With each year that passes, I stand in awe at all that my boys accomplish.  I guess what they say is true – time flies when you’re having fun!  At each birthday, though, I want to stop time, take a moment and relish the experience of my child right then, right there.  While that isn’t possible, it is quite easy to “freeze frame” the memory into something tangible.

Here are several ideas to hold on to those precious, fleeting moments as your child grows up.  These are adaptable at any age and are a great way to remember these amazing years.

  • Make a stepping stone.  Stepping stones are quite easy to create.  Craft stores usually sell kits to create one, or you can gather the materials yourself to make your own.  Use either a disposable baking pan (such as a 9 inch square aluminum pan) or, if you want a round stone, use a saucer for a large flower pot (we’ve done this one!).  Purchase a bag of quick-set cement, mix up a batch and pour it in the pan.  After it starts to set, have your child press his or her hands or feet into the cement.  You can decorate it with rocks, colored stones or other objects.  Be sure to use a stick to write the year in the stone as well.
  • Design your own plate – there are some inexpensive kits available for creating a unique design.  My boys have “birthday plates” they created and use on their special day.  Try Plate Works Design Your Own Plate or, for a twist on this idea, why not create a wall clock?
  • Preserve those special birthday cards by creating a unique placemat for your child.  Take a piece of poster board, cut it to an appropriate size for a placemat, and glue special cards to the posterboard.  Cover the entire creation in contact paper to protect it from spills.  Imagine the fun of looking back at neat cards and notes received on birthdays past!
  • Use a kit, such as My Photostory, to chronicle the past year in photos.  This is an awesome tool for preserving those special moments from the past year.  Once the book is completed, it is sent off for production and mailed back in a bound, archival-quality product.  This is a wonderful idea for those milestones, such as the first birthday, turning thirteen, turning eighteen…
  • Create other projects to mark the occasion, such as mugs, wristwatches or a painting.  Another great kit is a calendar kit.  Use a picture or a drawing from each month of the past year to create a special birthday edition calendar for the following year.  Or, use the calendar to record special events from the past year.

Birthdays are a wonderful time to reflect on the amazing growth our children go through.  Marking it with a tangible reminder is a wonderful gift to you and your child!