One of the very best gifts you can give to your child is a collection of happy childhood memories. To mark these special times and collect snapshots of life, family, and friends, try your hand at crafting the following homemade and heirloom gifts. Each one provides a simple and yet priceless way of giving the gift of good memories to your child.
When circumstances made arranging a large party for my son's first birthday too difficult, I found another way for friends and family to wish him their best while at the same time creating a keepsake I know we'll all treasure: a storytelling recording.
When friends from near and far come to visit, they choose a board book from our son's shelf and record themselves reading it. The result is a magnificent collection of our favorite stories read by our favorite people.
You can do this, too. A good old-fashioned tape recorder works well. If you have CD recording capabilities on a laptop or desk computer, or if you have a digital video recorder, you can create audio and video disks of books for wonderful keepsakes as well.
Our recordings are by no means perfect. My voice squeaks as I read The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and children chatter in the background, but these touches make it all the more special. My kids and I listen to the recordings as we make sandwiches, as we paint, as we go about our day. I find myself listening to the stories even after the children have left the room.
The ideas that follow will create lovely keepsakes for children celebrating birthdays and holidays, but they would also be welcomed by kids anticipating other transitions as well: moving to a new home, going to the hospital, or taking a long trip.
Make a Family Quilt
Send fabric squares to friends and family and encourage them to decorate one, or sew a quilt top and bring it with you to get-togethers. Decide ahead of time if you want your quilt to be washable or not and plan accordingly.
Non-washable quilts can be decorated with glue, felt, glitter, and all sorts of other decorative items; while washable quilts are generally restricted to designs which are sewn or drawn onto the material. Use fabric paint to make handprints on the cloth. Supply permanent markers and fabric pens and ask everyone to draw a picture, write messages, or simply sign their names.