If there’s one thing toddlers can produce a lot of, it’s craft. Oh, and nappies, and broken nights and so on – but let’s stick with craft for now.  Most days, whether at nursery or home, Harry wields a paintbrush flamboyantly, producing a range of slightly sticky, partially recognisable masterpieces.  In the last month, we’ve made monkeys, Batman masks, easter chicks (we were a bit late with that one…) and neon flowers, as shown below.  As artist and his devoted mother, both Harry and I are very proud of these, but as they threaten to take over the house I’ve decided that action is called for, and have captured the best in a couple of simple projects which will mean we can clear some wall space and preserve them for a little while longer.

1. A Boxed Memory Game, or ‘Snap!’

Remember those memory games you played when you were really small where you had to take turns in flipping over cards until you found a pair?  For this one, I photographed a selection of Harry’s pictures and made two A7-sized copies of each, mounted the collection on card stock and decorated the backs of each to create a personalised memory game for Harry. A leftover box which had originally contained Christmas cards was the perfect container, so I added a picture of the full set on the front. Job done!  Detailed instructions at the bottom…

2. Thank-you Cards

For these, I photographed individual art projects and printed onto A5 matte photo paper (you could scan them rather than photo them if you prefer) to create flat correspondence cards to thank people on Harry’s behalf for birthday gifts, treats and general loveliness.  I then cropped the image and pasted it multiple times onto a .ppt slide in order to create a matching envelope liner. This works particularly well with black and white and bold primary colours – Harry’s batman mask worked a treat.

Making the memory game…

Materials:

  • A selection of artwork
  • Camera / scanner
  • Paper (to print onto) and card stock (to mount images onto for sturdiness)
  • Pens, glitter or other embellishments to decorate the reverse of each card
  • A storage box; individual cereal boxes, large matchboxes and playing card boxes are all a good size for this.

Firstly, take a picture (or scan) each piece of artwork. Download to your PC and add words if you want to; I chose to add alphabet tags, thinking that one day we may have a full set.  Then print off your images in duplicate; I arranged them in a contact sheet format and printed a large single sheet, but it doesn’t matter how you do it, as long as they’re the same size…

Cut up the individual images and mount on cardstock; they’re going to get a lot of wear and tear!

And finally decorate the reverse of each card – given the amount of time they spend face down in this game, it’s worth spending as much effort on the back as the front! I used monogram ‘h’ letters for Harry, and continued this theme on the front of the box…

We had a lot of fun with this! To play the memory game with very young children like Harry, turn over a single card each and keep it turned up; take it in turns to turn another one over until you find the pair; at this stage it’s more about recognition and being the first to scream ‘SNAP!!’.  When kids get a bit older, you can play it more traditionally, turning the cards back over every time and relying on memory.

Now I’ve got Harry’s artwork stored on my PC, there are lots of other options for display… what do you do with yours? All ideas very welcome!

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