In these fast-paced times, more and more of us turn to technology to help us manage our time and feel more efficient. Keeping up with our family and friends use to be as simple as a long phone call, or routine visits at each others' homes. But times have changed...and in a big way. Families and friends relocate. Daily demands grow, and we're constantly challenged with how to balance it all, which makes the favorite past times of spending time with others seem so far and few in between that we rely on sites like Facebook to help us share updates and photos.
And although we find ourselves a bit more streamlined and tech-driven, we are still a bit nostalgic when it comes to all things homemade, like baking a cake from scratch, a handwritten note, or even skimming through an old photo album with our kids and pointing out pictures of times so distant. We're smitten with the vintage clothes we are able to dress our kids in (specially those made by hand) and we're thrilled to see the kids enjoy it, even if just for playtime.
Why not carry this tradition and bring back the lost art of originality and handmade-goodness? This summer, help the kids reminisce and keep up with their circle of friends by scrapbooking a homemade "Facebook" album together -- and I'm talking construction paper and hand drawings. Resist the temptation of using the computer and printer for photos or lettering and, instead, empower your little ones to be creative with their hands, their style and creativity.
First, gather materials from around the house, and you'll be surprised at how much you really have. Avoid the temptation of visiting a craft store unless your completely out of paper or glue. If you have any, gather photos (the ones buried in boxes and drawers) of your children's friends for this project that you are OK with having altered. These photos may be of classmates, playdates, camp buddies, and/or friends and cousins they cherish. Other materials that you may already have include old magazines, wrapping paper, stickers, yarn, and glitter.
Start by folding ten sheets of 8.5 x 11 (or 11 x 17) sheets of construction paper and either glue the center folds one on top of the other to bind, or stack them together and staple the edge. To keep little fingers safe, glue ribbon over the staples by wrapping decorative ribbon on both sides.
On each paper, ask the kids to tell you who they wish to include and help them write their names at the top. Use the entire photo or help the children practice cutting out their faces. Glue these underneath the names and have your child tell you what they know about their buddies. Have them look through magazines or use stickers to help tell the story (e.g. place a sticker of an ice-cream cone if that is what is Bobby's favorite food).
Work on this project in one afternoon or over the course of the week. This is a fun way for the kids to spend time cherishing each of their friends while also enjoying the art of their own creativity. It's a book that will surely be held on to forever.
And who knows... maybe when the time comes to purchase yearbooks at the end of the school year, your little one will want to make on of his/her own instead.
Originally published in 2010.
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