Documenting Childhood Memories
Your baby’s early years are full of can’t-miss moments. You could fill volumes of scrapbooks with snapshots that will embarrass your child in approximately 18 years. Or, you can get a little creative and document your kid’s childhood memories in other (equally embarrassing) ways. With the advent of digital technology, it’s now easier than ever to take quality photos, videos and audio recordings that create a fuller memory for the future.
Take a look at this beautiful time lapse video created by Dutch filmmaker Frans Hofmeester who filmed his daughter Lotte once a week, from when she was a newborn in 1999 until she was a 14-year-old. Even if you’re not quite the filmmaker Frans is, there are other fun ways to capture those fleeting childhood moments.
Photo shoot around a theme: It doesn’t have to be anything fancy—look around your house for inspiration. A few pots and pans, and you’re all set for a baby chef photo. We suggest using a sewing kit (minus the needles); let your kid loose with a box of colourful threads, and something adorable has to come out of it. A library theme, where your kid leafs through a large, messy pile of books, makes for a good photo as well. Each year, haul out the same or similar household supplies and watch how it unfolds differently as your kid matures. Chances are you won’t need to stage this—just be ready with your camera. You can add a little color to the memory by jotting down some notes on what happened that year while you were shooting.
Record a favourite song: A little baby voice is music to the ears, especially if you listen to it when the singer is all grown up. Make sure to pick a song your child really loves, and the enthusiasm will soar across the audio. Most smartphones have decent audio recorders; start yours up and let out your inner Julie Andrews in a duet. Don’t be overly concerned about multiple takes to get it right; remember, this should be as much fun to make as it is to listen to years later. Just make sure to back up the audio clip so you don’t lose it when your kid drops your phone in the toilet.
Make a collage of your child’s art: Watching your child pick up a crayon or a brush and discover the wonder of creating something is really fun. And while most kids are not churning out masterpieces, their doodles are still lovely testimonies to the uninhibited nature of childhood expression. Over the years, pick out your favourite pieces and make them into one large collage like this.
Frame footprints or handprints: Who doesn’t love comparing grown hands and feet with impressions of the tiny hands and feet that used to be? You might enjoy this more than your kids, but it’s a great idea nonetheless. Try this polymer clay (it lasts longer than salt dough), or simply step in paint, then on a piece of white paper. Frame it, and create an instant, lasting record of how small your kid once was—no matter how big he or she gets. (Pro tip: It’s also a great gift for grandparents.)
Save a shoe from every year: This might take up a lot of space and we don’t recommend it for anyone who can’t stand clutter. But if you can manage to keep them nicely displayed, they make for a little museum exhibit of your child’s growth. Imagine a row of shoes arranged in ascending order of length in a glass cabinet. The only drawback: this doesn’t work for anyone who’s planning on recycling those shoes for a younger sibling.
You don’t need to be an ace photographer or filmmaker to capture those memorable moments of your kid’s childhood. Just record when something interesting is happening, put in some time to collate those recordings, and make sure to back up your files obsessively!