Remembering Our First Trip to the Zoo

Since Julianna has been focusing more on her ABCs (and she's old enough to handle books carefully), I thought it would be a good time to pull out this alphabet book I made for her last October. 

Last year, Jules and I took a trip to Oklahoma City to visit some friends of mine from high school, Amy, J.B., and their son, Evan, (I've mentioned them before). Amy and I always enjoy a good craft project, especially if it involves taking pictures of our little ones. However, reality has settled in, and we've realized that simple projects which can be completed during our time together (rather than add to our dust-collecting to-do lists) are ideal. 

Homemade ABC books mixed with a few pictures to commemorate our time together seemed like the perfect project. We headed to Target and each picked up a small board book from the dollar bin. The next day (after getting the kiddos up from their morning naps, slathering them with sunscreen and packing hats, snacks, diapers and extra clothes, phew!), we ventured to the OKC Zoo in search of animals representing the letters of the alphabet. 

The petting zoo was a highlight for both Julianna and Evan. At thirteen months, Jules was just beginning to walk, and she stood only a head taller than the miniature goats. She particularly enjoyed the rabbit cages, pointing out the bunnies and exclaiming, "Kitty!" We also stopped by the gift store to let the kiddos try on sun hats and sunglasses, and then fed quarters to the miniature carousel to send them on a circular safari. Fun was had by all. 

The next two evenings after putting the kiddos to bed, we trimmed and glued coordinating pattern papers and our printed photographs to the Target board books. Alphabet stickers, a few ribbons folded in half and stapled to the pictures, and a corner rounder provided the finishing touches. Voila!

We didn't worry too much about missing a few letters here and there (there weren't enough pages in the book to capture them all). Our main goal was to identify the popular animals and create a fun memory book and learning tool.

(We loved that Jules casually sat on the rhinoceros statue while eating a cracker - 
as if that's where she eats her snacks every day.)

We couldn't resist a head shot with this Welcome sign (taken by a friendly zoo keeper). The addition of a few buttons to embellish the page offers a fun touch and feel for Julianna.

The book doesn't even come close to closing with all the added papers and embellishments, but that just adds to its allure.
This is such an easy project and would also be a great way to make a family photo album to help the kiddos identify and remember extended family members.

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