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May 20, 2015

Montessori Familiar Faces Basket

I recently shared on Instagram that I had made Nora a familiar faces basket. It's similar to the familiar places treasure basket I made her a couple months ago. I choose to introduce this basket, because Nora has been very interested in looking at pictures of real life people and animals, so what could be better than looking at her people and animals! 

When I posted, I got a lot of questions on how to make these baby-friendly cards. So I wanted to post a tutorial! 

Familiar Faces Cards for Baby

Montessori friendly familiar faces basket - an easy DIY for babies and toddlers to recognize family members

The first step -- take pictures! I used head shots specifically taken for the purpose of these cards. I wanted the cards to really focus on our faces, so I choose a clean and simple background {just a wall in our homeschool classroom.} I also did some basic edits for white balance/exposure/noise but that's not a necessity. 

At this point the pictures look like this -- 

Next, you need to crop and add the labels. I did this using PicMonkey. This can be done in any photo app, but I'll demonstrate with PicMonkey (which is what I'm familiar with.) In order to make sure the pictures were all uniform, I choose to crop them to the same size. The exact size really isn't all that important, just whatever looks good based on your size of picture. 

To add the label, click the graphics icon on the left side of the page. Then, select the geometric option, and use a rectangle. It will show up as a black box, stretch the box from one end of the picture to the other, make it a bit wider and move to the bottom of the picture. Then, change the color to white. 

(2022 Update: this might look a bit different now as they program has under gone significant changes since I first wrote this post. PicMonkey will now let you crop and save as a specific size which is also very helpful to make this an even easier project. Some versions of PicMonkey also allow you to remove the background which is nice too.)

Then, you need to add text. Click the text button on the left side. Add a text box. I used Dnealian font that I have on my computer -- you can do this by the "yours" button to access your fonts, but you will need to download the font to your computer first. But, really, most fonts on PicMonkey are fine too! Once you type the name, size it to where you like it and move it on to the white bar. Save your picture, and repeat for all the pictures you want. Your pictures should then look like -- 

After you have added a label to all your pictures, you can print them. I just printed on regular paper using my home printer. I just opened my picture, printed a 5x7 (not scaled to fit). Once it was printed, I laminated so the picture couldn't be destroyed by Nora. I would also work to print on thicker photo paper if you don't have a laminator. To finish, I used a scrapbooking tool to round the edges, but this could easily be done with scissors. 

Finally, I left on Nora's shelf in a small wooden tray for her to discover! Just a note on how to use these, they aren't flashcards. I won't quiz Nora or drill her. They are for her to look at, chew, smoosh, and explore. I may name the people if we are sitting together or I may not, just depends on her! 

Hope this was helpful! They are really easy! Go create!!

Montessori friendly familiar faces basket - an easy DIY for babies and toddlers to recognize family members


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Kelly said…
I really love this project. Thank you so much. I especially like all of your design choices and so appreciate that you shared the name of the typeface. As the little choices you have made are so wonderful, I'd be interested to know other details at that level, like where you bought the wood box and which rounded edge paper cutter you prefer. Just a thought for the future—for those who are detail obsessed like me. Thank you again!
feli said…
My daughter's Montessori class has this too and last week the directress explained to me why it is needed. It is such a cool idea!

Do you think this will work for extended family (i.e. grand parents and aunts and uncles) who do not live with us?
Stephanie said…
Do you think 14 months would be too old to be interested in something like this?