Thursday, April 29, 2010

Memory Box

One of my favorite activities with bereaved children is to make Memory Boxes.  This is a fun activity, gives the child a nice keepsake, and has a lot of possibilities for conversation and reflection.

Materials needed: a box, magazines, Mod Podge, foam brush

You can use a shoe box or cigar box but I prefer photo storage boxes.  They tend to be sturdier and can hold more items.  Just be sure to detach the metal label holder first!  Put the lid on the box and then trace under the lid with a pencil, all away around the box.  This is your guideline for how high up you can glue images.  If the images encompass the whole box, the lid does not always fit correctly or rips the images off.

Speaking of images, there are two ways of doing this.  1) Give the child a pile of magazines and have them cut out pictures and words they like.  This method will probably extend the project by at least a week.  Make sure the magazines you have are child-friendly!  2) Have a stockpile of collage materials.  I have folders with big and small backgrounds, pictures of animals, people, food, "things", and then words/sayings.  The child can then go through each folder and pick out what they like.  (Plus, you will now have numerous opportunities to create collages!)

One thing I like to do is have the child pick items for the outside of the box that are "positive", things they like, or the way they want to be seen.  The inside of the box can then be more private, i.e. how they're really feeling, things people don't know about them, etc.  They can also use pictures of their loved one on the outside or inside, depending on their preference.  The concentration will be on selecting images, creating a relaxed environment to discuss their loved one, how they're coping, and what their concerns are.

Once images are selected, it's time to start gluing!  Spread out some newspaper, pour the Mod Podge into a bowl (one you can throw away makes clean up a snap), and have the child consider where they would like to place the image. Decoupage doesn't tend to get too messy but the child will likely end up with a bunch of glue on their hands, even if they're using the foam brush. Have the child brush the Mod Podge onto the box surface and glue down the images. Use extra Mod Podge if something doesn't appear to stick quite right.  Once one side of the box is finished, seal the project with a final coat of Mod Podge. Generally we'll do the outside of the box one week and the inside of the box the next week...making this a, you guessed it, two week project.  Allow to dry thoroughly before the lid is put on the box.

If the child wants, they can discuss or show you what they'll be putting in the box.  It may be keepsakes or pictures related to their loved one or it might be a cool place for them to keep their rock collection or school papers.  It's up to them!  

1 comment:

karen gerstenberger said...

Congratulations on your move. I will look forward to hearing where you & God go together.

I recently learned about Camp Erin, a bereavement camp that was created by the Moyer Foundation. Have you heard of them/had any involvement with them?

Blessings to you.