Hello readers! I am happy to welcome back a good friend of mine and owner of Sticky Bellies as our guest blogger. She is here to share her creativity with us. Thanks for stopping by Carly!
Of all of our inventions for mass communication, pictures still speak the most universally understood language.
“ Walt Disney
Think back on your childhood. Which memories stand out most in your mind? A family trip? A silly Halloween costume? A birthday celebration? Psychologists know that the earliest recollection of our childhood goes back no further than our third birthday, with only a handful of memories available between the ages of 3 and 7. But, they also acknowledge that vivid memories can be triggered by family photos. Chances are, the special moment you remember is one that your parents photographed and shared with you. Your family photographs are the creation of your family memory, your family history, your family legacy.
Enter 2012, a digital age where parents can take pictures anywhere, anytime, with cell phones, iPads or cameras small enough to fit in the palm of their hands. They can snap 100 pictures without ever having to worry about wasting film or paying to have poor quality pictures developed at the local drugstore. Capturing every precious moment is simple, convenient and fun.
The new challenge that parents face is what to do with all of these wonderful pictures. Capturing more and more of our baby’s milestones and documenting our lives in a way our ancestors never imagined brings the problem of image overload. The result is often computer hard drives full of images that are never displayed, shared or enjoyed. Let’s do something about that!
I created Sticky Bellies Milestone Stickers as a way of helping parents tackle image-overload and assure that they would have at least one photo each month that was cute, easy and convenient. By simply peeling off the monthly milestone sticker, sticking it to a shirt, and snapping a picture, parents are left with a month-by-month story of their child’s growth. As a result of the passion I have for my own product and company, I’ve become increasingly interested in other fun and creative ways for families to celebrate life through photographs.
Here are a few of my favorites:
Sharing and Displaying Your Photos
I love anything that makes my life easier, so Smilebox is definitely one of my faves when it comes to photo creations. At Smilebox.com, you can create simple slideshows of your favorite pics, set to music and ready to share with the world (or just your family) via e-mail, Facebook, DVD, etc. I have one friend who makes a personalized thank you card for each attendee at her daughter’s birthday each year with a pic of her daughter and the child who attended the party. She can easily e-mail them out to each person, allowing for a personalized touch and a thank you card that is worth a thousand words!
When you’re feeling overwhelmed with the number of pictures you have, and one picture is cuter than the next, consider creating a collage! If you’re just a tad tech-savvy, you can do this yourself using photo-editing software try Picnik it’s free until April 19!) or you can pay to have someone like Brooke Bryand create a beautiful one for you. I love these because you get the most bang for your buck in terms of sharing a large number of pictures in a simplified way!
Anyone who has ever received a card from me knows that I love including our favorite photos on cards and invitations. If you can make something just tad more personalized, why not? Shutterfly is one of my favorite sites for this, as they are always running deals where I can pick up ten free cards or free matching address labels. I love these 1st Birthday Party invitations that allow parents to feature one photo from each month of baby’s first year. Combine with Sticky Bellies’ monthly onesie stickers and you’ve got yourself one cute invitation!
Games/Activities for Kids
In addition to displaying your photos and sharing them with others, creating fun activities for your child with your own photographs is a sure fire way to keep them engaged and excited! At a very early age, babies begin to recognize the distinct facial features of those they love and supporting this developing skill through your own creations is a great idea.
I love this simple idea from the Impress Your Kids blog. It’s been on my own to-do list for a while now and I know my daughter will love it. Simple add family pics to popsicle sticks, cut them apart, and¦voila!
Simple, homemade puzzles that are sure to bring a smile to any child’s face!
5. Family Magnets
Before beginning Sticky Bellies, I was a first grade teacher for seven years. In my classroom, I loved to use pictures of my students as much as possible, and one of the first things I did that first week of school was make a photo magnet for each student. These became an indispensible tool throughout the year “ for taking lunch count, storytelling, creating groups¦you name it! I was so thrilled when I saw this blog post from Happy Home Fairy, which reminded me that I could easily transfer what I did with my students in my classroom to fun at home with my family! Check out the adorable family magnets she made and how she also used them for Candyland pieces! (Photo courtesy of Happy Home Fairy)
6. Photo Fun Faces
Here’s another great idea to make your child’s pictures into a fun game from one of my favorite blogs “ Play at Home Mom What kid wouldn’t absolutely love drawing silly accessories onto their own face, or those of their beloved family members? Actually this is one that I think my husband and I might enjoy even more than our daughter! HA! (Photo courtesy of Play at Home Mom)
7. Your Very Own Story Books
One of my favorite things to do with our family pictures, is to create very simple storybooks for my daughter. I keep them very simple to she can memorize them easily, and include only one or two pictures on a page. For Father’s Day, I created one called Avery and Daddy. Each page had a photo of my husband and daughter doing something together with one sentence in large font reading Avery and Daddy like to ________. Each sentence matched the picture. This is one of her favorite books to read as it’s personal and gives her a sense of accomplishment that she can read it herself.
Shutterfly is a great place to create these books, especially since they frequently offer their photobooks at 40-50% off. We love the square 8×8 books with the padded cover. They are tough and durable as well as the perfect size for little hands.
For Cell Phone Photography:
I love that no matter where you are, you can always snap a quick pic with your cell phone, even if you didn’t bring your good camera or assumed there wouldn’t be any photo-worthy moments. For those of you using the Instagram app on your IPhone, I discovered a fun article on Mashable that shares some cool products you can create with your Instagram pics. Sometimes those cell phone pics are your best ones because they are totally unplanned and candid.
8. Red Stamp
Another one of my cell phone favorites is Red Stamp. With this app for your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch, you can make all kinds of photo creations right from your mobile device. Their designs are fresh, modern and fun and don’t require any advanced techie skills to make the magic happen. This is definitely one to check out “ I don’t think I can do it justice in a short written description!
There are a million ways to share, display and cherish those gorgeous family pictures we all have. This is just a small sampling of the amazing resources we have at our disposal as parent-paparazzi! What’s your favorite thing to do with your photos? Have you found something fabulous that you could share with other readers? Do tell!