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    Scrapbooking and Genealogy With Youngsters

    Scrapbooking with my grandchildren and grand nieces provides an enjoyable experience during their vacations from school. It has evolved into a way to capture memories and create memories for them and any of their friends who join us.

    This also led to their asking questions about their family members, discussing grandparents and great grandparents and my showing them how to set up various charts for gathering their research. We also began writing family stories about their memories and those their parents and grandparents told them.


    What Types of Projects

    What types of scrapbooking and family writing projects can you do with children?

    Some of this depends on their age. The younger two, who are eight years old, need help and have a shorter attention span. The eleven- and twelve-year olds, with a little instruction, do much on their own.

    It's interesting to see each child's creativity. Each one makes scrapbooking pages that often reflects their personalities.


    Where Do You Start?

    Go through photos and memorabilia that the youngsters and their parents have collected. Some children may be taking pictures themselves. Others will have photos Mom gives them. In this age of digital cameras, you can print photos off your computer onto photo quality paper, as my granddaughter does.

    • Birthday Celebrations - Usually most families take pictures on birthdays. Some may be parties with their friends while other birthday occasions consist of family get-togethers. I find that most youngsters have birthday pictures they can use to create scrapbooking pages. They particularly enjoy seeing pictures of themselves when they were much younger.

    • Holidays - These festivities throughout the year usually are photo times, too. Hopefully most of these photos will be labeled with occasion and date. If not, you do the best you can. Arrange these according to the particular holiday and then choose photos to crop and decorate a page.

    • Baby Pictures - My grandchildren and grand nieces have such fun organizing their baby pictures onto memory pages. These may involve a range of ages on a page or simply those from a particular year.

    • Pets - Most children have pets in their lives that are special to them. So pages of pet pictures may result. These can be arranged somewhat to tell a story or show the pet in different activities. You also can purchase stickers and other decorative "doggie" touches to add to the page.

    • Trips - My grandchildren have created scrapbook pages of trips their mom and I took in our local area...visiting a cave area in the mountains on one occasion and a mine where we could search for minerals on another. These pictures, with appropriate page decorations, were fun to create.

    • School Events - Field trips and special days at school are great for scrapbooking, too. My granddaughter had fun organizing the pictures of an overnight field trip to the ocean where they explored the natural resources of the area.

    These are just a few of the events in youngsters' lives that can be used to create fascinating scrapbook pages.


    Journaling Memories

    To journal their memories, I encourage my grandchildren, grand nieces and their friends to write down their thoughts about these occasions depicted in their scrapbooks. How much they write will depend on the age and their abilities. Some will write a few sentences on the scrapbook page. Others, if they enjoy writing like my granddaughter, may want to use an accompanying journal.

    • My grand niece cut pieces of paper for captions which told a story about the pictures. These she pasted on the page.

    • Bonnie created two scrapbook pages about her dog, from puppy stage to a two-year old. I suggested she write down things she'd like to remember about her dog and the things she did with her.

    • Mandy put together two pages about summer at the family's camp on a lake. Then she wrote her memories that the pictures evoked.

    • Carrie compiled the pictures of a class field trip to the mountains. This was an overnight camping event. Then she wrote captions as well as journal entries to accompany it.

    • The younger children created their scrapbook pages, then had me write a few words about each picture. When they're older, they may write down memories about these occasions.


    Genealogy Sheets

    We next began writing family members on family group and ancestry sheets, then listing any stories they recalled about those people. They can begin writing these stories at home and asking parents and grandparents for family date to bring to our next session.

    Genealogy research, scrapbooking, and journaling fill many enjoyable hours for my grandchildren and me. Try doing this with the youngsters in your life, too.

    Copyright © 2004 Mary Emma Allen

    Mary Emma Allen workshops in scrapbooking and Writing Your Family Story, online and off. She also is a children's author whose stories and illustrations appear in "Tales of Adventure & Discovery." Visit her web site: http://homepage.fcgnetworks.net/jetent/mea.

    The Authentic Self: Journaling Your Joys, Griefs and Everything in Between by Shery Russ



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