King Features Syndicate
Kids can have their passport book "stamped" at vacation spots.

When you hit the road this summer, your preschooler will enjoy putting "play pieces" on colorful pages of his or her own passport book to become familiar with whom and what he or she will see on the trip. Upon arrival at each location, validate a page ... for instance, Grandma could sign and date "her" page when he or she arrives.

Here's what you'll need:

An empty cardboard food box approximately 6 inches by 8 inches, such as a Cream of Wheat or Minute Rice box

Clear plastic or tin mint box (approximately 4 inches by 2 1/2 inches)

Construction paper

Self-sticking Velcro dots

Markers, crayons


Scissors, ruler and hole punch

Pipe cleaners

Travel brochures, and small photos of your child and people you will visit.

Here's the fun:

1. Repurpose the box into the spine and front and back cover of the book. An adult should cut off the two long side panels and the top of the box. Leave the bottom of the box intact to become the spine.

2. Lay the book cover in front of you with the spine to the left.

Measure in to the center of the front, 4 1/2 inches from the spine. Draw a vertical line as a guide for cutting off the right side of the front cover. You have a book on the left and extra space on the right side of the back cover, where you may glue the box for storing play pieces.

3. Punch two holes in the spine, 1 inch from the top and bottom edges. Cut paper to fit inside, adding an extra inch to allow the paper to be folded and fit into the spine.

Decorate each page with a drawing or cutouts from travel brochures of a place you will visit during your trip. Punch holes in the pages to match up with holes in the spine. Pull a pipe cleaner through the holes in the pages and book spine, and twist to secure the pages.

4. For each page, create a "play piece" small enough to store in the small box, such as a cutout photo of Grandma or the Statue of Liberty. Stick a Velcro dot on the back of each piece. Place the corresponding Velcro dot by the image that corresponds with the play piece. For example, your child would eventually attach Grandma's photo to the page with a drawing of her house.

Glue your child's picture on the inside cover, and add name, date and place of birth.

Paint and decorate the cover to resemble a real passport.

Donna Erickson's new award-winning television series "Donna's Day" is airing on public television nationwide. Visit to find out when it airs on your local PBS station and to sign up for Donna's e-newsletter. Her latest book is "Donna Erickson's Fabulous Funstuff for Families." © Donna Erickson. Dist. by King Features Syndicate