Your Child’s Day: A Book to Treasure

allyDDayA few years ago, in a desperate bid to get my son (a.k.a. the family’s writer-in-resistance) to put pencil to paper during the l-o-o-o-ng Easter vacation, I suggested that we make a book about a day in his life. We took a photograph every hour from breakfast until lights out, along with photographs of his toy wooden clock showing the correct time.

Then, we printed off the photos and glued them into a makeshift book. Alistair wrote out a sentence of text a day over the next two weeks.

When the oeuvre was finally complete, we re-read it at bedtime every night for a week and then returned it to his bookshelf.

AllyD waterGunWhere it stayed until his sister discovered it a few years later, and was enchanted to see a younger version of herself cast in a key supporting role (primarily as the water gun target — but as a younger sister, she’s adaptable). Isla was so eager to show this opus to her nursery teacher that she forgot to have her daily pre-school tantrum, and discovered, to her surprise, that she rather liked school after all.

For my part, I can’t resist leafing through it whenever I’m straightening the bookshelves. With my firstborn on the cusp of adolescence, I now realise that this record of the early years was the best possible gift I could have given to my future self.  Because at age five and a half, every minute of the day is a highlight.  And we captured fourteen of them.
There are countless ways to make a day-in-the-life book. I provide instructions below for our version, which was fit-for-purpose, and could be assembIed within the time constraints imposed by a 5-year-old’s attention span and the buzzing schedule of a working parent.

What Age?
This activity works well with an early writer (age 5-6 in the UK).  An older child could write about the photograph in greater detail, and a younger child might wish to dictate the text to his trusty parent-scribe. Siblings might also co-author a book.


Materials and Equipment

  • Digital or smartphone camera
  • Colour printer (or develop the photos at a shop)
  • A5 cardstock or thick construction paper, any colour (or A4 sheets, cut in half, length-wise). The North American equivalent to A4 if Letter-sized paper.
  • Black card stock for making the hands of the clock on the cover
  • A4 white or lined paper, cut in half, length-wise
  • Scissors
  • Glue stick
  • Hole Punch
  • Compass or other object with a sharp point for making a hole in the clock face.  
  • Split pin (called a paper fastener in North America)
  • Pencil or pen.  If your child prefers to write in pen, an erasable, such as a Pilot Frixion is best.
  • Chenille pipe cleaners
  • Toy clock (optional)

What to Do

  1. Explain the project to your child, and agree on a day for the photoshoot. I went for a typical day on a weekend, so that we would record our usual routine.
  2. From the time your child wakes up, take a picture every hour on the hour.  Setting an alarm on your smartphone helps.
  3. Optional: Also photograph a toy clock showing each hour of the day, or use some other method to show time.
  4. Print off the pictures so that each fits on one side of A5. You could insert the photographs into a Word document and produce writing lines beneath, using the table function, then the pages off two pages to a page, to get the right size.
  5. Cut and paste the photographs onto the cardstock or construction paper, so that the correct clock face is opposite the relevant photo.AllyDUp
  6. Make a cover with a title.  I added a clock with moving hands onto the cover, which was a hit with the kids. Clock face printables are widely available on the internet, including via this link.  Fasten the  hands to the clock using a compass to make a hole, and a split pin to secure.
  7. Assemble the book by punching two holes in the side, threading a chenille pipe cleaner through each hole, and twisting the pipe cleaner into a ring.
  8. Date your project. You’ll want to remember when you made it.
  9. Now the tricky bit . . . Convince your child write a sentence to describe each photograph.
  10. Re-read your manuscript 10,456 times. Then either stash it somewhere safe or gift it to a grandparent or other relative.

Collective memory.


Have you made books with your children?
I would also love to see pictures to post for inspiration.  

If you try this project, or other book-making projects with the children in your life, please send photos to

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