I’m a scrapbooker, and my kids love to make scrapbooks of their own. It’s really easy to make scrapbooks from items you have around the house and would ordinarily throw away. These little books are a great way to document your kids activities and for them to record their experiences. For kids who are otherwise reluctant writers, a scrapbook can be used to report on a school project or even as a book report. Get creative and have fun!
Family Scrapbooks from Scratch
Scrapbooks have been around since before the invention of the camera. Thomas Jefferson kept scrapbooks during his presidency, in which he clipped and saved poems and newspaper articles. Mark Twain was an avid scrapbooker and even patented a pre-glued scrapbook that may have made more profit for him than any of his novels! F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald scrapbooked their lives during the Jazz Age.
What has long been a hobby has recently become a huge industry, but it is not necessary to spend a lot of money to create a keepsake to document your life, and it is fun to make scrapbooks out of things you might otherwise throw away. See how many things you already have around the house that could be used in a scrapbook!
- adhesive, such as glue sticks
- hole punch
- cover–cardboard cracker or cereal boxes, old hardback book covers (25 cent thrift store finds), notebook, cigar box
- inside pages–printer paper, cardstock, old book pages, file folders, paper bags, envelopes, maps, magazines, gift wrap, fabric, workbook pages, kids’ artwork
- to hold it together–binder rings, yarn, twine, string, ribbon, pipe cleaners, brads
1. To assemble cover, cut covers off of old books or use cardboard from boxes and cover with decorated papers, maps, artwork, or fabric. You will need a front and back cover of the same size. Line the covers up, and measure and punch holes for binding.
2. Line up a piece of paper with the cover, trace, and cut out to form a template for the other pages. Once you decide on the arrangement and variety of the pages, line them up a few at a time with the cover and punch holes. Attach with binder rings, yarn, etc.
3. Ideas to put inside:
- their name in their handwriting
- painted handprints
- lists (favorite foods, toys, books, songs)
- drawings of family, pets, home
- samples of schoolwork
- letters from Mom and Dad
- birthday cards
- postcards and brochures
- interviews with grandparents
- family history–find out where your ancestors came from (resources include the family Bible, birth, marriage, and death certificates, census forms, and school and military service records)
- questionnaires sent to relatives asking them for names, dates, and family stories
- family tree
- gravestone rubbings
- Do People Grow on Family Trees? Genealogy for Kids and Other Beginners by Ira Wolfman
- Our Tree Named Steve by Alan Zweibel
- Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs by Tomie dePaola
- The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant
- The Pink House by Kate Salley Palmer
- Miss Fannie’s Hat by Jan Karon
- Cheaper by the Dozen and Belles on Their Toes by Frank Gilbreth, Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey
- Grandma’s Attic books by Arleta Richardson
- Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder
This article originally appeared in HEFM 2013, Issue 1. Reprinted with permission.