As parents (and grandparents) in the digital age, our phones and devices are bursting with photos of our little ones. For crafty and dedicated parents, scrapbooking is a great way to document a child’s life and keep track of all the memories in case something happens to the device. However, scrapbooking isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. So, if you don’t like scrapbooking, but you don’t want your child’s life stored away on your devices, you might need to be a little more creative when it comes to documenting your children’s lives. Read on for a few fun alternatives for documenting a kid’s life besides the scrapbooking approach:
A Year in Videos
While photos are a priceless way to document your child’s life, live videos will be a treasure that you can cherish for years to come as well. Whether it’s their first bike ride, first walk, or their first bite of birthday cake, start documenting your kid’s lives through video recordings. Take consistent videos whenever you can, and at the end of every year, you can put together a short video of their best moments of the year. You can edit the videos to be around 4-7 minutes long, only showing the best moments. This is an easy, entertaining way to document a child’s life, and a fun way to look back on the year’s best memories.
I personally like Animoto which allows me to combine photos and videos to create one video with music and annotations! Below is an example of a video I created after hosting a family reunion over the summer.
The Ever-Changing Gallery Wall
Instead of just a scrapbook, consider turning the walls of your home into “living scrapbook” pages that display your child’s best moments or favorite memories. You can create a photo canvas collage that documents significant or happy moments in your children’s lives. Using the canvas prints will bring the memories to life by giving them more texture and dimension than a flat scrapbook page. As the years go on, you can add to the collage, or switch out old images for new ones as your children age. By creating a collage of memories, you, your children, and any visitors will be able to relive the child’s upbringing and favorite moments by taking one glance at the wall.
Creating a memory journal is the easier version of making a scrapbook. Instead of cutting, gluing, and carefully arranging page after page, a memory journal allows you to write about your children from your point of view. If you are a good journal keeper, you can write about specific days, accomplishments, events, or even just funny things your kids say. This makes for a great memoir that’s perfect for your child to read as they get older. Memory journals can also involve a couple of printed photos, but it will allow you to write the memories in your own words rather than focusing on creating a visually appealing scrapbook page.
This is a fun way to watch the growth of your children. Try taking a photo of your child’s smiling face every single day in the same position and background every day. If every day seems overwhelming, you can take a picture of your child in the same setting during different seasons. For example, if you have a tree in the front yard, take a photo of your children in front of the tree during spring, summer, fall and winter. No matter which method you choose, these images will make for a beautiful collage several years from now.
The Ultimate Email Account
This method is for the tech-savvy family that loves to document their lives the 21st century way. When your children are born, set up an email account in their name. As they grow, upload photos and videos and send them to the address. You can also write them emails after significant events, or tell stories of your favorite memories. Then, when they are old enough, give the child the password—allowing them to view their entire childhood in pictures, videos, and letters from you.
For a more tangible approach of documenting your child’s life, consider procuring a time capsule. Simply take some of their items and put them in a box or canister, including little notes about the items telling why they are significant. Start when they are young, and make a new capsule every year (or every few years). Then, let your child open them on their 18th birthday. They will be able to relive their favorite memories by going through the box of keepsakes you have put together for them.
Documenting your child’s life doesn’t have to be a painful craft project that you do begrudgingly. When you get creative, you’ll see that there are plenty of documentation methods that will allow you to look back on your child’s best moments, and relive the good times you’ve had as a family. So, if you are looking for a way to scrap the scrapbook, try a few of the suggestions above and enjoy reminiscing with your kids as you record and celebrate their childhood.