By Robin Lundgren
As the end of another school year approaches, help kids showcase their fondest memories with a Memory Collage.
This easy project allows kids to define meaningful events in a creative way. Provide your child with photos, magazines and memorabilia to use for the collage. If your child chooses a family vacation photo, ask what makes it special. Then talk about your most memorable childhood vacation, as well as other cherished childhood memories. Children love hearing stories about when their parents were kids.
The finished collage will showcase your child’s most enjoyable memories.
Here’s what you need:
-Poster board or cardstock, any size.
-A selection of photographs from the previous year.
-Magazines, catalogs and cards
-Ticket stubs, programs, flyers or other memorabilia
-Stickers, markers, ribbons and other craft materials for decorating or labeling
Here’s what to do:
1. Provide your child with magazines, catalogs and greeting cards. Encourage her to cut out things that are a memory for her. (Ex: a picture of a birthday toy, an ad from a movie she saw, a card with her favorite animal). Encourage her to choose things that are important to her and tell something about who she is.
2. Lay out a selection of photos from the previous year. Have your child choose photos for his collage. Ask him why certain pictures are meaningful.
3. Have your child look through other memorabilia, choosing what she wants to include in her collage. Talk about why these things are important to her.
4. Give your child the poster board or cardstock. Have him lay out selected collage items on the poster. Let him know that he can overlap items if he wishes to create more of a true collage. When he is satisfied with his design, have him glue everything in place.
5. Offer your child craft materials so that she can decorate and label her collage.
6. Frame or laminate the final project, if desired
7. Hang the collage in your child’s room. The finished collage becomes artwork for her room, as well as a memory of the happy times she’s had!
This Helps Develop…
Cognitive skills – the mental process of knowing by developing awareness, perception and reasoning.
Memory recall skills and sequencing past events are practiced. Planning for the collage involves using spatial awareness skills to determine the best placement for items so that the outcome is visibly pleasing and uses the given space to its fullest potential.
Fine motor skills – the use of small muscle movements in the hands that occur in coordination with the eyes.
This activity includes so many opportunities to work on enhancing fine motor skills. Peeling stickers requires a pincer grasp. This can be difficult for young children who have not yet mastered isolation of their pointer finger and thumb. Gluing is a three step process which may require verbal reminders. (Ex. “Turn the picture over. Put glue on the back. Then turn over the picture and pat it down on its designated spot.”) Cutting with scissors can be a challenge. It requires the use of two hands independently of one another. The dominant hand opens/closes the scissors while guiding them. The other hand holds the paper and aids in the guiding process. Older children can further express their creativity by drawing pictures, writing captions next to the memorabilia and using other craft items to personalize their collage.
Language – the expressive ability to communicate ideas and needs, and the receptive ability to understand what is said or written.
This is a great way for young children to learn new vocabulary. Adults can facilitate discussions about pictures and objects used in the collage. Some children may only be able to point to objects. Others might be able to label what they see. Older kids get a chance to put their feelings about past experiences into words.
Social emotional development – involves a child’s feelings of self worth and confidence. Often families go on vacations or have family events and then move on to the next activity without reflecting on their experiences. This activity provides a natural way for kids to reveal their feelings. By having them choose their favorite pictures and memorabilia, a lot of insight can be gained as to what inspires them and makes them feel good. The results may be surprising. Their favorite memories may not be an expensive vacation, but an afternoon spent at the park having a picnic lunch. Whatever the case may be, this is an excellent way for children to reflect on who they are, what makes them happy and what they wish for their future.
Robin Lundgren is a writer and Vice President of Aquarian Entertainment.
Looking to experience Hand On Science activities right here in our own area? Visit www.TheChildrensScienceCenter.org,where you and your children can “Explore, Create, Inspire.” The Children’s Science Center (CSC) is committed to building a place where children can grow in their love of learning.