Linda Sellers guest posts today for Mom It Forward. She is a mom of 3 teens and consultant for Rodan + Fields Skincare. She can be found blogging at Short Pump Preppy about her love of digital art and product reviews, and is the Buzz Editor for BlissfullyDomestic.com.
Kids today grow up in a digital world, and thankfully with the programs today you don't have to be the artistic type to have fun and engage with your kids. Chances are they already know more than you do. I first got involved with digital design and Photoshop because my kids played around with it when they were pre-teens. They got me started in what has become a hobby for me. And a way to connect with my kids...
We have used digital art in fun and crazy ways in our family. If you've ever seen my blog, you know I'm not afraid to Photoshop my head on anything. This began as a family tradition making placecards for holiday meals. Technology has improved and so have the cards. Mr. Turkey looks better from year to year! (I know, the "izzles" were big a few years ago...I make no apologies.) The kids pick out their head shot and whoever has the time, designs and prints the cards. Guests find it quirky, but the "non-traditional" is so much more fun for kids, and really sets a fun tone to the holiday meal.
...why yes, thank you, I do look better with age...
Inexpensive or free programs like photobucket and gimp provide a lot of the same photo manipulation tools that Photoshop does. Instead of buying traditional cards, taking the family photo and sending the classic cookie cutter versions, (which are wonderful and Grandma probably needs one of those), engage the kids in some digifun with the holiday cards. I had the kids each make their own portrait with a user friendly filter and print cards for relatives one Valentine's Day. This was a group project and they worked together to create the designs. Even the Big Guy! They turned out so cute, we printed them and framed them for our gameroom hall.
Family includes pets! Kids love animals and what better way to engage them than having them decorate photos of their animals. Look for free clipart online or check out inexpensive clipart sites like my favorite iclipart.com. Have the kids actually draw on the photos in free programs like paint. Frame fun pictures of the family pets for the kids rooms or common areas. Many people have photo printers or access to inexpensive printing and how cute to frame your cat in a bowtie or hat?
Sometimes it's the quirky, fun, and unexpected that will stand out in your kids minds and make the memories they take forward. My daughter is now giving similar gifts. Her friends photoshopped as the Spice Girls was a hit as a holiday gift. We do what we do for our family and friends, to connect and bring happiness into our lives and the lives of our loved ones.
Don't be afraid to think outside the traditional with digital art. Even when it seems they are laughing at you, I'll bet they are also laughing with you... So put on your silly face and create some fun memories.