My family isn't counting the days, weeks or even the months anymore, but we are counting the memories.
What began as a couple of weeks holed up at home could have morphed into a lost year. Instead, we chose to begin each day with the question, What memories are we creating today? Capturing those memories—both joyous and challenging—has become central to our daily lives. Here are some easy ways you can help your kids record feelings and milestones surrounding a most unusual year.
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Inspired by a school assignment, our children began filling out and coloring in printables related to the new normal. We decided to supplement these with our own pages—including handprints and comic strips—with the ultimate goal of printing a hardcover book.
Allowing youngsters to express their view of a pandemic world through art is helpful in gauging their understanding and how they’re feeling. My youngest daughter, an aspiring doctor, made a detailed image of a Covid-19 patient and a truly creative series of virus watercolors.
To preserve three-dimensional pieces, creating a memory box makes for another interactive project. Adding rocks painted with messages of hope or magazines exploring issues of the day, such as Time for Kids or National Geographic, will be interesting for years to come.
Or how about creating a time capsule for the next generation to find? Including a newspaper seems like a no-brainer, but ask your kids what else might convey our lives today. A face mask? A popular toy? A recent book? Let their imaginations get to work.
Children can also be encouraged to create their own newspapers. Explaining that we’re living through history really brings home the momentousness of the current situation. Task them with becoming reporters or bloggers and charge them with noting what is happening right now.
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Budding movie producers can capture these memories in video format. Immediate family members can be interviewed in person, while Zoom or FaceTime can be used to connect with folks in other parts of the country or world for a broader perspective. How do their experiences differ? How are we all the same?
If this year were a movie, what would it be called? Who would be the main characters and who would be the stars? Summarizing 2020 in poster format is another creative way to encourage reflection and put the year into a visual format.
Poetry and song
Of course, memories can also be captured lyrically. There are many different types of poetry youngsters can try their hand at, with free verse or narrative well suited to individual expression. Alternately, given a few musical instruments, kids will quickly develop their own songs.
While there is so much of this year we may choose to forget, for our children these are the days they’re witnessing significant history, and as such are worth remembering. Capturing some of these memories in a way that works for your family acts as a counterbalance to the aimless drifting of 2020. It can even bring some hope during an uncertain year.