making writing fun with a mini-me collage

Today, after lunch and before we went back to the pool for the afternoon, I hit the craft room with Maddy, Owen, and Cora to do something I always loved doing as a kid.

We took their Everyday Name Books from last summer and upped the fun factor a bit by partnering it with this week’s Smart Summer Challenge theme, Me on the Map. The combo of something my kids really loved doing last year–their Everyday Name Books–and something we’re doing this summer, The Smart Summer Challenge, really rocked the house.

Owen–my boy who admittedly, ‘doesn’t really like nature’, said, Mom, this was the best thing we ever did. It really was, and I’m totally not kidding.

Be still my heart.

Here’s the skinny:

  • Making Writing Fun with a Mini-Me Collage: I wasn’t really sure what we were going to do today–I’ll be totally honest. I knew I wanted to do something that involved a ‘me collage’ (okay, so I’m a few days behind on the calendar–no worries! it’s just for ideas. . . ), but I didn’t quite plan out where, when, or how.

So when I asked Maddy, Owen, and Cora to meet me in the craft room after we cleaned up from lunch, I noticed they each had pulled out their Everyday Name Books from last summer.  (I’m so not joking. I took them out a few weeks ago to take to a recent speaking event, but after that, I’m not sure where they landed or where the kids found them.)


Maddy’s searching for pictures that she loves, that represent her.


Maddy said, Are we doing our Name Books again this summer? I want to write my name in fancy cursive.

Ack. I planned to start them next week–I hadn’t even picked up new notebooks yet.

I said, We are so doing Everyday Name Books this summer, right before breakfast like we did last year. And yes, I’ll totally help you write your name in cursive by the end of the summer. Super idea.

In that second I was hit with the combo idea.  Knowing how much my kids love anything small and everything mini, I thought it would be cool to create mini-me collages on the covers of  the Everyday Name Books. Both Maddy and Owen had about half of their notebooks left, so why not?

So I said, Okay, you’ve got your Name Books, and I have a ton of magazines. Today, we’ll make our Name Books ready for this summer–we’ll fancify them and make them all about you so they’ll be a little bit different from last year. Cora, I have a new Everyday Name Book just for you since yours is filled.


Owen glues some pieces onto his Name Book. . .


A mini-me collage is so cool. It’s a tiny collage–a mix of pictures–that represent you.  Things you love, things that remind you of you.

So we can flip through all of my magazines, cut out whatever we want, and glue them on the covers of our Name Books–front and back if you’d like or just one side. Let’s go!

. . . and he was very excited about the pizza roll he added right above his name.


When I say they got into it, they really got into it. An activity that I thought they’d not really buy into, they really, really loved.

Part of its success, I believe, was the size factor–these were small.

There wasn’t a ton of land to cover, so they had to choose their pictures carefully, but from the outset they knew this wasn’t going to take hours and hours and hours.


I also think that because they each have goals for name-writing–Maddy wants to write in cursive, Owen wants to write his first, middle, and last by heart, and Cora wants to write in upper and lowercase–they were more invested in creating their books.


The front of Maddy’s book is awesome. . .



. . . and the back was crazy cool–she dressed a gorilla.  (Her latest goal is to adopt a gorilla.)


I had the kids glue their pictures onto index cards because I wasn’t sure how well they’d stick onto the slippery notebook covers, and it worked out well.  The cards were easier to work with than having to manage the spiral part.

They really loved it.  Like I said, I got huge props from Owen, so I’ll totally do what I can to bring in more magazine-cutting and me-collage making in the next few weeks. Woot!

Tomorrow morning we’ll start our Everyday Name Books 2.0–just writing their name once a day to keep their fingers moving and brains remember how to write the most important word in their little lives–their name.


Please join Candace of Naturally Educational, MaryLea of Pink and Green Mama, and I for the Smart Summer Challenge, a six-week campaign where we all pledging to sneak in some sort of fun learning into our children’s summer days.

You can follow our calendar if you’d like, but you don’t have to.  You can get really crazy, but you don’t have to do that either.

It can be simple learning–even 5 or 10 minutes a day. Anything and everything counts, and all we ask is that you link up here on Fridays and share what you’ve done (meaning: share one way you participated). Each Friday for the next six weeks, we’ll choose one participant to receive an awesome (and I mean totally worth your time awesome) prize.

Our goal is to show all parents that if we can do it, anyone can do it. And if we want our kids meet with success in school and to enjoy learning about the world around them, it’s our job to create a lifestyle of learning for our families.  Join us!




  1. says

    We did the collages over here, too! They were so fun! I’ve got the post all ready to go live, I just need to add that button. :) I’m going to try and figure it out, but I might email you just in case. Perhaps my Summer Challenge will be “How Callie figured out to put a button on her blog.” :)

    • amy says

      Callie! You are a riot–glad to hear the me collages worked for you–and I just sent you an email, my friend, about the button. you an do it, girl!


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