My nephew lives in NYC about four hours away from us. We see him a couple of times a year, either when my sister comes down to DC or when we both go to my parents’ house for the major holidays. We don’t get up to NYC all that often, as my sister has increasingly pointed out to me (!). So for his second birthday last month, we loaded everybody up and made the trip to the big Apple to celebrate.
I wanted to get him a meaningful gift, something that wouldn’t be unused. I also know my sister has a small apartment — you know how that goes in NYC — and I didn’t want to get anything too big. Lastly, I know 2 is that age where they can start getting into games and things, so I wanted to make something educational that he could work on semi-independently.
I decided to make him a matching game. I just got my nifty laminating machine for another craft project a few months ago, and I needed an excuse to use it again. I had seen similar ideas floating around on mommy blogs and wanted to try it. Even better, I decided to use photos of our family members as the images that he would match, so it would be game custom-made for him. I figured he could get used to associating people’s names with their pictures, and then maybe we would all be more familiar to him. I added in my parents, my aunts, and my grandmother in addition to my kids. And I did his mommy and dad. And of course, the birthday boy had to have his own photo.
– color printout of photos, wallet sized (I printed these on regular printer paper)
– scrapbook paper
– glue (you could also use a glue stick, but I only had Elmer’s on hand)
– Popsicle stick (which I suppose probably wouldn’t be necessary if you had a glue stick)
First off, you need to get some good photos to work with. If I had to do it all over again, I would have made a point to get a clear headshot photo of all the family members I wanted to include in the matching game. I could have done this when I was home for Christmas if I had thought a little further ahead. As it was, I had to dig around for pictures, and then had to crop them to show the face clearly. This made the quality of pictures vary because of the different cropping I had to do.
After cropping all photos to show the face and shoulders, I used the Microsoft Picture Manager program and printed two copies each on the wallet size setting. Then I glued the pictures onto the scrapbook paper. It probably goes without saying that you want to glue these back to back, so that once glued, your photos show on one side and the print of the paper shows on the other side. I used the Popsicle stick to spread the glue evenly. You could have used the glue stick instead of the Popsicle stick with white glue. Since the computer paper was not the same size as the scrapbook paper (and I had a limited amount of scrapbook paper), I had to cut out some of the photos and arrange them so they would fit on the scrapbook paper. I guess you could say I had to “get them in where I could fit them in.” :-) The picture above is of me planning the placement of the photos. I ended up putting some single photos onto the right side of the scrapbook paper.
I wish I could have sewn some sort of drawstring bag to store the matching game, but I ran out of time before our trip. I ended up storing them in a Starbucks tea container, which is a cute little metal box that he can carry with him. Even with that I wanted to modge podge the tea container but didn’t have time for that either. Needless to say the gift looked a bit homey in its undecorated Starbucks container, but I hope he likes it nonetheless!
Here are some parting action shots of our NYC Adventures.