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Keep summer memories alive

Making a family scrapbook lets you assemble everyone's favorite moments in one place. (©iStockphoto.com/Ekaterina Monakhova) Making a family scrapbook lets you assemble everyone's favorite moments in one place. (©iStockphoto.com/Ekaterina Monakhova)


By Gail Belsky

 

Summer is a time for family adventures, relaxing together and building "forever" memories. As the season comes to an end, you can upload your photos and leave it at that -- or you can create a group keepsake that lets the entire family relive and savor the special moments of summer. Here are some quick and creative craft activities everyone can do together (which creates another memory to preserve!).

Scrap It Together

Making a family scrapbook lets you assemble everyone's favorite moments in one place. But instead of you doing it for them, let every family member contribute as the spirit moves them. Put a stack of summer photos, a bunch of markers and a blank scrapbook on the dining room or coffee table. As family members pass by, each can choose a photo, put it on a page and write about their favorite moments.

Draw It from Memory

Buy a large sketchpad, an assortment of colored pencils and some fine tip markers. Give everyone a sheet to sketch his favorite part of vacation or weekend outings. Encourage creativity. Drawings can be literal, abstract, funny or serious -- whatever captures the spirit and imagination of the artist!

Collect and Create

Gather up the mementos that family members collected over the summer: seashells, interesting stones, postcards and the like. If you don't have any, go to your local dollar store and buy little items that represent what you've done. As a family, mount the items on a giant piece of foam board and display it where everyone can see.

Frame ‘em

Give everyone artistic license to decorate picture frames to hold their favorite summer photos. Buy plain wood picture frames from the craft store and break out the glue, glitter, paint, buttons and pretty paper scraps. For a fancier frame, buy some dimensional fabric paint.

Wear and Share

You can display your special memories, or share them with others, by designing your own T-shirts. As a family, create a name or logo for your vacation or favorite summer activity. Then choose a photo or image to go with it. Using an online customized T-shirt printer, upload your logo and photo, and print as many shirts as you want. Prices vary, so check around before you buy. You can also print customized beach towels to use next summer!

Carve It in… Wood

Carving and whittling are two of the world's oldest crafts and, in addition to being fun, they help kids to build fine motor skills and sustain focus. Have each family member sketch some images of his or her summer memories on a piece of paper that they can then copy in their carvings. Younger children can start out carving in soap, but older ones can use lumber or tree branches. They can even carve a walking stick for next summer's adventures.

Give Back

One way to preserve a memory is to keep it going. Sit down together and talk about the best things you did or saw over the summer. Then, come up with a charity to support based on your most memorable experience. You might decide to donate to a wildlife preservation group, a local historical society or an animal rescue program -- something that will help protect the places that provide those special memories in the first place.

Gail Belsky has worked on a variety of women's publications, including Parents, Working Mother and All You, and she recently wrote a book for women entitled The List: 100 Ways to Shake Up Your Life. She is the managing editor of Your Family Today.

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