Free-for-All Friday: Scrapbooking with Kids

by Lain Ehmann on July 29, 2011

I’ve decided to make Friday a free-for-all. Who knows what you might find: Links to my fave non-scrappy products, a glimpse into my “outer” world, a card idea, stamping… you’ll just have to tune in to find out!

So, even though my little one has her playroom right next to the Little Green Scrapbook Room, more often than not, you can find her firmly ensconced in here with me. I guess a wall is too great a distance! I’m not knocking it — I enjoy her WANTING to be near me. Most of the time. :)

But often she’s not content to just sit and play with her Groovy Girls or watch a movie. She wants to be doing what Mom’s doing — and can I blame her? Scrapbooking is fun. And scrapbooking with kids is fun.

There are times, though, when I don’t want her playing with my super-sharp scissors (um, NEVER) or messing with my $2-a-sheet flocked patterned paper (DITTO!). So I have put together a list of a dozen things your kids can “help” you with. These are things that will entertain them and also contribute to your overall scrapbooking experience and productivity. In other words, it’s not just busywork.

Scrapbooking with kids can be fun, productive, and stress-free. Most of the time!

Scrapbooking with Kids: Keeping Them Busy

1. Punch circles, hearts, butterflies, or other shapes you use commonly. Seriously, when I see something like this I know the only way it would happen is if I had some help. Even if you don’t have a project in mind, give them a stack of patterned paper and cardstock scraps and put them to work. You’ll use those punches eventually! (P.S. My favorite butterfly punch is here.)

2. Journal. Get their thoughts on the scrapbook page in their own handwriting. Set them down at the table with age-appropriate supplies and give them a topic to write about. Some of my most cherished pages are ones my kids contributed to!

3. Pre-trim pages. If you scrapbook 8.5×11, you know that most patterned papers and cardstock come in 12×12 size. You can set an older child to trimming down your paper to the correct size. (Note: You may not want to do this with ALL of your paper, of course, but even having a small stash of pre-trimmed paper on-hand can speed up your scrapbooking).

4. Sort scraps. My little one loves sorting. And sorting by color — wow! She’s an ace at making color-coded piles of patterned paper and cardstock (and she works cheap if you’re interested).

5. File layouts. I often end up with piles of unfiled layouts lying around. Getting my kids to put them in the right binders and albums is a big help. And they get a kick out of deciding if something should be “All About Us” or “Places We Go.”

6. Conduct interviews. Getting other people’s perspectives on the stories you’re capturing is a huge benefit and a great way to round out your albums. Send your kids to interview family members in person or by phone. You’ll get a kick out of the questions they ask, and the answers they receive! (P.S. I use this call recorder on Skype to record conversations quickly and easily).

7. Take pictures. What kid doesn’t love to shoot some shots? And with the advent of digital photos and online processing, it costs nothing to let them shoot away, and only pennies to get their photos developed. Hesitant to hand over your $700 DSLR? Give them your phone, or buy them their own digital camera for under $40. It’s a fun way to raise a future scrapbooker — or photographer. (And you may even get in a picture or two!)

8. Mat photos. Older kids can do a great job of matting photos for you. Tell them what color and size, and send them on their way. (One word of caution: Kids old enough to do this properly may not find it fun. All the same, it makes a great punishment. “Joey! I told you, if you didn’t clean up your room you were going to have to help me make Grandma’s 70th birthday album! Get to the scraproom, now!”)

9. Make a list of page ideas. My kids regularly tell me what pages I am missing, from the time they burped in the bank line last week to the time I drove through the EZPass booth at the turnpike and got a $50 ticket (true story!). Yes, these aren’t necessarily the pages *I* would create, but that’s what makes them so fun.

10. Put photos in albums. I take and develop lots of pictures — more than I’ll ever scrapbook. That’s why in addition to my family scrapbook albums, I have photo albums where photos are stored, unadorned, by chronology. Filing these photos is a chore for me, but it’s kind of fun for the girls. They get to reminisce and sit next to me while working.

