When my oldest son was seven-years-old I made him a “52 Things I Love About You” card deck. I placed a white label on each playing card of a new deck of cards and wrote something I loved about him on each card. My son is now twelve-years-old. I walked into his room a couple weeks ago and found the deck of cards lying on his desk and learned that he still sometimes gets them out and looks at them! I was surprised. My so-tough, strong-willed, almost-teenage son not only kept the cards I thoughtfully made for him all those years ago, he actually still pulls them out and looks at them!
After seeing how much the cards meant to my oldest son, I decided I would do the same thing for my youngest son, who is on the verge of turning six. This time I decided instead of using white labels and a sharpie, I would create a Word document to make my 52 labels for each of the cards.
At first the idea of thinking of 52 different positive things to say in general seemed a little overwhelming. It’s not that I wondered if I could come up with 52 things that I love about my son – give me time and I can come up with hundreds! But when you first sit and stare at your page of paper to do your brainstorming, it’s a little intimidating. Thus, I decided to use my Notes app on my cell phone and over the course of a couple hours, as I would think of something, I’d stop and make a note in my app. I personally found this much simpler and less intimidating than sitting at a blank sheet of paper or blank document on a computer screen. I was able to brainstorm 70 things (of the hundreds) that I love about my youngest child in no time!
That evening I sat and created a new Word document, inserted a table in the document and chose 52 of my brainstormed items to make sure to include in my deck of playing cards. After printing my table out, I cut each individual rectangle and glued one item onto each card with a glue stick. I also created a label for the card box: 52 Things I Love About JACK.
The next morning after my youngest woke up, I asked him to sit on my lap and I read each card to him while he alternated between looking at his new cards and hugging my neck, grinning from ear to ear.
I don’t know if he will save his cards like his stronger-willed older brother has, but it was definitely worth it just to be able to spend that time with him sharing so many of the special things I love about him. As I did with my oldest, I’ll get them out from time to time and read them to him again and again – because every kid deserves a reminder.
There are a number of ways you can vary this keepsake activity. You can use white labels and a Sharpie marker like I did with my oldest son. You could also just use a Sharpie marker to write on the actual cards themselves. If you want to get really crafty, you can print and cut out pictures to glue onto the individual cards. You can also hole punch your cards and bind them together with a ring or two to assure that the cards stay together.
Free Printable List of Ideas
For this post I typed up my initial 70-item brainstorming list to share in case anyone might need ideas or some help getting started. Just remember to personalize your own list for your child, as all of our kiddos are unique and special in their very own ways. Click below to see my own list.
52 Things I Love About You