From the time my kids were about 6 years old, they loved using my camera to take pictures. Sometimes the pictures were blurry and off-center, but we printed them nevertheless. Of course, I was always busy taking pictures of my kids’ adventures too. Even if your child doesn’t think they love writing stories, they won’t be able to resist the urge to create a book filled with pictures they have taken themselves or pictures they star in.
Creating the Book
- If you’re comfortable with the idea, let the kids take control of the camera. If not, most smartphones are equipped with a camera for on-the-go photo-ops. Encourage your kids to take pictures as they are out and about in the world. The more experience they have with taking photos, the better their artistic eye will become. Take snapshots of your kids as they explore, as kids love to see themselves in photos.
- Print a handful of pictures that tell a story. It’s important to pick just a few to print, as a large stack will feel overwhelming for your child. A good rule of thumb is to use your child’s age to decide how many to print. If your child is 4, print 4 pictures. Glue the pictures into the book and let your child decorate the pages. My kids have always loved decorating with markers, but scrapbook paper, colorful tape, and stickers are always motivating too.
- When the pictures are in place and the book looks like a piece of artwork, it’s time to add the writing. I love to let the pictures tell a story, but it’s important to hear the kids’ own words come through. If your child is very young, you may be taking dictation in combination with letting them “play” with writing. Young writers in the scribbling stage might pretend to write, while a parent adds in the details.
This should be a fun experience for kids to record their memories, so keep it simple and don’t push for perfection. Let this be a play time!