My three year old has recently become curious about where she lives. She’s also become a little obsessed with spotting flags when we’re driving around town. I decided that I would make her a little book that included her town, state, and country as well as the corresponding flags.
I learned how to make these super simple mini books while teaching elementary school, and I used them all the time in my classroom. My students always liked when we did our assignments in extreme sizes – miniature or jumbo, so I knew Kora would love her book too.
I quickly made her book while she was taking her afternoon nap (oh how I drew a simple map of her town that included our house, the library, Aggieland, and her dad’s work. On the next double page spread I drew the state of Texas and the Texas flag. I drew little stick figures in a house to represent Kora and her sister at home and then more stick figures for both sets of her grandparents. This way she can have an idea of where her family lives in relation to her home. The last spread was an outline of the United States that included an outline of Texas and a little house to represent home. I also drew a little American flag (I will admit that when I drew it I did not take the time to count the stripes or draw all the stars. I just wanted to get the general image down).
When Kora woke up from nap, she was so excited about her book. She played with it all afternoon. She kept showing me over and over where she lived and how to get to Dad’s work. She found an urgent need to FaceTime Grandma to show off her book. She continued to play with her book for the next several days.
Then she asked me where Africa was in her book. Uh oh. I had to throw together a quick world map on the back (please don’t laugh at my lack of artistic abilities). She’s been asking us to take her to Africa for a while now so she can see the animals. She keeps telling her dad we need a plane.
She enjoyed her first mini book so much I made her another one about her and one of her friends. I added simple sentences so that she can read it herself. She is so proud of her friend book, and she carries it around with her in her adventure bag.
Since Kora is really enjoying her book and since they’re a great teaching resource, I thought I’d take a minute to show you how to make them. They’re super quick and simple and you can use them for any topic/subject imaginable.
Take a sheet of paper and fold it in half hot dog style. You can use any kind of paper – I used manila and regular copy paper. Once you have your paper folded in half, fold it in half hamburger style twice.
Next, open your paper all the way up and fold it in half hamburger style. You’re going to then cut halfway down the middle of the paper, starting at the folded edge and following the crease. I drew a pink line to illustrate where you need to cut.
Once you have made your cut, unfold your paper and refold it hot dog style. Holding the two ends, gently push the paper together like an accordion, then crease all the edges. Fold your book in half hamburger style one more time, and your book is complete. I tape the edges of the book together to make it easier for Kora to flip pages, but that’s not necessary.
I have a love/hate relationship with the town in which I reside. You see, I live in a college town – the same college I graduated from many moons ago. While in college, I absolutely loved living here. But its different now. Now, I love it and hate. Totally depends on the day.
I haven’t done any research on the matter, but I feel that most towns that house universities are cities first and home to a university second. But not my town. Where I live, the city has grown up around the university. The town lives and breathes our university.
While I love my university and love football pregame tailgating, any inconveniences due to the football game can be frustrating when I’m not partaking in the festivities. This may include more traffic on the roads or longer wait times to get a table at a restaurant.
Driving around town is nice and peaceful during summer and Christmas break as all the students have gone home. During this time, the stores and restaurants are rarely crowded. But come school time, the population changes by 58,000 people. The roads are now packed with cars and everywhere you look there are college kids hanging around.
Probably one of the things I dislike most about living in a college town is that it seems like the population is getting younger and younger. I’m not sure when they started letting twelve year olds go to college, but they have. My town is full of them!
Despite any inconveniences that living in a college town causes me, there are other times that I truly love living here. The university provides many opportunities and resources that I would not have other places.
One such resource is the Infant Cognition Lab. The lab accepts babies from 3 months to 18 months old. I took my older daughter and now I’m taking my younger daughter. We visit the lab once a month and the students run a brief experiment on Lila. The students are researching the development of infants’ knowledge of objects. The students monitor Lila’s eye movement to see how long she looks at particular objects and if she looks back to where an object once was. For each visit, Lila earns $5 as compensation for our time and travel. I’m putting my girls to work early! Both girls get a little certificate afterwards – Lila for participating and Kora basically for playing with toys while Lila participated.
We also had the opportunity this weekend to visit the Veterinary School’s Open House event. The students host a day long event and invite the community to come check out their facility. Along with tours of the facility, they had a petting zoo, a cow milking demonstration, polo demonstrations, and Search and Rescue demonstrations. There were lots of reptiles available for the kids to see as well as some out to touch and hold. One of the coolest things about the Open House was the Teddy Bear Surgery. Several of the Vet School students did surgery on stuffed animals that the kids brought from home. Kora took her giraffe that needed a little more stuffing in the neck. Doctor Sarah cut open the neck, added some stuffing, and then sutured the neck closed. The kids were wearing surgical mask and gloves. It was the cutest thing ever.
Right now I am loving where I live and I am grateful for the opportunities that the university provides us. I’m sure that feeling will change come graduation weekend when the town is flooded with people, but right now, I love my college town!