Toddlers and Preschoolers love to learn about themselves and their families. Their focus on the world only involves what's around them. One of the best ways to teach them language, word recognition and that print has meaning, is to make a little book about them. I did this with Andrew starting about the time that he could sit up. I took pictures of him throughout the day and in all the activities that we loved to do, typed up some text and made a book about it. I just made one for this upcoming year. I will keep adding to it over the year and then make a new one for each year.
It's simple and pretty cheap. Wal-Mart has mini photo albums for 1.00. I use those. I take pictures of Andrew involved in doing things he loves to do and that are part of our daily/weekly routine and print them out. Then I type up text to go with each picture and just use scotch tape to attach the text to the picture. These are some examples of the text I put in his most recent book:
Andrew is cooking.
Andrew is riding his trike.
Andrew is playing with dad.
Andrew is sitting with grandpa and grandma.
Andrew is eating.
Andrew is getting his hair cut.
Andrew is at the zoo.
Andrew is swinging at the park.
You can make the book chronological with events starting in the morning and ending in the evening or you can make it random. For his first book during his first year, I did it chronologically throughout the day because I wanted him to learn the daily routine also. For this book, I made it random and just put the pictures in any order.
Of course, you could always get fancy with it and make more of a scrapbook. I just wanted to keep it simple. I make a scrapbook layout for each of his birthdays of pictures and events throughout the year, and that is something that he will have that is special for him. For daily use, I wanted something simple and something that he could take anywhere and was a little more hands on. The purpose is to help him learn language, that print has meaning, and possibly a few sight words along the way. It's also a good way for him to develop a sense of self and family - seeing pictures of himself doing things he loves with people he loves and having that reinforced often.