We love our digital pictures, but creating a folder marked “Summer 2012″ doesn’t exactly let your kid participate in the fun, and printing and framing tons of snapshots can cost a small fortune.
So how do you go about memorializing that awesome family trip you took?
We all know the best part of the Grand Canyon/Coliseum/Outer Banks is not found in the gift shop, and those overpriced paperweights and teeny tiny stuffed animals will be soon be long forgotten.
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For a more fun and budget-friendly way to document your family’s summer escapades, we did some digging for simple, affordable crafts that let your kids preserve memories in their own words.
We’ve written before about the best ways to preserve memories in general, but these three crafts can be adapted for most ages, and they look great no matter how skilled you are at cutting in straight lines.
1. The Flipbook
Instead of overdoing it in the gift shop, head in with your kid and limit her purchase to one postcard (or two). Then have your child draw a picture or write a few words about what she saw, her favorite part of the experience or the coolest fact she learned.
When you get home, poke a hole in the corner of the card and add it to a simple binder ring. A few trips later you’ll have a flipbook of summer memories.
Not traveling this summer? Then buy a few postcards at your local drugstore, or print out some of your favorite photos, and have your kids draw/write on the back of those. If they need inspiration, ask them questions like “What’s your favorite summer treat?” or “What’s something special about summer that we don’t have in the winter?
Image Credit: The WDW Guru
2. The Pendant
There’s nothing a kid loves more than wearing his own handiwork. And there’s nothing a mom loves more than consolidating the clutter around the house. With a pack of Shrinky Dink paper–a special paper that shrinks after only three minutes in the oven, preserving and shrinking any markings–both kid and mom will be happy.
Clumsy Crafter has clear instructions for the logistics, but here’s a tip to make it travel friendly: Trace the outline of a cup eight times on a piece of Shrinky Dink paper (for older kids with stronger fine motor skills, you can just cut the paper into circles) and bring it with you wherever you’re headed. When you have some down time, have your child draw what he sees or something fun he’s done that day.
When you get home, shrink the memories into pendants to make a bracelet, necklace or keychain. When your child’s classmates ask what he did over the summer, he can show them!
Image Credit: Clumsy Crafter
3. The Map
This is an easy one, with the benefit of a crash course in geography. All you need is a map and a handful of push pins. Of course, if you have a child under the age of four, you might not want to use pins, so try little stickers instead.
Hang the map on the wall or on a cork board and have your child place a pin or sticker in the place you’re going. This doesn’t need to be fun for world travelers only–pick the map you hang based on the places you go. Is your farthest trip to the park? Then print out a map of your neighborhood. Will you be visiting Grandma an hour away? Choose a map of the state.
When you get home, write (or have her write) your child’s favorite memory or activity from the place you were on a small scrap of paper. Pin or stick the memory under the existing marker and soon you’ll have your very own map of memories.
Image Credit: Conde Nast Traveler