K is for Keys
Have you ever seen those baby teethers that look like a ring of keys, but each key is a different color and topped with a different shape? Something like these, except the set I remember was flexible and more inviting for a baby to chew on. Anyway, that was the first thing I thought of when brainstorming what to make for the letter K. Shape keys. Keys of different shapes. Which lent itself well to a matching page!
Inspiration and Page Design
Although I couldn't find any other quiet book pages that were quite what I imagined for our key page, matching and shapes are standard themes for quiet books, and for preschoolers in general. The closest ideas I found were this key matching page from A Back to Basics Lifestyle, and a laminated paper file folder matching game from Desert Crafter. These were both sort of what I had in mind, but not exactly, so I just sketched out my own page.
After I finalized the key shapes, I traced them onto freezer paper to be my cutting pattern. Then I made a sandwich of two layers of felt with Wonder Under in between, placed the freezer paper on top, and ironed the whole stack to fuse it together. The Wonder Under permanently sticks the felt layers together, while the plastic side of the freezer paper lightly sticks the pattern to the top so you can cut it out and then peel off the freezer paper. Then I stitched as close to the cut edge with my sewing machine as possible. This really is The Best way to make stand-alone felt pieces that are common in quiet books. They're strong, hold their shape, and the freezer paper helps you get very precise edges.
After I finished sewing the keys (and cut duplicate pieces from black felt to make the matching silhouettes), I inserted a small eyelet and clipped them together with 1" book rings. Then I sewed down a piece of a handwoven belt left over from another project, added some belt loops from worn out blue jeans, and had a nice place to keep the key rings when not in use.
Preschool goals for using the Keys page
Learn the names of shapes! Be able to match them up with blank silhouettes! The practice of matching the key not only with the shape on top but getting the blade on the right side is especially good for young preschoolers. Beyond that, I know the Internet is full of preschool shape activities, but I've been going without enough sleep for way too long and I can't think of any right now. What are your favorite shape-related activities?