I can’t believe summer is almost over. I’m sad about that. But I’m also looking forward to school routines and an end to the arguments over how much Xbox and Netflix is too much. But my teenagers are having a harder time accepting the end to endless days and late nights than I am. They have enjoyed having few demands on their time beyond a few chores and invitations to go to the beach with friends. The thing is, we had a great summer. We took a road trip together and each of us took off on some solo camp and travel adventures. But since we all have phones with pretty good cameras, we have hundreds of photos of everything from the amazing sunset we watched from our kayaks to the kids' friends from camp. Rather than let those memories languish on our phones, I decided to turn them into tangible remembrances that we can share with each other and friends. Maybe having a slide show of their summer’s adventures -- or a wall showcasing those memories -- will make the transition back to school easier? At least they will have a ready answer when someone asks, "What did you do this summer?" There are tons of ways to take those photos and turn them into something easy to share. But here are three that are easy enough that teens might even get involved.
Before we went on our family road trip, I set up a notebook using Springpad, an online scrapbook and note-taking tool. It was a simple matter of clicking a button to remember the Web site for restaurants, museums, events, and activities I thought we might want to do. It displayed my research in a an appealing bulletin board on my screen. Then I shared it with my husband and kids and encouraged each of them to get the app for their own smart phone or tablet. That way, we all had my planning notebook handy at all times. While we were touring colleges, visiting museums, or enjoying a meal, I took photos and added them to Springpad thereby transforming my research into a scrapbook of our adventures. And since everyone already has the app, they could also add their own photos to it. And now everyone has a scrapbook – right in their pocket – of our trip. So when classmates ask, “What did you do this summer?” They can get out their phone and show them -- with plenty of details. Springpad.com, free; apps for iPhone, iPad, Android, the Web
Tablet and phone slideshows are handy. But I also thought it would be nice to use the walls in our house to turn some of our adventures into art. SnapBox made this super easy. I uploaded some photos I liked to the site – you can also email them directly from your phone or send them right from Facebook – and let the site take it from there. A few days later, a package arrived with beautiful canvas images showcasing moments from my adventures stretched over a box frame and ready to hang. They look great on my wall and remind me of the fun I had every time I walk past them. SnapBoxez.com, one 8 x 10 framed photo is $20
Upload your photos here, arrange them into albums, and build a stunning Web site to showcase your photos easily. Or share them from here to Google+, Twitter, email, or Facebook. Your photos will be securely – and privately if you wish -- stored and easy to find, even if you drop your phone in the drink. You can also turn photos into prints, cards, coasters, books and business cards right from the site. SmugMug.com, plans start at $40 a year
If you use an Android phone, camera, or tablet to take photos, you can set it to automatically back your photos up to Google+. So, sharing an album of photos from a trip is a simple matter of choosing the photo, choosing who to share those photos with (I have a family group set up so this is easy) adding some commentary, and clicking “Share.” Google.com/+, free, mobile apps for Android and iOS Christina Tynan-Wood has been covering technology since the dawn of the Internet and currently writes the Family Tech column for Family Circle. You can find more advice about buying and using technology at GeekGirlfriends.com. Follow her on Twittter!