Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Inexpensive and Wholesome Entertainment

While reorganizing our schoolroom the other day, I was reminded of a neat idea I had years ago to keep the littles quiet during school. They loved to sit and listen to books on tape, but we didn't have many, they were expensive, and I was uneasy about borrowing them from the library. (Too much responsibility!)

I set out to do a search for blank audio cassettes. I wanted shorter than 30 minutes a side so they wouldn't have to fast forward too much at the end of a book. I determined that ten minutes or less was ideal. This depends on how long the books are you plan on putting on tape. I found some for eight minutes, I think, and bought them in bulk. I don't remember where I bought them, but this website is an example of what I found. (I didn't search around for the best price so you may want to do that.)

I chose which books we wanted on tape and read them to the children as I recorded them. It is fun to listen back to them. You never know what the littles are going to say. ;-)

Make sure you remember to say "turn the page" or whatever you want to use to signify the turning of the page! This is easy to forget. Part way through a book, I would describe a page to make sure they were on the right page. I would say "do you see the lion in the picture" or whatever was appropriate. You get the idea.

I also then labeled ziploc bags to keep them in. One hint might be to choose books that fit in the bags you are going to use. I did not do this and had to modify bags, well, didn't have to, it was my neurotic side coming out. I wanted them to fit perfectly like the ones at the library. I actually sewed all the ziploc bags to fit the books. ;-)

By using books you already have and buying tapes for under a quarter a piece, you have some pretty inexpensive and wholesome entertainment!

You will find other great tips at We Are That Family


Suz said...

Cute idea! We really need to read more to our little guy and this would be a great way to entertain him while he learns to follow along on his own. He got a Leapfrog Tag system for Christmas, but it does too many other things he forgets about the story and plays the games instead.
thanks for the idea!

Connie said...

What a super idea! Soon the older children can 'read' for the younger children and they can the experience of 'oral reading' plus the fun of hearing their voices. Love your idea.

AmyK said...

Awesome idea! My stepdaughter LOVES books on tape so she can read along, but we don't exactly have the means to buy a bunch of them.. so this is a fantastic idea! Recording our own never occurred to me.

Buildeth Her House said...

What a GREAT idea! My kids will love it.

simplebeauty said...

Oh Michelle,

WHAT a wonderful idea!! I would never had thought of that. It is perfect!! I need to write this down and email it myself so I can remember for the future!!

thank you so much for sharing...

Amanda Sikes said...

WOW! Thanks for the great idea. I will have to get on this and find some tapes and get them ordered.

My "littles" will LVOE it!

hip chick said...

that is such a great idea. And, what kid wouldn't love to hear his own mom's voice doing the reading?

Your Frugal Friend, Niki said...

You are a genius!!!!!!!


Elaine said...

Great idea. I recently started reading your blog and enjoy it.

Ashley said...

Very cool idea! Never thought of this for kids books!


Raise Them Up said...

I started this with my first son when number 2 came along. All of a sudden, I just didn't have the time to read to him like I had before. It wsa fun.

Now we are using some of the same tapes for my third son. My oldest (now almost 11) gets to cracking up to hear his little voice asking questions as a two year old!

It has been fun for us!! Now I let my older boys make the tapes for my four year old and they get to pick the instrument or sound to indicate the page turn. REALLY fun to watch. :)

Momofsix said...

This a great Idea. I will have to make some for my cutest baby! He loves to read and look at books!

~Sara said...

This is a wonderful idea! By the way, found your blog from 5 Min for mom and I love the border! Very cute.

Anonymous said...

That is an awesome idea!!! I love it!

Michelle said...

YOU are a genius. SERIOUSLY!

Do you put anything on the other side? I think I'll record some songs that the girls sing.

And how fun to send this to the grandparents to record some books for the kids.

Seriously, you are a genius. Thank you.

Michelle said...

Okay Michelle, a genius is a huge stretch! :-) I am so glad this idea is helping so many people.

I love the idea of having grandparent record for the children! I found the rest of the 100 tapes the other day while cleaning the school room,I think I will see about others recording for the, grandparents, older siblings.

I put one book per side so each tape has two books on it.

Lovin my Jesus,
Michelle (She Looketh Well)