A little creativity and guidance from the pros can make one awesome homemade DIY book.

Last May, the Bug used the Take and Make Book Kit from Yankee Doodle Art Studio in Hunt Valley and made one of my favorite end-of-the-year teacher gifts ever: an illustrated story all about her year in PreFirst.

It took a little over a week to do the project. Together, we brainstormed — just a chat about what things she wanted to make sure she included in the story (an image with all of her friends, a mention about DinoFest, her teacher’s “funny excited voice”) and then created a rough draft of the story. She dictated to me and I wrote it down on a piece of lined paper.

DIY Books at Yankee Doodle Art Studio - (cool) progeny

Then we took out the book-to-go kit from Yankee Doodle. Each page template had place for illustration and lines for text. She carefully copied the text onto the lines and created her illustrations with pencils. Then she colored everything in using colored Sharpie markers (“Mom, I can use the GOOD ones?”). She worked on one double-page spread each evening. 

DIY Books at Yankee Doodle Art Studio - (cool) progeny

After she was satisfied with the final product, we took the whole kit back to Yankee Doodle and they bound it into a beautiful book — and made us three additional hard copies. One book for each of her two teachers, one for the school library, and one for our home.

(This isn’t the first time we’ve shared making books at Yankee Doodle — they make amazing holiday gifts, too!)

You’re probably wondering why I waited until August to share an end-of-the-year teacher gift? Really, it’s a great project any time of year — but a particularly good one to start helping your kids authentically start flexing those literacy and creativity muscles that probably haven’t gotten as much use as their swim skills over the summer. Why not make a summer memory book? 

The creativity crew at Yankee Doodle can help make books that preserve all your summer memories — and all books are $5 off this week (August 7-12)! Bring your ideas to the studio and create your book there, or take a kit to-go and make it at home. They even have a comic book kit if you have a budding graphic novelist at home!

Yankee Doodle just started their new hours and are open Tuesday-Sunday beginning at 11 AM. Check their calendar before you go. They sometimes close early for private parties and events.

DIY Books at Yankee Doodle Art Studio - (cool) progeny

Photography by Laura Black