Monday, January 23, 2006

Challenge Kids to Photograph their Favorites

By Christina VanGinkel

I have challenged my kids to bring me photographs to scrap of some of their favorite things. I told them that they could take photos of anything, including people, but that I really wanted them to document some of the everyday things they love. I had the idea when I was going through some new photographs that had been taken over the past several months. I found several I wanted to use in my scrapbooks, but one picture in particular really caught my attention. It was a photo of my youngest son playing a video game with his nephew. I had snapped the picture from behind and it mostly highlighted the game console and the screen of the television. I thought it was one of the coolest photographs to turn into a scrapbook layout of his love of playing video games.

Too often, when I scrap photos, I sometimes think that I am missing something, some element that would improve the layout dimensionally. Upon seeing this photo, I realized what it was. In the future, when my kids look back at the albums I have created, they are going to see many wonderful photos of each other, and combined with journaling, I am sure they will enjoy having these keepsakes of their childhoods. However, a photo like this one I was sure, would be much more interesting for my son to look back on years from now. I can almost hear him exclaiming to one of his own kids in the future, that look, Dad played video games, and the game was such and such a title, and to win it you had to do this. In addition, on this particular day, your cousin was over, and he wanted to help me play the game, and even though he was only two years old, I let him try the controls, he was giggling, and he thought it was the coolest thing when the car crashed and he never even made it to the finish.

I took this photo, went ahead and snapped a couple more close-ups of my own of his game console, and his several shelves of games, added a snapshot of his video chair and his television, and then made up a list of questions that I used to interview my son about his gaming, and turned it all into a layout. I can honestly say that he thought the completed pages were awesome (his words), and that he thought it would be cool to look back years from now and recall which his favorites were. With this page as an example, I thought up the challenge for my kids to capture some of their own favorites. Of course, my youngest son told me I already did his, but I told him that was not going to work, and that he always had so many favorite things and tasks, that he better get going and document some of them.

I can tell you that I was pleased with the results. I was brought back so many interesting photographs; I had to tell them to stop! None of them agreed, and they informed me I started it, so I would have to figure out how to deal with all the layouts. Let us just say that I have enough scrapbook layouts to work on that I could potentially be busy just with this project for the next year!

If you are in a slump with your layouts, or are just looking for something a bit different, have a go at this concept. My biggest hurdle in actuality was coming up with the questions to ask each of them about some of their favorites. I had intended to include a sort of Q & A format with the layouts. One idea that I did come up with to work around this, was to tell them that I would appreciate it if they would just journal on their own about some of the photos. They could write down anything they wanted, as much or as little as they could, to remind themselves years from now why a subject was a favorite. I also made the decision to put each child's into their own album, as they came up with so many, that fitting them into other scrapbooks just does not seem right. This will provide them with the opportunity to add to their list of favorites for years to come.

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