to tell your grandkids, too.