published Sunday, June 3rd, 2012

Keep your summer memories at hand

Julie Baumgardner
Other ideas

Make a summer journal. Start at the beginning of summer and record dates of special outings, favorite activities, foods, unusual events and sleepovers.

Include a disposable camera. Send a camera with your child on adventures to document "once in a lifetime" moments.

Write a book. This is a great way to keep skills fresh over the summer and give young people a sense of accomplishment. Let them write a book about themselves and their summer adventures.

Make a collage. Either build or purchase a collage frame and let your child create a masterpiece with all of the items he has collected from summer fun. Hang it on the wall.

Draw a picture. Let your children draw pictures of summer outings to hang in their rooms or put in their scrapbooks.

Create a summer gallery. Collect photos from your summer activities and put them on the refrigerator. It will become a great conversation piece.

Decorate a shoebox for mementos. Have fun decorating a shoebox for all the treasures they have accumulated over the summer.

Many families go at a fast pace even in the summertime. In the moment, you think you will remember all the funny, sweet, embarrassing, cute, priceless experiences. But the truth is, you forget a lot. Summer memories are important to cherish and can become great conversation pieces for your children and eventually, your grandchildren, many years from now.

Do you remember running around the yard catching fireflies, going on fishing expeditions, making a lemonade stand with your best friend, going off to camp for the first time, or endless games of whiffle ball?

Summer months are full of potential for rich memories that may have a shorter life span than you think.

Have your children ever been asked at the beginning of the school year to write how they spent their summer, and they came to you and asked, "What did I do this summer?"

While your kids are in the midst of the experience, they don't think they will ever forget, but give them a few months, and they may not remember all the fun things they did during their time off.

How about starting a new tradition with your kids to help them remember their summertime fun? Begin by sitting down with your children and coming up with a bucket list of things they would like to do this summer. Make it clear that you probably won't get to everything on the list.

You will need an inexpensive scrapbook for each child, a few disposable cameras, and a place to collect keepsakes like ticket stubs, napkins, coasters, putt-putt scorecards, programs, a bag of sand, seashells, pictures and anything else that would help them remember each experience. At the end of summer, have a little celebration, and let your children put together a scrapbook of all the fun things they did.

This is just one way to help children create lasting memories of summer.

Email Julie Baumgardner, president and executive director of First Things First, at julieb@firstthings.org.

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