When our kids turned two and began to express an interest in books and letters, we felt that one of the best ways to help them learn (while also providing a treasured time capsule of cuteness… and also making the mothers-in-law adore us… actually, put that last one first) was to make their very own alphabet book. The hardest part was thinking of some kind of prop for every letter. That’s a lie. The hardest part was trying to keep a 2-year-old happy and entertained through multiple costume and prop changes, because you HAVE to get all 26 shots unless you want your child to go to preschool only knowing the parts of the alphabet he/she could sit still through. But enough about my parental insecurities.
Once we figured out something for each letter, we started shooting. Here are the best tips and tricks for making an alphabet book without pulling out all your own hair or your child’s (also frowned on at preschool):
1. Gummy bears. Don’t start until you have a bag handy. If you are a crunchy, organic type of mom, you can substitute a 5-pound bag of raw sugar. You will be offering liberal amounts of whatever it is, so buy stock in a good toothpaste company and try not to think about it. You will love yourself when you are reading your child an alphabet book featuring them. So will your dentist. Win-win.
2. Q is for “quilt” if you have a girl and “quiver” if you have a boy. X is for “X-ray” or “xylophone” (do yourself a favor and buy a colorful wooden one on Amazon. Then you can count this as musical stimulation, you overachieving Montessori mom, you!). Z is for “zipper.” You’re welcome.
3. You will need more than one session. Set things up and just leave them. It will probably take 2-5 short photo sessions to get 26 decent shots unless you want T to stand for Temper Tantrum.
4. When you get it printed up, use a company that does lay flat albums, so words don’t get caught in a crease. Adoramapix does a great photobook and they often run specials, so I buy their albums often.
5. Try to pick objects that have special meaning to your child or family. You can even include family members. We always let M stand for “Mommy” and D for “Daddy.”
Here are a few of our favorite letters.