At home in the UK over the summer, my gran dug out an old photo album of a family caravan holiday. We spent a pleasant hour or two marvelling at the endless sunny days of the ’70s, giggling at dad’s flares and mum’s dodgy perm, and wondering why we were all dressed in matching corduroy dungarees. Anyway, tucked in the back of the album was a postcard from the same holiday, a bookmark, and a drawing I had done of us all eating ice cream on the beach (all decked out in aforementioned dungarees). Gran’s treasured keepsake was a kind of scrapbook, yet these days we’re more likely to scroll through thumbnails on a laptop. Not quite the same, is it?
The humble scrapbook is seeing a revival (and has certainly come a long way since gran’s slapdash effort). Entire stores are devoted to stickers, stamps and other accessories, so you can create something special. More than just photo albums – they’re ideal for presenting drawings, diary entries and storing all those ‘wonderful’ keepsakes kids refuse to throw away.
So why not take time out with your brood and make some memories of your own? Your little ’uns could create a special gift for grandparents or friends, like Anika and Caitlyn did for Rebecca (see right) and when you look back in 10 years, you’ll be glad you invested the effort now.
Lani from Paper Lane, the Dubai scrapbooking store says, ‘Scrapbooking not only helps preserve memories for years to come, it’s also fun,’ she says. ‘Getting your children involved in scrapbooking is a great way to give them something they like to do – such as cutting papers, peeling and sticking stickers, drawing pictures, playing with paper – and having them learn while using their imagination to full effect.’
What do I need?
Memories! And lots of them. Photos are great of course, but feel free to add drawings, keepsakes, tickets and programmes, stories, poems and notes written by your child or others.
As for equipment, these basics should see you through:
• a simple album
• craft glue
• stickers, flowers and die cuts
• child-safe scissors/fancy-edge cutting scissors
• shaped punches
• an assortment of papers
• coloured pencils, markers
• Lani from Paper Lane recommends choosing a theme: your child’s favourite hobby, friends, clothes, pets or whatever is the flavour of the month. School years, family, friends, birthdays and other celebrations, as well as holiday albums all make good scrapbooking topics.
• If your kids are having a tough time deciding, buy a scrapbook kit to spark their imagination.
• Put together a stash of supplies your kids can use at any time so that they can dip in when the mood strikes.
• For young kids, cut out and pre-prepare stickers so they don’t get frustrated or overwhelmed.
• Use duplicate photos. If they want to chop off an arm in a photo, it’s okay, you still have the original.
• Encourage kids to make diary entries on their layouts using their own handwriting. Let them add personal info such as their name, age and the date on their pages. They’ll love looking back as they get older (you will too).
• Allow your kids to do their own thing. Remember, these are their pages and they don’t have to be perfect.
Anika Kapila tells us how she made a scrapbook for her friend
‘We go round in a gang of three at school, Rebecca, Caitlin and me, Anika. We’re all at JESS [Jumeirah English Speaking School] in the Arabian Ranches. Rebecca’s birthday was coming up and we knew she loved homemade things, so a scrapbook would be perfect.
‘Caitlin and I started collecting photographs of Rebecca and us and printed them off on our computers. We had the idea of adding lyrics of her favorite songs and Caitlin said we should have a page on our futures together and what we might look like as old ladies! Hopefully we’d still be friends. We even put in a page of us as babies compared to the teenage posers we are now!
‘Our art teacher let us have an old, unused art sketchbook, and that’s when we came up with the idea to get Rebecca’s teachers to write happy birthday and make a comment of some kind as well.
‘We had exams around the corner and Mum wasn’t impressed when she caught me doing the scrapbook when I was supposed to be revising! But the hardest bit was keeping the scrapbook a secret from Rebecca. We asked her afterwards and she really didn’t have any idea what was going on.
‘When we gave her the scrapbook she was amazed! She thought it was a really personal present which she could look at again and again. It looked to the future and talked about all the fun we’d still have together. It didn’t cost much and it was fun to do. I would definitely do this again. I think most teenagers would be excited to receive something like this as a birthday gift.’