If you have a computer that has the Microsoft program PowerPoint on it, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. PowerPoint is an easy to use program that allows you to create slide shows of whatever you or your child’s heart desires. Add a digital camera to the mix and together you can create your very own storybooks. Before you let your child in on the project, take the time to learn a bit about PowerPoint. There are a myriad of Microsoft PowerPoint tutorials online. Let your favorite search engine do the search finding several for you to choose from.
PowerPoint is an application that businesses use to make streaming multi-media presentations. Its user-friendly functions make it fun to use for home projects, too. Creating a simple alphabet “book” for your toddler or something even more complex using photographs from your digital camera to create a story for an older child will bring the two of you together. Once you acquaint yourself, if you’re not all ready, to how PowerPoint works, brainstorm with your child. For this tutorial we’re going to create a simple book of ABC’s that a toddler would love.
You and your child can browse through lots of free online photographs to find pictures that correspond with the appropriate letter, for example A for Apple. Place all the photographs you find in a separate file. Once you have 26 pictures from A-Z you’re ready to begin the PowerPoint fun.
1.Open PowerPoint. A box will appear that says “Create a new presentation using…” click on Blank Presentation and then OK. A new box may popup and you’ll need to click on blank and the OK, again.
2.The first thing we’re going to do is give our story a name and title page so we can save it. We’ve all experienced the heartache of losing something we’ve worked on for hours. Let’s not let that happen to the story for your child. Go to File, Save, a box will popup and you decide in what file you’d like to save the story. Click OK and you’re saved. Now we can begin the title page.
3.The Title Page is the first page of course. Start by clicking on the View option and adding a ruler and a grid from the drop down menu. These two helpers make it easier to place items. You can put in a background using fill color or an image, but you’ll definitely want to add text. Let’s add a bright color for background. Go to Format on the toolbar, click and you’ll see the drop down menu. Move your mouse down to Background and click again. A background box pops up. Since we’re just going to add a solid color background at this point, you only need to click on the drop down menu at the bottom of the box. Mouse down and click on More Colors. We want to have lots of choices. In the standard colors I’m choosing a bright yellow by clicking on it and then hitting the OK button, which brings us back to the background box. You can either hit Preview to see what it will look like or just hit Apply. Let’s take a moment to simplify. If you want the same background for all your slides then click Apply to all, but who wants to be boring when it comes to a fun story for a child. Not me! Now you have a bright colorful background for your title page, but it’s time to add the text. Back up to the Insert button on the toolbar. This time you’ll choose Text Box. Click on the screen wherever you want the text box to begin. Now, RIGHT click on the Text box to bring up a drop down menu and select Font. Oh the places you’ll go using this fun option. I chose Jokerman in bright orange because it’s silly and will capture the attention of any little one. I want the font big so 60 it is! Click OK and away we go! As far as other effects, I’m holding off for the moment. I can always go back and add it later. Experiment with the text box to create the text you want. You can go vertical, horizontal, or mix things up. If you want to center the text, right click on the Text box again this time choosing Format Text Box. Select the Text Box tab at the top. You’ll see “Text anchor point…” from the drop down menu choose middle centered. Click OK. TA DA! It’s time to type. If you want every line in your title centered you’ll need to add a new text box for each line. Save your work.
4.Now it’s time to get funky with your title page by adding animation. On the toolbar you’ll find Slide Show, give it a good click. Search for Custom Animation on the drop down menu and click it. Whooaaa.. What fun! In the left hand corner it says, “Check to animate slide objects”, check the first box. Now choose effects. If you’re new to PowerPoint have a little fun, try each selection on the list under Entry animation and sound. You choose how you want your text to enter the screen, from left, right, top, or bottom. I want my text to crawl so I clicked on the “crawl” in the drop down menu. Next I want it to crawl in from the top. You can preview at any time by clicking Preview. You can choose sounds, too. My title page is going to be silent, in fact my entire alphabet story will be silent so we can read it together without distractions, but it’s fun to know the option for sound is there if you want it. Next I decide how I want the text introduced, all at once, one word at a time, or one letter at a time. I chose one word at a time. Later, when I get to the alphabet I’ll have the letter on each page introduced alone. Before we leave Custom Animation we must decide how we want this page to look after the animation. Click on the drop down menu under After Animation. I’m choosing to do nothing. We’re almost finished with the title page. Under Custom Animation click on Order & Timing. Highlight the text by clicking on it. There are a couple options, on mouse click, which means you will have to click the screen to bring up the text. I prefer automatically, so click on automatically and then the time, I chose 00.01. The wait for anxious little readers won’t be long before the story begins. Before moving on, preview your work to make sure you like what you’ve done so far. Choose Slide Show from the tool bar and at the top of the drop down menu select View Show. If the title page is not the way you want it to be change it before moving on. The title page is complete. Save your work.
