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KidStuff - Transforming Scraps into Memories

by Pam Auten, CCLS
Child Life Specialist, Arkansas Children's Hospital

Scrapbooking is sweeping the country and already is a culture of its own. Finding supplies is as easy as browsing the many aisles at craft stores, shopping at discount stores and perusing stores completely devoted to scrapbooking. Mothers get together and "crop" with their friends or plan weekend retreats dedicated to filling scrapbooks. At Arkansas Children's Hospital, a group that meets every Friday for parents of children in the NICU and CVICU, moms, dads, grandparents and siblings alike, spends the afternoon scrapbooking their experience at the hospital.

So, why not scrapbook with your children? Children of all ages love arts and crafts, and when you break it down, isn't that what scrapbooking is all about? And don't forget the story telling, another thing children love to do. No matter the child's age, he or she can create their own scrapbook or help with the family scrapbook.

Getting started is easy. Decide whether the child will have his or her own scrapbook or work in the family scrapbook. Allow the child to choose supplies such as paper, stickers, embellishments; the options are endless. Set the ground rules such as whether or not they can cut the photo, how many stickers per page, etc. But most of all surrender ownership and allow the child to create his or her own page. If this is difficult to do, be sure the child has his or her own scrapbook.

Children ages 2 to 5 years old can design the background paper, apply stickers, draw their own picture and determine the placement of the photo. Children ages 5 to 7 years old can start with more advanced page designs including the use of ribbons, shape stencils, page kits and can even dictate the written or journal part on the page. Children ages 8-12 years old can really begin to create their visions and stories. They are able to do their own writing. They can even be involved in taking photographs and choosing how to cut the photos to fit the design since their ability to plan and create a page is much more advanced. Children ages 13 years old and older can basically create what an adult can, but from the view of a teenager. What better way to capture the memory of football, soccer, cheerleading, band or homecoming?

Scrapbooking with children does not have to be expensive. You can use regular colored paper, stickers, or shop the discount stores for supplies. (Keep in mind that some papers may not preserve the pictures forever.) Check the clearance aisles and watch for sales. Also, consider purchasing a book that will give you ideas about how to use household items to decorate the pages or go online for ideas.

Scrapbooking is a great activity for children of all ages. It can be done with a family member or even in a group. Some scrapbooking stores even have groups for children so be sure to check that out as well. Most of all, scrapbooking creates memories a child can keep for a lifetime.

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