Firework photo journal

This holiday keepsake gets your kids creatively writing over the summer.

You'll Need

  • Heavy paper for the book covers
  • White paper for the inside pages
  • Red, white & blue paint
  • Pipe cleaners/chenille stems


60 minutes

Learning Stages

By Becca Ross
Kindergarten & First Grade Teacher

Becca is a schoolteacher and blogs at She loves to cook, bake, garden, sew, quilt, teach and simply spend time with her family. She strives to find art in everyday things.

With summer break in full swing, kids’ writing time can be cut dramatically. They aren’t in class, having their teachers ask them to take out their writer’s notebooks. They don’t jump up down with excitement at the idea of writing a story either.

One way I have found to encourage my kids to write is to make photo journals. Photo journals are great for all ages. Young kids can glue pictures into their journals and write a short caption, using best-guess spelling. Older kids might be interested in telling longer stories to describe photos. Either way, these photo journals have become keepsakes in our house. I love looking back on their writing, and it’s a great way to get all of my photos out of the computer and into a book!

I’m always trying to find new ways to create books. Writing is just more fun when you have something interesting to write in. A simple rubberband book is one of my favorites. It’s easy for kids to make and you can use materials you have around the house to create it.

  1. Make pipe cleaner fireworks. Cut small pieces of pipe cleaners and twist them together. Nail clippers are a great tool for kids to use to cut pipe cleaners, but scissors will work too. These become your painting tools as well as a decoration for assembling the book.
  2. Use three pipe cleaner fireworks as painting sponges. Dab them into the red, white and blue paint and then dab them onto heavy paper to create painted fireworks for the book cover.
  3. Once the paint is dry, use another piece of heavy paper as a back to the book, and add plain pages to the inside.
  4. Punch two holes, fairly close together, through all of the pages. Insert one end of the rubberband into one hole and another end into the other hole, letting the main part of the rubberband run down the back side of the book so it is not seen.
  5. Insert a pipe cleaner sparkler into each rubberband end to hold the book together.
  6. Print a few pictures and glue them into the book.
  7. Let the kids write captions or stories to go along with the pictures.

You’ve created the memories, now it’s time to create a fun way to store those memories for years to come! It’s a great way to get your kids painting, creating, and writing, even during those lazy days of summer.