Build-a-Book Kit (with free printables!)

I remember a day when we checked out every book in the witty series Elephant & Piggie by Mo Willems from our local library. We then headed home to snuggle together on the couch for a long reading time full of laughter. I learned that day that books need to be neither elaborate in text or illustration to entertain. So for this month’s busy bag, I decided to create a Build-a-Book Kit, a simple creative writing activity for kids of all ages.

Make a build-a-book busy bag with these directions and free printables. This preschool or grade school activity helps develop creativity and writing skills.

This Build-a-Book Kit is part of The Busy Bag of the Month Club hosted by a team of bloggers. You’ll find links to the other bloggers in this series at the end of this post. We also have created a special Busy Bag Pinterest board that you can bookmark and follow to have plenty of boredom busters right at your finger tips!

Don’t miss the previous busy bags on No Twiddle Twaddle:

No Twiddle Twaddle uses Amazon affiliate links at no cost to you to help support the time and costs of running this blog.

Supplies for a Build-a-Book Busy Bag

  • Sheets of 8 1/2 x 11 paper (white paper works best for the inside of the book, but you may want to include some colored paper for the cover.)
  • Hole punch, string or metal rings, stapler, or tape for binding (optional)
  • Children’s scissors
  • Crayons or markers
  • build-a-book free printable
  • Glue stick
  • A big imagination

How to put together a Build-a-Book Busy Bag

Cut your 8 1/2 x 11 sheets of paper into fourths.

If you want to bind your book with holes & rings, go ahead and punch holes in the sheets to prevent your child’s drawing from getting damaged.

Print out and cut out the Build-a-Book Busy Bag printable.

You may want to allow your child to cut though for extra practice with scissors. Since we were gluing white paper onto white paper, I didn’t trim close to the edges which saved quite a bit of time.

How to Use a Build-a-Book Busy Bag

I’m going to share the way a Build-a-Book Busy Bag is intended to be used, but it’s fine to also just give your kids the kit and let them create their own way to use the book elements. In fact, my kids didn’t really want to follow the directions at all, and the activity was still creative, fun, and worthwhile.

build-a-book in progress toddler version

Relaxed Exploration with the Build-a-Book Busy Bag

Give it the Build-a-Book busy bag to your kid and let them create.

It may end up looking like the below photo, depending on the age of your children.  Ask your child what the story is behind the book after its completion. For young children, fill in the word bubbles as your child dictates what the characters in the story are saying and thinking.

build-a-book toddler version

Guided Exploration with the Build-a-Book Busy Bag

Read an Elephant & Piggie Book.

All these books are wonderful and prove that easy readers don’t always result in yawns or tongue-tied parents. Here are some of my favorites. Note: I do use Amazon affiliate links at no cost to you on No Twiddle Twaddle to help cover the time and expenses in running this blog.

Point out the four basic elements of a story: characters, plot, conflict, and theme.

Have your child then create a story with the four elements.

Younger children may need help with this step.

Older kids could create their own characters rather than using the animal heads. I found that the heads helped keep the activity from overwhelming my preschooler.

build-a-book in progress

Using the heads, speech bubbles, crayons, and markers, put together your own book.

Draw your own bodies and extra elements in the story.

Bind your book together using metal rings, staples, or tape.

build-a-book example

Don’t miss this month’s other busy bag ideas:

Coffee Cups and Crayons – Fine Motor Weaving Busy Bag

The Pleasantest Thing – Color Sorting Activity for Toddlers

The Educator’s Spin On It – Ocean Animal Busy Bag

If you are on Pinterest (and if not, just bookmark this link), be sure to follow our Busy Bag Pinterest board. It’s a great resource for finding ideas for kids’ activities that can be packed in a bag or box!

Busy Bag of the Month Series

If you have any busy bag ideas, we would love for you to share them in the comments thread. We’ll be pinning and sharing ideas throughout the month!

Bethany Winston: No Twiddle TwaddleHi! I’m Bethany. I’m a mom, weekly Greenville News columnist, and co-owner of Kidding Around Greenville SC. Welcome to my parenting blog No Twiddle Twaddle, all about adding a little magic to kids’ lives through play and reading. If you are new, don’t miss my popular posts: 10 Tips for Reading to Babies, Skin Therapy Play Dough, and Fireworks in a Bottle.

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  1. Gloria says

    What an awesome idea! Great for morning arrival activities too.

    Thank you for sharing….Busy Bag… it!

    Kindergarten Teacher

    • says

      Thank you so much, Gloria! I’m glad to hear that this activity Kindergarten Teacher approved. : ) Have you seen my Alphabet Bingo printable? You may be interested in that too.


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