DIY Learning Tools:The Butterfly Book

I've created a book for Penelope to use as she grows up to help with her education and learning. Education starts right from the moment your baby is born straight away they start learning and observing the world around them. It was amazing just how quickly I came to realise how intelligent newborn babies were. When I gave birth to Penelope, she was put onto the breast only a matter of minutes after being born she knew exactly what to do by opening her mouth and latching on correctly first time. Another time she amazed me was when she was only a few months old, she would be relaxing in her bouncer happy as pie so I would take advantage to dive into the bedroom or bathroom and tackle a quick house chore. Penelope would straight away start fussing because she knew I'd left the room without even seeing me leave. She would smell or sense that I was no longer in the room. A tiny human so fragile and incompetent to fend for themselves still managing to express such intelligence, astonishing.

Having experienced being a mum for the first time and being shown just how incredible babies/children once i'd had my own child it became hugely important to me to give Penelope every opportunity to learn at her best. I wanted to make sure I put in plenty of time to teach her about EVERYTHING. As the months have past I've created many ways in which I would do that. Infact I give her my undivided attention from the moment she wakes up and until she goes to bed. I'm going to show you a learning tool I have made in which I hope will aid Penelope over the next few years. One that I can alternate the content and update it as she develops her skills. I'll be showing you just a few completed parts of the book but I have done hours upon hours of work over the last few months on it when I've had a spare moment from day to day life.

What Is The Meaning Behind It's Name?
I decided upon the name as at the time of me having the idea it was Penelope's favourite thing in the world, being in total love with butterflies. She has many in her bedroom from wall decal's, a lampshade, and stickers. Since a tiny age we've interacted alot with them. Iinfact we still do to this day at one years old she loves them just as much. I like the name because it's a dear memory of mine seeing her face light up everytime she saw these little colourful creatures. It's girly, fun and something she likes and will like I'm sure for years to come.I hope with it with it being such an enchanting name that it might entice her into wanting to use it.

What's Inside The Book; Genres/Chapters?
I've added many different genres/chapters into the book as I want it to be a broad tool covering many topics. By adding games, educational activities, tracing, painting, chalk, and puzzles i've made sure that it's very diverse in it's methods of learning. There is many ways in which to teach a child that they don't all include reading, writing and explanations, mix it up a little and make it enjoyable. You can interact with them on a much broader scale. I created many different chapters in the book covering lots of different topics such as; opposites, animals. relationships, numbers, letters, pairing, picture assosiation (a-z), colours, and shapes. Over time i'll be adding new chapters. 

What Do I hope The Butterfly Book Will Become?
The butterfly book is not in anyway finished, it's something I hope will never be complete if I'm honest. I want to integrate it into becoming a regular part of Penelope's life. I hope she will be excited when she realises new activities have been added, or i'll pack it for her if she goes away to her grandparents for the weekend. I want to sit down during the day or evenings and go through it with her,  I look forward to that special mummy and daughter time too. I'd hate for all this work I'm doing on it to be wasted. I've put my heart into making sure it will appeal to Penelope and thats been my main focus. It's not super tidy and I haven't got the best writing and drawing abilities, BUT I did work my butt of to make it. Penelope will appreciate the content not its neat and tidy writing.

When Will I Start Letting Penelope Use It?
The answer to that is very straight forward, now! For the first time today I have shown her the book. I felt incredibley proud to finally be able to do that. She is one years old now and is thriving at the moment in all aspects of learning. I feel like there are a few parts of the book she would benefit from at the moment. Today I'd shown her just one chapter that being 'Picture Association (a-z), she did fantastic with it, I'd ask her to show me where 'Nana' was for example and she would point to the correct photo. She saw in many photos herself as a very young baby and would repeat the word 'baby' everytime she saw herself. 

What Age Range Is The Contents Of The Book?
The majority of the content in the book (at the moment) is aimed for a child of 2-5 years old. There are activities that can be used by younger and older children of course too. I don't believe in only showing a child age appropriate learning tools. Children excel at all different rates and stages, some speak quicker than others, a few may count really fast or repeat further along the alphabet than other children. You cant put a label as such on the level of skills you should expose your child too unless your child is in nursery or school and you've been told otherwise. Obviously Penny is very young, but I feel it's never too early to start teaching her opposites, counting with her or talking about different relationships in the family. There has been many many times in which Penny has blown me away by showing me, or saying something I didnt think she would be able to just yet. She may not understand fully about some of the content but she will still enjoy listening, looking and interacting with me plus eventually she will understand and she may pick it up prematurely to other children who were not brought up with it, you never know.

Adding A Reward Chart...
I always talk about how clever Penelope is and I carry on like she's the new age Einstein but that's only because I am so very proud and oozing with pride over my daughter accomplishments I know all parents are the same. I want Penelope to feel proud of herself too of course. I have not yet added this chapter yet but I'm going to add a reward chart to this book. When she completes an activity she will gain a gold star or smiley face for that chapter. To ensure we don't just keep doing her favourite chapters I want to encourage that she do the ones she finds a little difficult, on completion of her doing it even if she doesn't do that well. she will feel proud for trying, proud of her achievement and be able to build up her stickers evenly through the chart.

A few months ago I was given the opportunity to become a premium member of the Twinkl website which is a primary resource for learning/education used by parents, teachers, and childminders. It has hundreds of thousands of educational resources available for use. I've downloaded and printed off a few of those resources and incorporated them within The Butterfly Book. They add a professional,colourful and fun feel to the book instead of mums crappy drawings and games that is haha! Its incredibly useful and I highly recommend you check it out.

*I was not paid to include the mention of 'Twinkl' in this post. I did receive premium membership free of charge to use their resources and include them from time to time on my blog.
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