Attention, families: We have the perfect activity for a rainy day or to get into the holiday spirit. Help your kiddo curate and customize a personalized scrapbook he’ll love receiving in the mail and holding in his hands—or handing off as a homemade present! Here, some pro tips for making the whole thing fun and easy for a child, so that Chatbook-making night is a total treat.
Choose your Chatbook.
If the resulting personalized scrapbook will be a gift for someone else, you’re in luck—Chatbooks has loads of beautiful holiday-themed designs and templates. Ashlee Chappell, a Chatbooks Troop member and mom of two, says her kids especially love the adorable Dallas Clayton-designed holiday book. It’s filled with cute illustrations, cool prompts, and spots where children can write and draw right into the physical book on the spaces provided.
Start with photos your kid already loves.
There’s a 100 percent chance your kid is really into something: cars, flowers, bugs, the color pink, whatever. Unsurprisingly, she’s going to have a ball turning photos centered on that theme into her very own Chatbook. “My son loves trucks and tractors—he lives for anything on wheels,” Chappell says. “Sometimes we just have to drive around town looking for garbage truck after garbage truck! When he’s old enough, I would love for him to take pictures of his favorites and throw them in a Chatbook for him to look at before bed.”
Let your visionary write the captions!
Much of the fun and creativity of creating a Chatbook comes from playing author and adding captions to the photos. If your kid is too young to write out the text on your phone, you can still brainstorm together or write down her quotes. “My daughter made a Chatbook for her best friend and cousin, Mae,” Chappell says, “and she especially loved making up captions for the photos of when they were babies. One read, ‘Mae is trying to eat a Lego. But you can’t eat Legos!’ This is when she was three—she’s much more brilliant and funny now!”
Put your mini photo editor in charge of photo placement…
Deciding which photos go where is a fun part of the process for kids. Maybe your budding art director will place two totally silly photos next to each other, or she’ll line them up so that two photos that happen to look like mirror images, or that feature the same bright color, sit across from each other. Templated books, which come with some suggested captions, make this especially fun, says Chappell, whose daughter helped lay out another Dallas Clayton-designed book for Father’s Day. “She loved that she could put a picture of her and her daddy staring at the sky next to a quote that said, ‘I love you bigger than space.’ And she put one picture of her and her brother with stone-cold faces next to a quote that says, ‘Thanks for being my dad even when it’s difficult.’”
…or even let her take the photos!
If your kid is old enough to wield a digital camera (or smartphone), ask her to be the resident photographer of an event you’d like to Chatbook-ize — or start with images that are already in her camera roll. She’ll definitely feel more excited about seeing pictures in print if she’s the photographer behind them! “I can’t wait until my kids get older and are able to take pictures with my help,” Chappell says. For more tips on helping your kids get comfortable behind a camera, check out these smart ideas from Digital Photography School.