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12 Things You Really Have To Include In Your Kid's Kindergarten Memory Book

When summer arrives, parents of kindergartners find themselves stunned to realize that the year they simultaneously anticipated and dreaded is already over. What's more, they're even more astonished at how far their child has come since the day they first began this important school year. To mark this milestone, it's become traditional for teachers (and sometimes parents) to create a kindergarten memory book that will be kept, read and treasured for years to come.

Although students can make memory books at the end of any grade — or all of them, for that matter — creating one for kindergarten is especially significant. For some children, it's their first experience with formal education, so the entire year is an adventure in social skills as well as academic learning. And for all students, kindergarten is a time of tremendous growth. A child may go into the year barely able to write their name, and finish the year proficient at writing short sentences. Most kindergarten graduates can read simple books with common sight words, count to 30 and beyond, add and subtract small quantities, and display a large spoken vocabulary. They're more emotionally mature, too: better able to follow rules, sit quietly, make friends, and resolve conflicts by themselves.

These are just some of the topics that can be incorporated into a kindergarten memory book. Even if your child has already made one in school, you can still make one of your own to record the highlights you think best represent this important year. Then when first grade rolls around, you and your child can look at what they did in kindergarten and predict how much more they have to look forward to in the new school year.

A Self-Portrait

One popular activity in kindergarten is having students draw themselves on the first day of school, and then again on the last day. It's incredible to see how much a child's fine motor skills can improve between the ages of 5 and 6. This is when they enter the "schematic stage" of drawing, as explained in Early Childhood Central: Children at this age begin to add more details to their portraits of people, as well as indicating the ground and sky. They start to draw certain objects the same way in every picture (a square house with a triangular roof and two windows), and to create stories to go along with the pictures.

Favorite "All About Me" Things

What was your child's favorite color in kindergarten? Favorite food? TV show? Record it for posterity.

Favorite Things About School

Kindergarten memory books often ask kids to recall which class they liked best, what cafeteria lunch was yummiest, who their best friend was, the game they liked to play during recess, and so on.

Favorite Teacher/Thing About Teacher

Your child could either name their favorite teacher (kindergartens often have one homeroom teacher, plus specialized instructors for art, math, music and other subjects) or the thing they like best about their primary teacher. (Typical answers can range from "She's nice" to "I like her purple dress.")

Handprint

The ever-popular project usually finds its way into memory books, making parents misty-eyed years later when they've forgotten how small their child's hand used to be. Some teachers add a cute touch to the handprint, such as adding little faces and graduation mortarboard hats to the fingertips.

Future Plans

One cute idea from Pinterest has a Dr. Seuss-inspired memory page called "Oh! The Places You'll Go!" There, your child can write or draw what they want to be when they grow up, a place they want to visit, something they want to learn, etc.

Something Learned

Since kindergarten is all about acquiring new skills, memory books often include a section where students name something they couldn't do at the beginning of the year but are an expert on now: reading a book, tying their shoes, feeding the class pet, whistling.

Predictions

For fun, kids can offer their thoughts on what their lives will be like years from now: not only their future careers, but where they'll live, if they'll get married, how many children they'll have, how much money they'll have. You might end up with a few millionaires living on the moon, or a future veterinarian earning $100 and living in Disney World.

Friends' Names/Autographs

Teachers frequently use one of the back pages of the memory book as an autograph section, where classmates can sign their names and perhaps add a heart or two. Some teachers also include a full list of students' names, which can prompt some "whatever happened to?" musings in later years.

Favorite Field Trip

Class field trips are definitely one of the highlights of the school year. One entire page could be a "Field Trip" page where children can draw their trip to the farm or bowling alley and write a sentence or two about what they liked most about the day.

"What I'll Miss"

Have a tissue handy, just in case: A memory book can have a page or a line devoted to something the child will miss about kindergarten. It could be the teacher, the class pet, or the math games; hopefully the answer isn't "Nothing."

Teacher Poem

Finally, the teacher gets to have a say. A standard part of kindergarten memory books is a personalized note from the teacher or a little heartfelt poem. One often-used verse is reprinted here: "I'm glad I was your teacher/I've come to love you so./I can't believe the end is here/I hate to see you go./You're such a star/And I love you so dearly./You light up my life/I mean that sincerely./Remember all the fun we had/In all the things we did/But most of all, remember.../You're a very special kid!"

You can also take some time and think about what you wish you could remember about your 5 or 6-year-old self and include all those details about your kid in their book. No matter what you choose, they'll be so grateful you put it together when they look at it decades from now.