Endless Summer Projects: Memoir Boxes

Hi y'all!

It's time once again to offer you some fresh ideas on how to craft the summer away with your kiddos, and today I have a great rainy day project to engage the whole family. I hope you've been creating along with us and following the other amazing mamas: Alexandra, Melissa, and Jen (put Bloglovin' or Feedly to work and keep up to date with these go getters).

Have you ever returned from vacation or a great outing and wished that you could capture the entire experience? The why didn't I take some video? The I should have written down some of our favorite memories?

Let's write a memoir. Too daunting? Clear your head of the anthology, giant biography kind of dust collector and envision more of a memory collector, short and sweet. A friend and fellow teacher opened up my eyes to the beauty of memoir for capturing our children's stories (and I'm so glad she did!). And you can do it, too, through six simple, well chosen, words. Need some ideas for what I mean? Check out these great examples from Tara and this awesome collection of six-word memoirs.

Our first step was to narrow in on the topic. We chose our summer...so far. I asked my three kiddos (ages 8, 6, and 3) to think about all the activities, trips, and experiences we've had thus this summer. We talked as a group initially so that even my littlest could get some ideas of happenings before snacktime today. :)

For my oldest, she could and did write a whole list of everything she enjoyed and filled half a page with sketches and writing. My 5-year old wrote two large sentences, and we talked through a few more ideas as I wrote down some additional words to describe her favorites.

And my youngest and I sat down and drew pictures together of what made him smile about summer. He drew some elements, and I helped with more difficult concepts. See our masterpiece below with one of our butterflies, some squirt tubes, his new bicycle, and a castle.

No matter the skill level, everyone can find a way to enter into the idea gathering. Adapt for what's best suited for each family member.

Once you have ideas down, select 1-5 favorites. This was super tough for my crew, but with a little encouragement and prodding, we were able to find the best.

Here's the challenge! You now have a page of ideas from which to choose...but which ones do you capture? For us and our memories of summer, we decided we didn't need to be comprehensive but focus on moments that we will remember long after summer is gone.

This process was easiest for the youngest. He knew right away what he wanted, and all I had to do was make sure he could count 1-6 and confirm his final writing. My younger daughter needed some help with adjectives to add some interest to her list, but she got into the idea of playing with limited words and giggled through her version of cheerleading accomplishments that turned into "jumping marshmallows." And my oldest decided to go much more with a list with details coming only for her very favorite experience.

Once you have your memoirs written, the accordion book and box will be an easy way to store these treasures.

Find a box that you can use or re-use. We upcycled a brie cheese container and used it mostly because we all loved the circular shape. Each child added some color to the interior and exterior of the box as well.

For the pages of the accordion, I folded cardstock. Each writer used only the right side of the folded card, and we glued the left sides of each under the written-on right sides from another piece to make one long chain of words.

Once the glue dried, I refolded the chain to a back-and-forth accordion fold. I added an extra card on each end so that the expanse of book was a bit wider.

With the folded accordion now assembled, I glued the first and last flap to the insides of the box lid and base.

We added our title on the back as a sneaky way to display the project, without anyone else seeing our special memories.

And when we're ready to store our memories away, we have a great little box fllled with magic to hold them all.

Happy writing and crafting, friends! Don't forget to tag your projects with #endlesssummerprojects and come on back next week for the delightful Jen and her latest project (btw, head over to Camp Classic Play when you're done here. Lots of great ideas!!)

xoxo, MJ

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