Make a Scrapbook for Your Grandkids

Gifts from the heart matter the most, especially when they come from Grandma or Grandpa. If a grandchild is special to you, put your heart into showing it by creating a scrapbook. With just a small blank book, photos and other mementos, you can make a mini-album that records and celebrates your love for your grandchild.

Ties that bind

Creating this one-of-a-kind keepsake is sure to make your grandchild feel special. But beyond this, "you are making a family treasure that future generations will appreciate," says Jill Davis, founder and president of, an Internet site that offers ideas, tips and products for those who make scrapbooks. "This is your chance to preserve a little history, leaving something meaningful behind that your loved ones will cherish more and more as they grow older."

A scrapbook weaves memories, love and tradition into one package. This creates a sense of family connection and security for a child, says Susan V. Bosak, bestselling author of Something to Remember Me By and chairwoman of the Legacy Project, which fosters closer relationships between grandparents and grandchildren.

"Grandparents have an opportunity to make a difference, to send a message into the future with their grandchildren," says Bosak. "You never know what role a keepsake will play for your grandchildren as they live their lives. A special scrapbook you create today may give them just the strength they need when facing a very difficult life situation 10 or 20 years from now."

How to get started

There's no right or wrong way to assemble a scrapbook. Just include great photos and the stories behind them. Picking a theme makes it easier to decide what to include. Some themes to think about:

  • What I love about you. Is your grandchild brave, funny, smart or all of these? Choose photos that show the qualities you most admire. Write in your thoughts about how those traits will help your grandchild through life.

  • You and me. Do you have stacks of photos from visits or outings with your grandchild? Pick the best and group them onto pages, from oldest to newest. Add your memories or funny stories about those times.

  • Then and now. How is life different for your grandchild than it was for you? Compare your experiences by pasting photos from your childhood next to similar photos of your grandchild. The two of you may want to work on this together. That way, you can share stories and record thoughts about favorite toys, friends, foods and hobbies.

  • Holiday traditions. Here's the spot for all those photos of your grandchild opening holiday gifts, trick-or-treating, or gathered around a turkey dinner. Don't forget to add special family recipes or the reason behind a family custom.

Tips of the trade

Anyone can make a scrapbook without taking a class or spending a lot, Bosak says. Here's how:

  • Keep it simple. There's no need for costly supplies. All you need are a small blank book or album with acid-free pages, page protectors, good scissors and acid-free glue to attach photos. "Clean lines on a page are nicer," Bosak says, "and keeping the same two or three colors throughout the book keeps the flow going."

  • Tell the story. Make sure each page explains who, what, when, where and why for every photo. Your memories and thoughts give photos more meaning. If you can, write notes by hand, and use your grandchild's name. "Just seeing a grandparent's handwriting is emotionally powerful," says Bosak.

  • Get personal. Add treasures that can lie flat: a leaf from your yard, a quilt scrap, a recipe. Make color photocopies of chunky keepsakes (war medals, jewelry, hairpins) and paste in the image. "If there is an inspirational saying you live by or words of encouragement you want to share with your grandchild, write it down," Bosak says.

In a changing world, Bosak says, we all crave permanency. "By connecting grandchildren to something bigger -- even through something as simple as a homemade scrapbook -- grandparents give their grandchildren a sense of security and hope for the future."