Thursday, 24 March 2011

Big Machines Tot Book

Anyone who has discovered the brilliant 1+1+1=1 site will know what a tot book is.  For the rest of the world this is a little homemade activity book that teaches your toddler some basic skills such as colour recognition, name recognition, and counting, you can even slip in the odd simple game.  As your tot gets older the site also offers ready made preschool packs and then lapbooks to expand your little ones skill base with fun stuff to do.
Since B is heavily into books at the moment I thought he might like the Big Machines tot book as a place to start.
The book consists of 10 pages to print out (Download the pdf from here) which I then put together in a foolscap sized square cut file folder. These are basically large pieces of card folded in half which are used (for example) in filing cabinets to segregate papers.  This is a similar one from

The first thing I did after printing out the file was to arrange the pieces on the file folder before sticking them down.  One problem - there are not enough pieces to fill the folder.  So:

Take one folder and cut it in half - this will give me two tot books

Fold each with shutter fold.
Open the folder out

Fold one half to the middle (Where the original fold was)

Fold the other half to the middle


OK now to assemble the final thing
The central back section (the largest rectangle is for the I like Big Machines minibook  (I didn't want to laminate this so I cut a larger "spine" so hopefully this will stand up to be open and shut by a 3 yo for a while! I also used glue not staples as I had problems using this many pages with my standard stapler.

Inside the left front flap is the name accordian book.  (it is the first page of the pdf and you glue the tabs from one section onto the back of the next section so you end up with a long "strip" which you refold like an accordian).  In the original version as photographed on the site it is one letter per section to spell the kids name. I did a little bit of a tweak here after gluing all the sections together. Instead of writing B's name on the sections in normal script I did it in tracer script (dots/dashes), once this is covered in sticky backed plastic (book film) we will be able to use it to practise writing his name not just name recognition, by using plastic we should be able to use felt tip pens and the ink will wipe off so we can reuse this again and again.

Underneath the accordian book is the coloured bulldozers.  Again I covered these in plastic (laminated this time) so we can use coloured pens and do this activity lots of times.

On the inside of the right flap is the counting the machines section.  In the original book is was another minibook but I couldn't resist another tweak.  We cut ours out and laminated them to make sequencing cards, of course I couldn't resist adding a zero to complete the sequence as my own particular pet hate is that 0 is often not included in preschool stuff - very confusing when it then appears out of the blue at school.

So there we are the finished article - yet to be used as B was distracted by A being at home ill today but we shall see.

If you would like to make your own version you can download the pdf from here or check out the other tot books and packs here.

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