You can find plenty of ABC books for babies on the shelves of any bookstore, usually in sturdy board book format. However, you don't have to buy a book for your child. Instead, you could make one -- a custom alphabet book of her own. A personalized ABC book creates special memories, and it could become a treasured keepsake. In addition, it’s an enjoyable crafts project for the family -- if you have older children, this is a great way to get them involved.
A zoological alphabet book is always a fun choice. Your baby will learn letters, vocabulary and maybe even a little biology, if you choose. Find pictures of the animals of your choice and paste them onto poster board pages or a blank board book. You can also add fun fur, feathers and patterned paper for animals like the tiger and zebra. For the often-difficult X, you can use a scientific name if you like, such as xiphias gladius -- better known as the swordfish. Alternatively, there is Xanthippe's shrew, a dinosaur known as Xenotarsosaurus and the humble aquarium fish called the X-ray tetra.
Think fruits, vegetables, trees and flowers, and you have the basis for a green and growing ABC book. Use photos from garden catalogs as illustrations. Once again, you can use scientific names to help you with some of the more difficult letters of the alphabet. Alternatively, use the alphabet book as an opportunity to teach a botany lesson about the plant tissues xylem and phloem.
Food makes a good topic for an ABC book and it can help encourage your baby to try a wide range of foods once he starts on solids. You might not want to teach them about xanthan gum, a common food additive, but how about XO sauce, a common condiment in Chinese cuisine or xigua, a kind of melon. Don’t forget quail eggs, quince, the dairy product quark, and, of course, zucchini.
Consider compiling an A to Z of your neighborhood or town. Take along your digital camera and take pictures of the letters as you find them -- it's like an alphabetical scavenger hunt. Don't forget to look for structures that resemble letters, like an A-frame house or a railroad crossing sign that looks like an X. Once you compile the photos into book form, your child will have a tool to learn local geography as well as learning his letters.
You don't need to restrict your ABC book to a certain theme. Instead, build a collage from objects that begin with each letter of the alphabet, plus cutouts of the letter itself taken from magazines, newspaper headlines and the like. You can also cut out your own letters from patterned and textured paper, cloth, foil or similar materials.
This project would make a smart homemade gift for baby's first birthday. Collect pictures of items that are important to baby and your family, and collect pictures of items from around your home and neighborhood. Include favorite book or media characters if you like, as well as beloved toys and objects. Arrange your selections by letter and paste them into a scrapbook. Embellish with stickers, ribbon trim, buttons and other trimmings. Look for alphabet-themed scrapbook supplies, too.