Summertime is the quintessential season for being a kid. Bare feet, water play, popsicles dripping vibrant stickiness…that’s the stuff fond childhood memories are made of. I can easily call to mind the summers of my youth spent creating secret hideouts with my brother, writing notes to each other in code, selling Kool-Aid on the corner, swimming until our skin shriveled, and playing freeze tag on the front lawn with the neighbor kids until the street lights came on. If pressed, I think I would have to admit that most of my favorite childhood memories were made in summertime, in the carefree expanse of my neighborhood and on an assortment of family vacation adventures.
When school is out and the possibility of fun lurks around every sunny corner, it’s the perfect time to hand off a camera and spy the world of summer through a youngster’s eyes. As scrapbookers, we already model the behavior of memory keeping for our children, in the same way we (hopefully!) model good manners, or healthy eating habits. Our kids know from our example that capturing snippets of our everyday experiences in words and pictures is important and valuable. This renders them ideally equipped to carry on our legacy of storytelling. For kids who have been raised observing an adult enthusiastically and purposefully recording the noteworthy moments, it’s not a matter of why tell their stories, but when, where, and in what form.
If we allow our children to participate in photographing and documenting the things that are meaningful to them – the significant routines, experiences, locations, favorites, and things that spark their curiosity – they stand to gain lifelong skills of awareness and gratitude. As a bonus, we get to include an additional layer to our collective family chronicles: the unique point of view of a child.
And that present-moment consciousness that we adults strive for in daily life, amongst the distractions of routine tasks and technology? It may just become second nature to our kids if they grow up attuned to it.
Kids are naturally inquisitive and creative. Helping them become lifelong storytellers is as simple as offering them a camera (even the disposable kind will do), some supplies from the scrap pile, and the space and encouragement to express themselves.
Reader Michelle Holcomb put together a lovely post on her blog about creating summer journals for your kids that fits nicely with Tami's thoughts for today. See Michelle's journals here.
A scrapbook is a good starting point, and can be as minimal as an inexpensive binder and page protectors from the office supply store. What youngsters may lack in refined design theory they will more than make up for with their candid, kid’s-eye-view perspective. Of course, traditional scrapbooking isn’t the only story-capturing medium, and depending on the child’s age and abilities, a notebook, art journal, blog, digital scrapbooking program, or online photo-sharing account can all fit the bill.
In the long, aimless days of summer, all things are possible to a child. Let’s help our kids freeze this magical time in their own stories and photos, so they can look back and remember…and so they can learn to always appreciate, honor, and record the magic in their lives as it happens.
ABOUT TAMI : Tami Morrison is a mom of four, an instructor at Big Picture Scrapbooking, a member of the Ella Friends team at Ella Publishing, the “Funnest Scrapbooker Ever” (according to Simple Scrapbooks Magazine) and a big fan of color, curiosity, cool containers, clever packaging, and stationery products of pretty much any kind. She considers herself one of the real housewives of Orange County, CA, where she stays chronically busy and one step behind the housekeeping at all times. She scrapbooks to stay mindful of the stuff that matters, and to celebrate the fun things in life.
Tami’s newest workshop at Big Picture Scrapbooking, Kidding Around, is open for registration now. It’s a great way to share the memory-keeping lifestyle with kids of all ages, while keeping them busy with plenty of fun and memorable summer activities.
Class begins July 8.