Looking forward to over twenty hours flight time (each way) with a young toddler, sent me googling for every bit of information I could find on entertaining kids on an airplane (some of the best, most organized information is found at Delicious Baby.) I mashed a lot of the information together for what turned out to be a hit solution – personalized photo storybooks.
A few weeks before our trip, I put together my first photo books. My goal was producing something educational, entertaining, and full of familiar people and places. Of the many photo book sites, I chose Shutterfly because they had some great new templates that made it super easy for a first timer.
I started with a “numbers” book. A friend had taken cool pictures of fruit & veg from our farmers market that were perfect for a one to ten counting book. As you can see above, one page had a photograph and the other had the number in multiple languages, including the language of the places we were visiting – English, Spanish, French, Dutch, German, Chinese, Bahasa Indonesian. (Note: Shutterfly did not let me use Chinese characters.)
The second book was an “ABC book” (the “ABCs of You” template) where I compiled photos of family, our dog, Mirielle’s daycare, and other favorites. (These new, structured templates make it pretty easy for those of us without the photo/scrapbooking bug.) “B” is for Bath, with a picture of Mirielle in the bathtub; “D” is for dog, with a picture of our dog; “S” is for slide, etc. Some of the letters proved to be a challenge, but it was the type of puzzle I really dig.
How did the books go over with Mirielle? I pulled out both books as a surprise on the outbound flight. The ABC’s book was a HUGE hit. I was able to read it over and over for quiet, airplane play. Once at our destination, we kept the book in our day bag and it became a great conversation piece with the locals. We were able to share a little of Mirielle’s life in America and calm her down at the same time. It continues to get daily use with tape holding many pages together. (Photo books don’t come in board book material yet, so they wear more quickly with young children)
The number book was less of a hit at the time. The soft cover was more difficult for young hands and she was not into naming & counting books, yet. At 21 months, she is becoming interested, but only one language at a time. I think the language book would be best for an older toddler or preschooler (or parent).
After the success of the ABC book, I am ready to create a book for every major trip we take. Right now our next booked excursion is visiting family over Christmas. While I have not picked my theme yet, you can bet I will fill it with pictures from the year so Mirielle can “tell” her story to the family she meets.