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Stories Of Summer : Passing On The Storytelling Legacy by Tami Morrison

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Summertime is the quintessential season for being a kid. Bare feet, water play, popsicles dripping vibrant stickiness…that’s the stuff fond childhood memories are made of. I can easily call to mind the summers of my youth spent creating secret hideouts with my brother, writing notes to each other in code, selling Kool-Aid on the corner, swimming until our skin shriveled, and playing freeze tag on the front lawn with the neighbor kids until the street lights came on. If pressed, I think I would have to admit that most of my favorite childhood memories were made in summertime, in the carefree expanse of my neighborhood and on an assortment of family vacation adventures.

Our backyard pool, circa 1975

When school is out and the possibility of fun lurks around every sunny corner, it’s the perfect time to hand off a camera and spy the world of summer through a youngster’s eyes. As scrapbookers, we already model the behavior of memory keeping for our children, in the same way we (hopefully!) model good manners, or healthy eating habits. Our kids know from our example that capturing snippets of our everyday experiences in words and pictures is important and valuable. This renders them ideally equipped to carry on our legacy of storytelling. For kids who have been raised observing an adult enthusiastically and purposefully recording the noteworthy moments, it’s not a matter of why tell their stories, but when, where, and in what form.

Page created by Taite at age 4; journaling dictated (and glued on upside down, which is totally okay!)

If we allow our children to participate in photographing and documenting the things that are meaningful to them – the significant routines, experiences, locations, favorites, and things that spark their curiosity – they stand to gain lifelong skills of awareness and gratitude. As a bonus, we get to include an additional layer to our collective family chronicles: the unique point of view of a child.

And that present-moment consciousness that we adults strive for in daily life, amongst the distractions of routine tasks and technology? It may just become second nature to our kids if they grow up attuned to it.

Page created by Reece at age 10

Kids are naturally inquisitive and creative. Helping them become lifelong storytellers is as simple as offering them a camera (even the disposable kind will do), some supplies from the scrap pile, and the space and encouragement to express themselves.

Reader Michelle Holcomb put together a lovely post on her blog about creating summer journals for your kids that fits nicely with Tami's thoughts for today. See Michelle's journals here.

A scrapbook is a good starting point, and can be as minimal as an inexpensive binder and page protectors from the office supply store. What youngsters may lack in refined design theory they will more than make up for with their candid, kid’s-eye-view perspective. Of course, traditional scrapbooking isn’t the only story-capturing medium, and depending on the child’s age and abilities, a notebook, art journal, blog, digital scrapbooking program, or online photo-sharing account can all fit the bill.

In the long, aimless days of summer, all things are possible to a child. Let’s help our kids freeze this magical time in their own stories and photos, so they can look back and remember…and so they can learn to always appreciate, honor, and record the magic in their lives as it happens.


ABOUT TAMI : Tami Morrison is a mom of four, an instructor at Big Picture Scrapbooking, a member of the Ella Friends team at Ella Publishing, the “Funnest Scrapbooker Ever” (according to Simple Scrapbooks Magazine) and a big fan of color, curiosity, cool containers, clever packaging, and stationery products of pretty much any kind. She considers herself one of the real housewives of Orange County, CA, where she stays chronically busy and one step behind the housekeeping at all times. She scrapbooks to stay mindful of the stuff that matters, and to celebrate the fun things in life.

Tami’s newest workshop at Big Picture Scrapbooking, Kidding Around, is open for registration now. It’s a great way to share the memory-keeping lifestyle with kids of all ages, while keeping them busy with plenty of fun and memorable summer activities.
Class begins July 8.

Tami blogs at http://bcre8uv.typepad.com and tweets at http://twitter.com/bcre8uv.

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9 thoughts

  1. dawn says…

    I enjoyed reading about storytelling. My kids love to scrapbook and have so many albums that we are running out of room of where to store them. Between the albums I make them and the ones they make it's going to take a uhaul to help carry them to college or their first homes. They love taking pictures also tons of just the simple things in life. Thank you for another great idea.

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  2. Holly S says…

    I love this idea of premaking a book for children and including a camera! My own child is 20 and lives away from home but my nephew comes and stays with my husband and I for a month every summer-he is 8 and I think he'd love to document his trip with us! Thanks for the idea!

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  3. Monika Wright says…

    I love that your kids create pages...mine always seem to get frustrated before the end of the process! I will try again this Summer, they're a little older and have their own cameras now.

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  4. {vicki} says…

    Love the layouts created by the kiddos!!!

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  5. tania smith says…

    I like to see what children will take photos of when given a disposable camera. I think it's a wonderful exercise in exploring. Good summer project to get them busy scrappin' thier summer and recording thier own thoughts. Great summer inspiration! Thank you!

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  6. annette says…

    Loving this series.....Giving me some ideas to get my family involved in the memories we are making. Thanks and enjoy the summer....

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  7. TracyBzz says…

    Tami - great post and see you in class :)

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  8. Michele H. says…

    I feel so passionate about making sure my kids document the things they love about this season. This is wonderful Tammy!
    Thanks Ali for featuring my girls' journals!!!

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  9. bcre8uv says…

    Thanks for all the great comments, everyone! :)

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