Break Out of Busy

The end of the school year comes with a rush of concerts, recitals, championship games, school events and graduations. It is an exciting time to celebrate your child’s accomplishments and the friendships you have made over the course of the school year. It can also be insanely busy. Like, makes the holiday season look restful busy.

So, how do you enjoy this busy season instead of getting overwhelmed by it?

Listen to Your Child

Make time to talk with your children. Ask them questions and remember to take the time to listen to the answers they give you. Do they need a break?

last+minute+holiday+gifts+custom+video+family.png

If there is a party they want to skip and they can skip it, let them. Sometimes less really is more, so let your children lead you and give them the space to rest if they feel like they need to tap out and take time to restore their energy.

Stay Present in the Moment

Put down your camera. Set aside your To Do List, and engage all of your senses in the moment that you are experiencing. If your child is performing a song she has written, listen to it, look at her. Take in the moment for what it is.

busy moms end of school year.jpg

These moments are short, even though they represent so much preparation and progress. Do everything you can to recognize and appreciate them for what they are - and to encourage your children to do the same - rather than racing from one calendar alert to the next.

Celebrate Each Other

There is a reason why celebrate is our Word of the Year. It is so important to celebrate each other and the wonderful things we do together and on our own. Your children feel proud and happy when you celebrate them and the work they have done.

celebrate end of year busy moms.jpg

As a parent, when you take the time to celebrate, you are also taking the time to slow down and savor the moment. You are giving yourself permission to enjoy things for what they are and to enjoy each other for who you are.

You may still feel exhausted at the end of the school year, but you certainly won’t feel like it was wasted time.

3 Questions to Ask Your Kids to Connect to Nature and Each Other

The weather is beautiful in NYC today! Take a moment when you can (or even when it’s so busy you feel like you can’t) to ask your kids these three questions. They’ll help you connect to the beauty around you, and to each other.

springtime changes.jpg

So power down those screens, and encourage your kids (littles and bigs) to look up, down, and around. They’ll discover the beauty, the simplicity, and the power of the natural world around them. And you are very likely to be reminded of the beauty, simplicity, and power of the children you are raising. It’s all about those small moments that matter, friends, as we head into Earth Day, and EVERY DAY.

Look Up - What shapes do you see in the clouds?

This one never gets old, but how many times do we stop and ask it? Finding shapes in the clouds is the first step to creating and sharing stories. '

earth day for kids.jpg

Before you know it, your kids will be scanning the sky for characters to add to their tales. And you will be joining right along with them. Suddenly, the walk home from school, or the trip to run errands won’t have you feeling so sluggish. You, and your kids start to feel energized by the stories you are creating, the world you are discovering, and the nature all around you that provides an endless source of inspiration.

Look Down - How many sprouts do you see?

Have no fear, city moms, this question is just as much for you as it is for our friends in the suburbs and out in the country. Get your kids to look down at the base of trees as they’re walking along the sidewalk. Ask them to peek in people’s front yards (no matter how small), and even the cracks in the concrete.

How many sprouts can your kids see? Are some of them crocus plants, are others grass? Have them guess what is growing, how big it will get, what color it will be.

earth day with kids.jpg

Let their imaginations run wild! Is that little weed you see growing between the sidewalk cracks going to grow up to be a tree? If it did, and we climbed it, where would it go, what would we find? How many birds would call it their home?

With a mix of imagination play and nature learning, you will be amazed by how much creativity and joy you awaken - for your kids and for you!

Look Around - How does this street look different today than it did yesterday?

The world around us is always changing, especially during springtime. Try to catch as many of those moments as you can by taking stock of the space around you and recognizing all the little changes that happen in such a short time.

sprouts spring changes.jpg

This exercise is a great way to get conversations going with your kids, and to challenge them, and you, to really LOOK at everything around you. At first, you may not notice that there are more blooms on the tree, or that the petals are starting to give way to summer style leaves, or that the buds have started to turn into flowers. But when you ask about it, and start to look for changes, and talk about what you see, you and your children will realize everything that happens in a day, and just how lucky we are to be able to experience it.

And that, friends, is a moment that matters.







