Thanks for the Memories

Even kids treasure memories -- and they love capturing them in scrapbooks!

By Barbara Albright

 In our hectic world, many families find that creating handmade treasures is an antidote to frenzy. Lovingly assembled scrapbooks are a good example of this. Make one with your kids -- you will capture memories and in the process create some excellent new ones!

Since scrapbooks are not photo albums, you might also decide to organize your digital photos into albums you can create online. These albums can stay in the virtual world, or you can work with a company that prints the actual books.

Giant-Sized or Small
The scrapbook can be a huge, over-filled volume dedicated to the rough-and-tumble life of your growing family. Or it may be a small book focusing on a single event.

This might be a dance recital, a scout camping trip, a school project, soccer tournament, or birthday party.

It's important to remember that a scrapbook differs from a photo album in that photographs often are secondary. What is important is the focus of the book and the personal touches your kids give it.

Scrapbook as Journal
As the kids work on the book, encourage them to write journal-like entries about the events or people involved. These entries don't need to be long, but should be in the child's handwriting. He or she should choose the words (spelling errors included!) to commemorate his or her age at the time.

When you're on vacation or day-tripping, buy postcards and suggest that the children write their impressions on the cards. Paste these into the scrapbook.

Let the kids draw in the scrapbook. Even small, doodle-like drawings add to the charm. Paste pictures they draw in school, art class, or on their own into the books, too.

Scrapbook Organization
Keep items you want to include in a scrapbook in large envelopes or boxes. Label them and keep them someplace visible. This way, you will be less apt to forget to make the scrapbook!

Talk to the kids about planning the scrapbook. They will have their own ideas about photographs and mementos. Listen to them -- a child's vision is often an intriguing one.

Planning to make a scrapbook will also help you decide what pictures to take and what mementos to keep. You and the kids will replay the story you want to tell over and over in your minds as you travel or participate in various events.

Choosing and Maintaining Materials
Use materials that stand the test of time: acid-free paper, pens, glue, and stickers. Look for materials labeled as archival. They should be laboratory tested for safety.

If you cannot find these, don't let it stop you. Just go ahead and make the scrapbook with the best paper and other materials you can find. You don't necessarily need to create a book that will last an eternity!

Keep scrapbooking materials in one place. Craft supply and stationery stores are good sources of paper, scissors, and other items well-suited to scrapbooking. Consider specialty scissors that cut festive borders. Rubber stamps and stickers add personality and touches of whimsy.

Scrapbooking as a Family Event
Set aside time for you and the kids to work on the scrapbook. This is a great way to gather and organize loose memorabilia and photos. It is also a good way to foster creativity.

Scrapbooking will be a time of merriment and laughter. Particularly when your kids start looking at some of the older photos you have lying around!