Starting Our Experience Books!

Starting Our Experience Books!

After visiting with my Early Intervention (EI) Specialist, who had brought me handouts on starting an Experience Book with  my toddler, I vowed I would start the very next week.

One week went by….

then another……….

and another…..

Finally, I bought composition books and thought, “YES, We’ll start next week.”

One week went by….

then another……….

and another…..

I started saving brochures from places we visited, keepsakes from a hike, tickets, etc. They are in a pile on my shelf.  The books have stayed empty.

Fall organization hit. I started cleaning out my shelves to file all of the clutter that had added up.(I’m sure there’s a blog post somewhere about de-cluttering and keeping things organized that I need to read!)

And I found them! I found the handouts my sweet EI Specialist had brought me.

And I read them!

And I realized I had this whole Experience Book thing wrong.

I had been putting it off until I could print out pictures, until I could have more time to make it look nice, etc. etc. As I read the handout and the mother talked of DRAWING pictures and TRACING toys and then describing them, as well as printing out pictures and gluing in tickets, etc, it became real to me.



We started the next day.

This was no beautiful scrapbook with carefully placed pictures with elaborate captions.

This was SWEET and SIMPLE. I started by sitting down at the computer, toddler in my lap and finding pictures in clip-art. We started with those foods that were her favorite things to eat.

I let her glue. I let her write. I even let her try to cut! After all, this is her EXPERIENCE book!

Our first page!
We have done pretty well, adding an additional page every other day or so! There is so much more I want to do. My goal now is to SAVE, SAVE, SAVE things when we go out, and to look for ANYTHING we can add to our Experience Book!
We simply traced some of her favorite toys.


I found a way to make us both smile, even at 4:30 am. The pencil is a little hard to see. This entry was made when she woke up early in the morning and would NOT go back to sleep.


Are you ready to get started???

Here are some great tips for that great hand out!

(handout by Kerry Dowling, parent of a deaf child)

  • Find a special home for your Experience books. A basket in a well-used room is a good place. (I have yet to do this one. After already misplacing it twice, I know it is essential to do this!)
  • Keep a list handy for ideas: when you get an idea of an entry, jot it down. Save tickets, brochures, pictures, etc. to add in. That way on days when you can’t think of what to do for an entry, you have your list!
  • Involve the child. Let her draw, cut, glue. Ask her favorite things and put them in the book.
  • Use double-sided tape to put all the great stuff you have saved in easily.
  • Involve others. Invite others to draw in the book. Label who it was and why they came to visit or why they drew what they did.
  • Incorporate goals from your child’s IFSP. If you are working on colors, do a page on that, etc. You can also focus on story telling or building vocabulary, etc.
  • Focus on parenting goals. Find ways to teach how to be a good friend, have good behavior, how to help clean up, or wash your hands. (absolutely LOVE this one!)
  • Colored pencils or markers work better than crayons. Markers sometimes bleed through the page. Pencil is hard to see. =)
  • Use the Experience Book to generate new conversations and language. Don’t hold to the words that are written on the page, but instead talk about what is on the page, the memory and the understanding your child has now related to the same objects or events.
  • “Later on, it’s all about reading.” This will be a great reading tool as known content is matched to the exact print and learning of specific words can occur.
  • Have FUN! Make this a great experience for the WHOLE family to enjoy.

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