Friday, April 27, 2012

Animal Accordion Booklets

Cover shots of six of the animal fact booklets I made for the boys' Asia box.

The boys have been working rather heavily with their Asia continent box lately.  By far their favorite part of all our continent boxes are the miniature animals that I put in them (Safari and Tapirback are my favorite sources) in conjunction with photo/information cards about those animals.  Mostly we have been using a box of cards I found in the dollar section at Target.  Like this one from our Australia box:

The boys don't like it when an animal doesn't have a cards, so if it wasn't included in my box of cards I have been making a card for the animal myself.  For some reason the deck of cards included very few Asian animals and we have quite a collection in our box.  I was disappointed by the idea of having to make all of those cards myself because getting it all to fit on just a card is a little frustrating.  Then I remembered the great accordion books I read about over at A Bit of This and a Bit of That.  You should go read the post over there, a guest post.  You won't be disappointed.

I was excited by the idea of accordion books for the continent boxes because they can be very similar in size to the cards, but I could make room for as much information and as many pictures as I wanted.  I made mine a little differently than Susan does.  She uses a glue stick to mount individual pages onto a beautiful, solid-piece, of interesting paper and scores them to make the folds.  I loathe mounting things with a glue stick. As an alternative I just printed mine onto plain white cardstock.  I laminated just the first and last page of each book.  I connect the pages simply with Scotch tape.  I just alternate whether I am applying the tape to the front or back of the book for each page so that it folds nicely, accordion style.  

The boys love these for many reasons.  Just folding and unfolding the booklets is a huge point of interest for Me Too.  We also like that you can view the whole book at once or a few pages at a time, stand it up for display, or read it turning pages just like a regular book.

Stands up for display

Turn the pages just like a book

Some elements are consistent from book to book.  The first page is always a "basic facts" page that tells them whether the animal is a reptile or mammal (etc.,), what they eat, size, life span, predators and prey, etc.,  One of the advantages to making your own booklet is that you are able to format this best so your child can read it.  Kal-El is uncomfortable with abbreviations and hyphens right now.  So, I was able to type out "feet", "inches" and "pounds" and replace the hyphen in things like "120-320 pounds"  with the word "to."  All these things make it easier for him to use these independently.  Every booklet has a world map that shows the animal's location in a bright color (as seen in the above photo).  And, when I can get my hands on one, I always include a graphic that shows the animal standing next to a full-grown man so they can get an idea of the animal's size.

Those two things are Kal-El's favorite parts of the books and are very important to him.  He likes to put the animals in just the right place on the maps.  He is very interested in the food chain so loves to know "who is eating who."  We keep a tape measure right in the school room so he can pull it out to all the different sizes of the animals.

I made a lot of these books for the Asia box:

I would love to share the files for these with all of you, but they are not original work.  I get almost all my information for the cards, maps, and graphics by combining the information from these two sites:

I pull almost all the images from Google images choosing what every strikes my imagination or illustrates a point in the text I am using well.  

It is nice to be able to pick and choose the parts of the text that I find the most interesting, change the vocabulary as needed, eliminate any metric measurements, and choose a font that I know it is easy for the boys to read.

Kal-El suddenly finds baby animals irresistibly cute, so I try to include one.

They love close up photos and diagrams of anything "dangerous" about the animals, such as the above diagram of the fangs of the yellow-bellied sea snake.

It is great to have something "in house" to satisfy their curiosity about all of these animals.  When a particular animal strikes their interest, that is when we go and get a more detailed book from the library.

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  1. those are wonderful , i love the idea , would you be able to share in a post a list of of name of the animals included in your continent box for each continent . I too try to use safari toobs for mine but Asia is the box that got the least miniature animals . all the posts from various blogs show beautiful photos of the content of each box , but would be helpful if you can share more detail about this . thanks a lot . viv

  2. Nice Idea MBT!!! I love it!!!! Great Job!!