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Connection Corner

Capture moments at back-to-school time

back to school info graphic

Yesterday, a colleague showed me a picture that her daughter had drawn many years ago. She (my coworker) had found the picture while cleaning out her office and was moved by the memories it brought up. The picture - with its rough lines, uneven letters, and misspelled names - was an adorable memento of days gone by. Time passes more quickly than we’d like to admit, so we try to capture some of the moments before they’re gone.

The start of the school year is a great time for this! Use it as an opportunity for your whole family to reflect on the past year and look forward to the new one. Plus, using special activities as back-to-school traditions year after year can help you keep a record of the ways your family will grow and change together.

Interview your kids.

Check out 6 Questions to Ask Your Children as They Head Back to School for some great ideas to get your kids talking about who they are and what they like at this moment! As a fun extension, try having your kids interview other folks as well.

Share different perspectives.

Decide on an important family topic from the past year (maybe a vacation or a big life event) and have each family member write or draw about it from their perspective. Share your creations with each other to learn how your perceptions of the experience were similar or different. You’ll learn a ton about one another - and give your kids a great lesson in looking at things from someone else’s point of view.

Create a family cookbook.

Ask everyone in the family to list a few of their favorite foods or meals from the past year. Then, have them write out the recipe and draw or photograph that food. Collect the results in binder to make a keepsake cookbook. (Hint: if your children are young, have them draw a picture of their favorite food. Then, ask them how to make that food and transcribe their recipe and instructions on the back of the picture. The results will be adorable!)

Have each family member write an I Am poem.

Learn about this fun, creative method of self-expression, then have the members of your family write and share their own. It’s amazing to see how the responses to these prompts will change over time – for your kids and for you!


Emily Schoenfelder joined the Illinois 4-H team in 2017. Prior to this, she began her work in positive youth development with California 4-H and the YMCA. She specializes in STEM engagement, social-emotional development, and educator professional development.  

She received a Master of Science degree in recreation, park, and tourism administration from Western Illinois University.    

 When she is not writing curriculum or facilitating a training, you may find Emily sitting on the floor of her office, building marshmallow catapults out of popsicle sticks or designing mazes for robots for her next STEM program.  


Connection Corner is a blog that provides timely information, activities, and resources to help you stay connected to loved ones, the world around you, and yourself.