By Christina VanGinkel
If you have documented your child's life through words and pictures in scrapbooks, and now that child is headed off to college, you might be mourning not only the loss of time spent with your child, but also loss of a subject! No, you cannot follow them to the dorms to become staff photographer, but you can use this as an opportunity to introduce your side of scrapping to your college bound child.
Make sure that they are prepared for everything college sends their way by sending them off prepared to scrapbook the big and small events that will make up their lives for the next couple of months, even years. Put together a scrapbook kit just for them to take along to school. Depending on their aptitude when it comes to projects such as scrapping, a kit might be as generic as an album and assorted papers and embellishments, or as detailed as an assembled album just waiting for your student to add photos and maybe a bit of journaling here and there. If you have a few favorite tools that you always find yourself using, include a few duplicates for their use. Scissors, a few stamps with designs that will blend with their new lifestyle, maybe a couple of punches, both hole and corners. A paper cutter and a few essential markers can round out the supplies nicely. Do not forget a few different adhesives, maybe even a small Xyron sticker maker and a heat gun if you think they will use them.
Consider the school they will be going to and any extra curricula activities they will be involved in when choosing supplies too. If football, cheerleading, band, or the deep study of one subject when compared to others is going to be a part of their agenda, consider these factors when choosing supplies. If their main social activities will be centered on the school itself, be sure to add in some papers and supplies with the school colors as a central theme.
Along with the scrapbook and extras, be certain to include what is sure to be one of their favorite going away gifts, a new digital camera, and a photo printer that will work directly with the camera as a docking station. If budget is important, choosing a printer that can be easily plugged into their computer at school might be the way to go in place of a printer docking station as they are often much cheaper. Be sure to include several extra cartridges of ink also.
The easier you make it for them to snap and print photos, the more apt they will be to use the camera and supplies. Prices have becoming increasingly affordable on digital cameras, so do not feel as if you must add hundreds of dollars to a budget that is probably already stretched to the limit just paying their first tuition installments and buying books. Many brands and models of digital cameras that will produce a decent 4 x 6 photo are available for less than one hundred dollars. Forego extras such a big zooms and large memory cards and keep with the basics. Photo printers can also be purchased for deeply discounted prices when compared to what they cost just a year or two ago. Shop for a bundled camera and printer dock if ease of use is more important than cost, so students will no be put off by a few extra steps to print their shots. Kodak offers several bundles, including a couple aimed directly at the back to school crowd. For around five hundred dollars, you can bundle the Kodak Easy Share Z612 Zoom Digital Camera with a printer dock, an expanded memory card, camera bag, printer bag, extra battery, and a paper kit or tripod.
If all is successful, your college student will document their days at college and share some of the memories with you with a token photo and story now and then. With a digital camera, your student will be able to easily send you copies of photos via the Internet or email so that you can keep up with your own scrapbooking time too. This way, everyone benefits! Years from now, when they look back at their scrapbook(s) of memories from their days at college, they will be incredibly grateful that you took the time to help them document such an important time of their lives.