We so often spend our days snapping adorable photos of our kids, but then those mementos end up languishing on our phones and desktops. How about using them to create a physical keepsake instead? Scrapbooking is a great way to treasure these times with your family and it’s also the perfect craft activity for kids to get involved with as it is relatively inexpensive, easy to pull off and brings out the artist in everyone.
The best thing about scrapbooking is that nothing has to look perfect. In fact, the messier and the more abstract, random and creative - the better. No two scrapbooks will look the same. Some may be full of photos, while others may be covered in drawings and scribbles and newspaper cuttings. Either way, they all work.
We’ve spoken to mum bloggers about why they love getting creative with their families and - more importantly - their top tips for doing it yourself.
Rina Gonzales, 40, from California, US, who blogs at Mothership Scrapbook Girl, frequently scrapbooks with her niece, Ori, four, and nephew, Manolis, six, she also hosts craft events in local coffee shops. “Kids are less cautious and more willing to be extra creative when they are provided with craft supplies,” she tells HuffPost UK. “I encourage them by letting them know that every design they make is awesome. Kids are always eager to show off their designs and making something encourages self-esteem.”
Becky Higgins, 41, from Arizona, US, often blogs about scrapbooking with her kids Crew, nine, Claire, 12, and Porter, 15. She says it helps them to feel valued and special. However none of her kids seem to be “natural journallers” so she helps them think about what to write in their scrapbooks by randomly asking them questions at any given time. “I will write a random question or prompt, such as ‘who are your very favourite friends right now?’ or ‘write one of your favourite vacation memories’ and we pass the notebook back and forth,” she explains.
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Craft blogger Amy Tangerine, 39, from LA, US, says scrapbooking gives her and her four-year-old son time to pause and reflect on special memories they’ve made. “My son gets to see the photos in tangible form printed out, not just on the computer or my phone,” she says. “He loves just holding a picture in his hands - it’s something in the digital age that we often take for granted.
“Scrapbooking is a way for us to spend time together being creative now, to make a time capsule for the future that we will all cherish.”
All three mums have shared their scrapbooking tips below. Pens at the ready...
Let kids be free to express themselves.
You may want your scrapbook to look “perfect” but, depending on the age of your kids, they’re likely to want to draw everything, everywhere. Tangerine says you should let your little ones express themselves how they want in the scrapbook. “At four, my son is really into drawing up imaginative scenes and using stickers to express himself,” she says. “The ideas he comes up with are pretty hilarious too. It’s so fun watching how in flow kids can be. Many times they don’t have preconceived notions of how things should look or turn out, and if he makes a ‘mistake’ we turn it into something else.”
Keep it simple.
You don’t need to go crazy with different materials, tape, fabric and glitter for a good scrapbooking session. “Having basic supplies like paper, felt, tacky glue and glue sticks are a great way to encourage creativity,” says Gonzales. Tangerine says you can even keep it as simple as a pen and paper. She also adds that you should set your expectations low when you start out, rather than hoping it will end up Pinterest-worthy straight away.
Prepare a craft space.
If you’re making an afternoon of it (and your kids are keen), Gonzales recommends setting up a craft table. Be sure to put some sort of temporary cloth down as it’ll no doubt get very messy. By having a craft space, you can lay out everything you have to use in the scrapbook - pens, paper, stickers, tape, glue, etc. It’s an easy way for your children to see what they can use and get involved.
Find inspiration online.
Don’t worry if you’re starting scrapbooking for the first time and feel slightly uninspired. There’s plenty of ideas for ways to get crafty on Pinterest or on other scrapbooking blogs, suggests Gonzales. Or you could look on Facebook for craft events in your local area.
Don’t force your kids to do it.
One thing you don’t want to do is make scrapbooking feel as if it’s a chore. “You don’t want them to resent something that really should be so special,” says Higgins. “If they’re not into scrapbooking, that’s okay. You’re the one that has the honour of preserving their memories until perhaps, one day, they might want to do it themselves.”
Don’t feel discouraged if you can’t get your child to participate. “If Jack isn’t in the mood, he can still bring some toys to the table so we can at least be doing something we both enjoy alongside one another,” Tangerine says. “It’s also wonderful just asking for their input - perhaps you want to let them choose a patterned paper. Then they can feel like they have contributed and their opinion matters.“
Ask them how they want to get involved.
Gauge your kids’ interest in scrapbooking by finding out what part of it they may like. “Perhaps they love writing and you can encourage them to keep a written journal,” says Higgins. “Or maybe they love taking pictures instead.”
Do you scrapbook or have crafternoons with your kids? We’d love to see the results! Get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.