Start a family summer keepsake collection

Sep 4, 2011 at 12:34 p.m. ET

Year after year, you collect the mementos of summer. Whether they are shells or rocks or magnets from your travels, caring for and showing off your summer keepsake collection is a way to hold on to that summer feeling all year long. Whenever you are missing summer - take just a glance, and you'll be transported.

Family collecting shells

Lots of people collect things on vacation. Some are more grown up, and some are more juvenile. Tshirts, yes, but also sometimes less common things - and having a thing you and your family try to acquire year after year can make for some fun searching in your travels. Collections of things like commemorative teaspoons and thimbles were fairly common in years past, charms for bracelets are increasing in popularity again, and things from nature like beach glass or pressed flowers are longtime favorites.

Collections, though, don't have to be just about travels. They can be about a time of year. Indeed, you can collect something as a family in each season of the year. Collections of some things tend to lend themselves to summer, so collect them and let them speak to your family about summer pleasures all year long.

Get the whole family involved

If you don't currently collect anything, now is as good a time as any to start. Ask your family what reminds them most of summer? Is it the summer amusement park visits? Exploring the tidal pools along the shore? Finding neat leaves and wildflowers on family hikes? Whatever it is, is there something you can take away from that -- a small thing?

Whatever you choose to collect, it should not be perishable. Shells, for example, should not still contain their animals! And if you are going to collect leaves and flowers, have a way to preserve them.

>> Get some ideas for fun leaf crafts here

Let them see the light

You can contain your collection in so many ways - just make sure the collection can be seen and enjoyed! Interesting rocks and shells can occupy a bowl on the side table or line the windowsills. Amusement park tickets can be pasted into an album or even framed, the contents updated year to year. Once dry, your leaves and flowers can be grouped and framed. Other things you collect can be displayed together in cases along mantels -- whatever the item calls for, really.

For more juvenile themed collections (baseballs from pro games perhaps?) let your kids' rooms hold them. It's sure to give them a smile almost every day.

Talk about them

Mid-winter, when summer seems so far away, talk about your memories of summer, and let your collections be your trigger. Let each member of your family talk about what the collection means to them and the memories they provide. You'll probably hear some interesting observations from your kids that you did not expect!

>> Decorate your home with nautical charm

Collecting something from summer is a great way to hold onto the feeling of summer. Let your collections, big or small out into the open and hold on to summer all year long.

How do you hold on to memories of summer? Please share your ideas below!

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