Quiet books are very popular, though surprisingly I had not heard of them until after my own children were born. One day I stumbled across a photo of a quiet book page, and instantly became intrigued by the idea. While we only pull our own book out a few times a year, other families use them on a weekly, or even daily basis.
An Introduction to Quiet Books
What is a quiet book? Quiet books are “books” full of activities to entertain your kids.
How do you make a quiet book? They are usually made of fabric, and most typically felt. They might be completely hand-stitched, assembled with fabric glue or hot glue, or you may use a sewing machine to assist with larger pieces.
Why make a quiet book? The idea is to keep your children busy with age-appropriate, independent activities. The pages might be made to help your child learn a new skill, or simply to encourage imaginative play. Because your child is busy, they are often quiet!
When do you use a quiet book? This varies based on the individual. Some people use them to keep young children busy during church, others use them for some quiet time in lieu of a nap.You might make theme-specific pages to supplement a home school curriculum as well. I chose to make one to keep my kids busy during a long car ride on a family vacation.
Planning and Making Your Quiet Book
There are many things to consider when planning a quiet book, but below are some basic items you should think about or do before making your own.
How old is your child?
Age is a very important thing to consider when planning your quiet book, and can have an impact on many things. Some items you will want to think about include:
- Size of the pages. If you are making a book for a young toddler, you may choose to make smaller pages which would be easier for his or her hands to hold.
- Skill set. Older children are not only capable of completing more complex tasks, but would actually need the challenge to keep them occupied.
- Choking hazards. If you have a child who still routinely puts small things into his or her mouth, you will want to avoid pages that have small, loose pieces.
What is the purpose of the quiet book?
- Are you looking for a way to entertain your child, or do you want the book to help supplement educational activities as well?
- What skills do you want your child to work on? There are hundreds of quiet book ideas available, but I found it best for myself to plan out the skills I wanted my kids to work on, and then find pages that matched those skills.
- What are your child’s interest? Do you want to include pages that tie-in your child’s love of animals, or include a transportation theme? You might make an entire book dedicated to a single interest, or ensure each page is uniquely made to capture the attention of your child.
How will you bind the pages together?
Some do not think about how they plan to assemble their book until the end. This can be a big mistake, as different types of binding might require advance planning. The two most common options include:
- Permanent binding by sewing one edge. If you choose to go this route, you will want to ensure you leave sufficient excess fabric on each page to later bind the edge.
- Temporary binding. There are many different ways to accomplish this, but most involve sewing button holes or inserting grommets into one side of each quiet book page. You can then use the temporary holes to insert pages into a three-ring binder style cover, or to tie pages together with ribbon.
Plan Your Pages
- How many pages do you want? You can always add pages over time, but it might be helpful to consider what you plan to have initially. This will help you choose which pages are most important for you to start your quiet book. Print pictures of your favorite quiet book pages, or sketch out what you would like to make.
- Put the pages in the order you want to assemble them. This is most important if you plan permanently bind the pages together.
- Consider the backing for each page. If you are going to permanently bind the pages together in a book you might sew two pages together so no separate backing is necessary. If you wish to have removable pages then you will want to consider whether it is best to sew two pages together, which reduces the bulk of the quiet book, or whether you would rather have a separate backing on each page to allow for the most flexibility.
Gather Your Supplies
- Create templates for your pages and cover. If you are lucky you can find free templates online. Otherwise, you will need to create your own which does add time to the process.
- Go through each page and look at the types, colors, and amount of fabric you need for each page, as well as coordinating thread. You should also make a list of any extra pieces such as buttons or snaps.
- You may purchase everything for your entire book at once if your budget allows, or gather things for one page at a time. Whatever you do, save your scrap pieces! I cannot tell you how many times I realized I needed a small piece of one color and was pleased to find it in my scraps from a prior page.
Create Your Book!
Despite not being all that crafty myself, it was surprisingly easy to accomplish my goal of making a quiet book. However, it did take quite a bit of time, with each page taking several hours to complete. The amount of time you spend will of course depend on the amount of detail you put on each page. Enjoy the process and do not get upset if a page does not turn out perfect. Most mistakes are not noticed by the end-user anyway :)