Kids grow up fast and once that happens it happens, there’s no going back. You don’t get to rewind the tape. They are going to be adults for the majority of their lives and, in my opinion, the really interesting and entertaining stuff happens when they are young.
So how do we capture that? The obvious answer is in photos and video and these days that’s easier than ever and quality is incredible but what about other ways?
In this article I am going to outline some of my favorite ways to “freeze frame” your kids lives and growth and create something you can fondly look back on down the road.
Some of those things are:
1. Foot prints on wood with paint
2. Concrete foot or hand prints in custom garden pavers
3. Start an email for your kids
4. Take a picture taken once a year, same pose, same background.
5. Plant a tree the day they are born
Hand and Feet Prints in Paint
That’s all you will need for this..oh, and you’re kid. We chose to do a whole family kind of thing where all of us were on one board. The trick here is getting the right amount of paint onto the bottom of the foot or hand. We used a sponge which worked pretty well.
You don’t want so much that it slides and smears but too little and you won’t get a good, solid print. You may want to do a couple of practice prints first. I wish we had done more practice ones. The wood we used here is simply tongue and groove we had left over from a ceiling project. Not too expensive though at Lowes.
Footprint Stepping Stones
Speaking of hands and feet, how about creating your own custom garden path pavers with concrete? This is a great, tangible way to really immortalize your child in time.
You have a couple of options here. You have the DIY method which is popular and you have the kit method. This first one is from Amanda over at “A Crafted Passion” and she has a great tutorial with photos on how to pull off the DIY stepping stone with Quikcrete.
The other option is to get a kit. There’s a stepping stone kit on Amazon for less than $14 bucks. Not bad if you don’t want the hassle of collecting all the stuff you’ll need to do it.
One of the neat things you can do with this idea is to take it a little further and make it a yearly tradition by doing a footprint each year on the same date, like a birthday. Years later you will have a cool pathway through time, a real memory lane.
Start An Email for Them
Obviously on the less tangible side, an email allows you to write messages to who will be your adult children. When they are grown they can log in to the email on a lazy evening at home and just scroll through and have a chuckle at the memories, complete with photos, videos and stories.
Unfortunately, a lot of little stories and anecdotes get lost in obscurity but they don’t have to. Simply send it to their email. Photos on computers and hard drives (and even photo albums) are great but they have their limitations. My friend had his place broken into, hard drive stolen and pawned never to be seen again.
Personally, my external hard drive crashed and I had to attempt a restore with some software I bought but unfortunately many photos weren’t recoverable and those that were were restored with less quality (and I’m talking about new-baby-at-the-hospital photos). An of course, photo albums can get burned in a fire or ruined in a flood. Nothing is 100% safe but I would have to say that email is on the safer side.
Same photo and pose every year
I’m sure you may have come across this by now but its a thing you do on a yearly basis where you and your child (or children) pose for a picture in the same way with the same background every year. After years and years you will have a really cool timeline that will dramatically show the growth and development of your kids.
Its an easy thing to do and will yield really cool results.
Plant a Tree on the Day of Your Child’s Birth
Okay, maybe not the exact day of your child’s birth but you know, soon thereafter. Just as you watch your child’s growth so can you watch your tree’s growth. And so can they.
When they come home from school they can see how their tree is doing, when they come home from college they can see how their tree is doing and when they inherit the house after their parents have passed they can look at their tree and reflect on all the days and years that have passed and how that tree has remained a steady, albeit small, part of their life.
And there’s actually a company that you can buy a memorial tree for any occasion. Have a friend that’s giving birth soon? Send ’em over a tree to mark the occasion. You could even order a fruit tree to commemorate the birth of a child and get some free fruit for years to come!
BONUS: Creating Audio Files
What I’ve been doing with my kids is sitting them down every now and again in front of the computer with the headset on and just surfing the net or asking them questions to hopefully spur on some conversation and basically capture their voice as it is at that point.
Its hard to capture most of the one-liners that kids will periodically have at the dinner table with this method but its something. I try to ask them questions about whats going on in their lives currently or maybe get them to sing on of their songs from school. Its pretty quick and easy to do. You only really have about 5 minutes before they lose interest anyway!
Those were just a handful of ideas to hopefully inspire you to start an annual tradition that will pay dividends down the road. Don’t delay though because every day they get a little bit older!
Do you have any ideas worth sharing? Please comment below.