Stay-at-Home School Idea: DIY Yearbook

In many places, the formal academic year – albeit via Zoom and the like – is coming to an end. Many – if not all – of the familiar touchstones have been set aside. 

Today’s idea captures the memories, special moments, and people who touched our children’s lives the past year. Rather than lament the “loss,” let’s celebrate what an amazing, unique year it has been. This is a chance for your children to capture the memories in a way that’s meaningful to them.

Activity: DIY School Yearbook

Whether the yearbook something you create for yourself or share with family and teachers, tools like Canva, Smilebox, Shutterfly, among many others make it easy to create virtual or print-worthy books.

There is no right or wrong way to create your book. Want a theme? Awesome! Want things in chronological order? Go for it!

Before you start, work with your child to collect these items:

  • First Day of School photo.
  • Pictures taken during the school year, including sports, extracurricular activities, and things you’ve done as a family since sheltering in place.
  • Artwork. Scan pieces or take photos of larger pieces.
  • School logo. Some school websites have these images.

Next, create some “Favorites” lists: classes, teacher(s), project(s), foods/meals, family activities, sayings (the ones your child repeats like. All. The. Time.).

Add some pop culture content, either personal faves or broader research for the period September 2019 to May 2020. Starter ideas: popular songs or videos (YouTube, TikTok), movies, television shows, podcasts, and/or books.

Write a few yearbook signatures/autographs.

  • Teacher Prompts
    • Thank you for …
    • My favorite moment/project in your class was …
  • Friend / Classmate Prompts
    • Keep on [xxx]-ing [laughing, smiling, inspiring, playing (instrument or sport) etc.]
    • You made this year special because …

Last but not least, ask your child to write a “Dear Future Self” letter with 3 to 5 things they want to make sure they remember – or tell themselves – when they are older.

Book Inspiration

Sometimes sharing a book or two on a similar theme can trigger a memorable event, remind your student of a classmate or teacher, or simply inspire an idea. We included some of our all-time faves at the end of this post.

Curriculum Fits

The examples included in parentheses give a specific example of the educational benefits. There are certainly others.

  • Research (visit websites, collect data for “favorites” lists, find photos that fit with set criteria)
  • Communication (writing, sharing ideas, explaining feelings about others, advocating for ideas)
  • Language Arts (writing, listening, reading)
  • Art (imagination, spatial arrangement, drawing)
  • Analytical skills (logic, planning, sort chronologically, organize research data, prioritize content)

When it comes to books built around being in school, Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Big Nate are probably the most obvious. So we skipped those. We chose books with”internal style” that is a bit more original. Text that is complemented with doodles, sidebar notes, emails, school flyers, etc. One of a kind – like your yearbook.

Board Book (Ages 0 to 4)

None for this theme.

Picture Book (Ages 3 to 8)

Easy Reader (Ages 6 to 9)

Chapter Book (Ages 10 and Up)