I love saving little mementos from the big, and sometimes not so big, events in my family’s life. Ticket stubs from a trip to local amusement park, a pretty pebble that my youngest found on a walk in the woods, and a tiny feather from a baby bird that we saw hatch in a nest outside our window are things that, by themselves, do not mean a lot, but together make up the memories of our years as a family. This year, in an effort to remain clutter-free while still preserving the tokens of our adventures, we have created a Year in Review Jar.
A Year in Review Jar is a plain jar, plastic or glass is fine, where you keep small mementos throughout the year. On New Year’s Eve, you open the jar and go through the items one at a time as a way to look back on the year. Since I wanted my three children to be able to put things in the jar too, I opted to use a recycled plastic peanut butter jar instead of a glass mason jar. If you want to keep with the green theme, you could also use an empty pasta sauce jar or even the glass jar from a holiday candle that has been used up. Just keep in mind that the size of the jar will determine the size of the objects you can save. If you want to save photos, make sure they fit in whatever container you select.
You could also apply the Year in Review Jar to your class at the start of a new school year. Use a decorative storage box or a pail with a lid so that you can save all of the important things from the school year. Kids love going through the memories and the jar inevitably brings a smile, a laugh, and sometimes a tear if there has been loss. The best part is that it is a great way to bond as a class or as a family.
Year in Review Jar
- Plastic or glass lidded jar
- Decorative Label
- Mementos collected during the year
- Wash and dry the selected jar thoroughly, especially if you are reusing a food container.
- Decorate the outside of the jar with your family or class’ name and the year. Example: “Mrs. Smith’s 3rd Grade 2012-2013” or “The Smith Family 2012”
- Throughout the year save ticket stubs, pictures, and other mementos of important or fun events. Place them in the jar for safe-keeping.
- On New Year’s Eve, open your family’s jar to review your year together. For a class jar, open during the last week of school and, if you want to, divide the mementos up among your students.
Do you do anything to save memories of your class or your family adventures throughout the year? Share with us below or on the Really Good Teachers Forums!