5.Page two begins the alphabet story. You’ll follow the same procedures as in Steps 3 and 4 except this time we’re going to add a picture of an apple. Ready, set, go… InsertàNew Slide the new slide box will come up and you’ll select blank, and OK. Back to Format and then Background. This time when the background box comes up click on the drop down menu and choose Fill Effects. There are a number of options: Gradient, Pattern, Texture, Picture. For this page we’ll choose the Picture tab. Press the select picture button. Search through your files for the picture you want, click on OK. Click on Apply and the picture will cover the slide.(if you double click the file name it will automatically be inserted on to the page) Now we’re going to add a text box with the Letter “A” and another one with the words “For Apple”. Once again, InsertàText Box. Choose the location by clicking on the page. Choose font size, I chose 96, blue for mine, and the font, Jokerman. Type in the letter. Repeat lower for the next line of text. I wanted my text to go over the apple just a bit. Now you can animate the slide just as we did on the title page. I chose Box and to show text all at once. There’s one last step and then you’re on your own to create with imagination. Save your work.
6.Slide Transition is how your story moves from one page to the next. Click on Slide ShowàSlide Transition. Up comes the Slide Transition box. You can make your slides transition manually by clicking anywhere on the slide with your mouse or you can make it automatically move. Let’s try creating an automatically moving story so your child can sit and watch without any help or needing to be able to use the mouse or spacebar. Click Automatically after 00.03. If this is not long enough or too long it can be changed later. You can add sound, but I am not going to for this story. You’ll notice the box has changed, it now says Advance Automatically after 00.03. What would you like the transition of each slide to be? You can make them all the same or individualize. It’s all up to you. I chose Dissolve at medium speed. If you’re not familiar with these effects take some time look at each one. It’s fun to see just what happens. I chose Apply to all. I want the slide transition to be smooth and consistent.
7.We’re going to add one more slide. InsertàNew SlideàOK This time we’re going to add a background before we add the picture and text box. Sooo… here we go! Click on FormatàBackgroundàMore Colors (from drop down menu) I chose a hot pink for this slide. Click OK and then apply. You’re background looks great! Now we’re going to add a picture. InsertàPictureàFrom file. I chose the picture I wanted and double clicked inserting it immediately. I don’t want the picture of the beach in the middle of the slide so I’m going to left click in the middle of the picture and drag it to the top left. It doesn’t quite fill the quadrant, so now I’m going to grasp the little square handle to resize it just a bit. Perfect. Time to add B for Beach, animate, and check the transition of slide. You’ll want to tweak the timings and transitions after all the slides have been created. Save your work.
8.We’re not quite finished. You’ve probably noticed the numbered slides to the left of your screen. These keep track of what you’re doing. You may want to add the text that is on each slide so you know where you are at a glance. If you click on the icon, that particular slide will come up on the screen. Let’s say for a moment that somehow you put the B slide before the A slide. No problem, just move them by left clicking on the slide icon and dragging the slide to its correct position.
There’s so much you can do with PowerPoint, we’ve not touched the tip of this expansive tool. You can add sound or music from your files. You can create an entire story using your digital photographs. You can animate, transition, and make each slide unique. I hope this gives you an idea of the fun projects that you and your child can share and learn together. Now it’s time to get out there on your own and finish the alphabet book with your child. Create, imagine, but most of all have fun with your child!