When our children are small and not yet at reading age, we give them picture books. These are invaluable for teaching them about the concept of a book - what they are, how to use them, how we can learn from them, and, hopefully how to care for them.
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Once our child begins to read, however, we tend to discard or pack away the picture books and replace them with those that have written stories, but there are other ways we can use picture books with children of just about any age.
Here are five ideas for using children's picture books:
1. Use the pictures as a basis for constructing a story. You could involve your child in naming the characters, giving them each a back-story. Help children to write the story, or write it for them.
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2. Use the pictures for an art project. If you don’t want the books ruined, pick some up at a thrift shop at a bargain price. Your children can decorate and enhance the pictures, use them for tracing practice or simply cut them out to use for making collages.
3. Favourite pictures from the book can be framed as artworks on your child’s wall. You can pick up lovely frames from thrift shops and paint or decorate them to match the décor.
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4. A favourite page can be laminated and used as a place-mat.
5. Books with realistic pictures or photos of toys can be handy for labeling. For example, if your child has a basket or box of toy cars, cut out a picture of a car and paste it on the front of the box. The same goes for blocks, dolls – anything. This will help your child to find the right box easily.
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If you can't bear to part with your child's picture books and don't want to damage them, be sure to store them in a cool, dry place to preserve them for your children's children.
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