11. Put stuff away. I don’t know what it is, but Callie loves cleaning. She begged me to get a can of New Kaboom Foamtastic last month, and I’ve never seen our sinks cleaner. She also likes sweeping, Swiffering, and putting away my stamps and tools. I regularly enlist her to keep things looking good around here.

12. Clean stamps. She also loves to clean stamps. Yes, she goes through way more stamp cleaner than I do, but I’m not known for getting them spick-and-span. It’s a small price to pay!

**BONUS #13. Of course, the best thing to do is to get your kids scrapbooking alongside you. Give them their own tools and supplies, and let them capture the stories they want to tell. There’s no better time to teach them about the joys of scrapbooking than RIGHT NOW. The pages they create — whether they’re 4, 14, or 24, will be memories you’ll cherish.

P.S. If you want more great ideas about involving your kids in your paper crafting and scrapbooking, check out this fun book: Scrapbooking With Your Kids (Leisure Arts #4293) (Creating Keepsakes) by the adorable CD Muckosky!

  • Sheri

    Love the ideas! Unfortunately for me getting a 17 year old boy to do any of that would be like pulling teeth. But, I will look at the bright side, while he won’t scrapbook he wants to go with me to the next Copic class I take. He is in Graphic Design at school and likes Manga so he thinks that they are one thing cool in my pink girly room.

  • Anonymous

    You should definitely bribe him to do some journaling for you! PRICELESS! :) Or take photos…

  • Rene

    These are some fabulous ideas!
    I’ve scrapped with my niece and she has so many cute ideas. Now I know how to keep the little sister busy.

  • Anonymous

    Glad you liked it! :)

  • Ali

    What a GREAT article Lain. Thanks!

  • Anonymous

    Glad you liked it! :)

  • Nikwai Noble

    These are fantastic ideas.  My daughter is about to be 2, so she has some limitations, but I have found that putting a table she can use in the room with me gives me about 10 more minutes that I would have had if she couldn’t be involved at all.  I have even taken the mirror off my vanity and turned it into a desk for her so we can have Mommy-Daughter craft time.  She loves to color and get into my tools, paints, crayons (yes I have my own set), markers, paintbrushes, knitting needles, and yarn…I figured it is time for her to have her own personal space.  I recently bought a pair of safety scissors to put on her desk once the boxes get unpacked.  I plan to give her one of my tool caddies also.  There is no time like the present to get her interested and keep her interested in what I do.  Bonus:  She and others think I am a wonderful mother and very patient.  Reality:  It’s the only way to do what I like and keep her happy too. (devilish grin inserted here)

  • Jane

    This brought back a memory – some years ago I came home to find my daughter happily cutting out corrugated cardboard from a box for a school project – nothing wrong with that except she was doing it with my lovely sharp $30 scissors kept especially for fabric cutting – needless to say they were never the same again.

  • Beth

    What wonderful ideas. My little one is definitely old enough to sort my scrap paper for me and she loves to clean my stamps for me.

  • Jeanne

    Great ideas! My girls love my craft supplies! Regarding #10, what photo albums do you use? Thanks!

  • KathyMac

    My 5-year-old granddaughter is making a “happy card” at her table next to me right now — using her own stamps and stickers and borrowing my stamps and Copic and Tombow markers. I LOVE your ideas, and I especially want my older ones (9 and 11) to do some journaling for the pages about their birthdays…..

  • ScrappySue

    Cute, Lain! I have twin 5 yr old granddaughters that love my craft area. They are even good at using my Cricut Expression and making their own 3D objects. I have even asked them to find me a shape and cut it for me. I haven’t had them mat photos yet, but what a good idea! Could you share what trimmer you use or recommend? Probably safer than my guillotine one. Love your improvs (on replay), but I’ll join live someday!!

  • Kelli Panique

    Hi ScrappySue! This is Kelli, Lain’s assistant. You can find her product picks for straight trimmers and other items here:

  • Anna Bradshaw

    My girls have literally been scrapping since birth because of many if these great ideas, Lain. I’ve found giving them a basket with their own tools? Papers etc and letting them choose a photo from my “not going in the album” pile almost always creates a treasure worthy of keeping. These make great gifts though too!

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