Last week while J was at a conference in Washington DC, I took a couple days and drove out to Maryland for a visit with my college roommate Samantha and her adorable family. Since most of her kids were very little the last time I saw them, I wanted to plan a fun activity for us to do together so that they would like me and remember our time together. And so in true rukristin fashion — I picked a scrapbooking activity. Pre-planning activities and events are one of my favorite things to work on — and this one went off without a hitch. So here’s my non-mom advice on scrapping with kiddos.
How I did it: Planning the Acvitity
I’m a firm believer in creating Plans of Action — a general outline for the way I want something to happen. A written plan of action gives you the framework for generating an idea and seeing it through, from inception to completion.
It’s purpose is to get a lot of the heavy thinking out of the way at the beginning, so that when you’re confronted with a road block, you already know what the plan is supposed to be and it’s easier to alter an existing plan than it is to completely come up with a new one on the spot.
This is especially true when working with kids — sure you’re whole plan is probably going to go out the window, but its easier to get back on track when you’ve already done the work and laid out the track ahead of you.
I started out by creating the parameters of my activity (scrapbook pages with kids) — who it was for, what the purpose was, and the logistics of how it was actually going to work. Then came the preparation phase, where I gathered the materials I would need for the project. And finally the activity phase itself — where we had an awesome time making scrapbook pages.
Step One: Activity Parameters | What were the rules that I was going to have to follow for this activity to be successful?
- I needed to bring all the materials — including the photos.
- I needed to have a theme — something compelling.
- It needed to be suitable for children in a few different age ranges.
- It needed to be a cost-effective project to make in bulk.
Step Two: Activity Supplies | What did I need to bring with me to make this activity successful?
- 8.5×11 White Cardstock cut in half. I used the kind that you buy at the office supply store. (about 20 sheets)
- Instax Camera and 2 rolls of film. (20 photos total)
- Scraps of patterned paper. I scoured my scrap box for smaller sheets that the kids would like — I didn’t go crazy, I didn’t want to overwhelm them with too many options.
- Lots of letters. I brought several of packages of alphas that I had used about 30-40% off (the ones with all the E’s or S’s used up) and the kids when crazy for them.
Step Three: Enjoying the Activity | What did I need to do to facilitate this activity in order for it to be successful?
- Show them first, then have them do it themselves. This was a learning opportunity for the kids, and they were super excited about it. They got to learn how to use a new camera, learn how to spell new words, learn how to play with new toys. This was about the kids making a project — not me making a project with the kids there, so it was important for me to be very hands-off after showing them what to do.
- Be the facilitator. Help the kids create the projects that they want to make. If one of the kids is struggling, have them explain story they’re trying to tell, and offer suggestions. If some of the kids are proficient at one thing (like writing their names, or holding the camera the correct way) help those that aren’t.
- Break Time. Because scrapbooking is such an unstructured activity, it’s a great anytime project — it fits in after breakfast, or before dinner, or a weekend afternoon activity. But be weary of spending too much time on any one part of the activity. I found that a little photo shoot — then scrapbooking — then break-time was perfect.
- Clean Up. Keep everything in a single container. They’re kids — it’s not going to stay organized, a single container for all the scrapbook supplies is a perfect way to make clean up time (and the next setup time) easy and simple for everyone involved.
We had the best time. I brought my instax camera, and took a few pictures of the kids before passing the camera off to them and letting them take turns using it to snap photographs. They were in awe of the fact that a little photo just popped out of the top of the camera. They then used those photographs on sheets of letter-sized cardstock cut in half. Some of the kids put their scrapbook pages directly into their artwork binders, while others asked me to punch holes in their pages so we could string them up to make a book.
What are your tips for scrapbooking with kids?