Thanksgiving Conversation Starters

We are big fans of Thanksgiving at Portraits that Move because it brings together our favorite things - family and gratitude (and food!).

There is nothing like gathering together around a table to share stories and relish in the small moments that make our lives, especially our family lives, rich and memorable. But, as natural as it is to have conversations with our loved ones, the conversation doesn’t always flow naturally.

Thanksgiving Conversation Starters.png

Don’t worry. We’re here to help you get the conversation started and keep it going this year at your Thanksgiving table. Try these tips for a fun, stress-free Thanksgiving for families of all ages and sizes. Our conversation starters and Thanksgiving table games are guaranteed to bring joy to your table, and to teach you things about your family that you never knew.

Make the Alphabet Game the Gratitude Game

I’m thinking of something that begins with the letter…

We all know the popular road trip game, where you work your way through the alphabet, guessing something that begins with each letter of the alphabet while the person who is “it” provides clues to the guessers.

Customize this game for your Thanksgiving table. Take turns going clockwise around the table (or starting youngest to oldest). The first person who is “it” says “I’m grateful for something that begins with the letter A.” Each person around the table guesses what that is based on hints.

This is a fun, easy, and interactive way to share what you are thankful for. It is also a natural way to start a conversation around gratitude, and to teach you what little things matter to your loved ones.

Popsicle Stick Conversation Starters

Craft stick conversation starters are one of our favorites! We have a complete DIY guide to creating these fun, reusable conversation starters that are perfect for Thanksgiving table games and throughout the year.

DIY Popsicle Stick Conversation Starters for Kids and Tweens
What you need:
2 mason jars
1 pack of large craft sticks
markers (we chose brightly colored and metallic Sharpies to make it extra fun)
a list of creative questions for kids

diy conversation starters for kids mason jar craft stick.JPG

See more suggestions and tips for creating your own craft stick conversation starters. For Thanksgiving, you can customize the colors, add festive stickers and coordinate your sticks to go with your table and decor themes. It’s a great way to get the kids involved in holiday prep and to keep their hands busy while you are finishing up your last minute cooking and decorating!

Favorite Things and Follow-Ups

After everyone is seated at the table, instruct them to put their place cards in a hat (or a pumpkin, cornucopia or Thanksgiving themed cup!). The person at the head of the table pulls out one name at a time and asks that person to name one of their favorite things.

After that person shares a favorite thing, encourage everyone else around the table to ask questions about it so they can learn more. Questions can include “has that always been one of your favorites?” “What makes you like that so much…”

Other favorite things follow-ups should include things like “That’s a great book! When I was your age, my favorite book was…”

This is an easy way to learn more about each other. Favorites and follow-ups is a particularly good game if you have tweens and teens at your table who want to share but don’t always know how, and who sometimes feel too on the spot when they are barraged with questions. The key to getting kids to talk honestly and openly is to create space in which they feel comfortable, rather than exposed.

Cheers to comfortable spaces, laughter around tables, and conversations that create memories well beyond the holiday.

Happy Thanksgiving!

What Do Our Children Really Think about the Holiday Season?

Busy parents are a whole new kind of busy when the holiday season kicks into gear.  We have all seen that mom - or been that mom - who is running around to holiday shows, parties, picking out gifts for teachers, wrapping late into the night, and baking... and baking... and baking.

By the time we get the chance to sit down and enjoy a meal or a party with our family, those of us moms who have been running around since the week before Thanksgiving making lists and checking them more than twice, are ready to drop.  In our quest to create seasonal magic for everyone around us, we have exhausted ourselves.  And we have to wonder, have we exhausted our kids, too? 

Is there any joy left to the season, or did we schedule and plan our way out of it?

It's time to rewind and slow down before our kids become as overwhelmed as we are and the first step to doing that is by asking our children.

holiday video card.png

Asking the right questions and creating space to really listen to our children helps us to determine what traditions matter to them, and what we should skip this year.

Their answers might surprise you.  Maybe they enjoy doing a holiday craft or taking out ornaments with their baby pictures on them.  Maybe they look forward to watching a favorite movie because they like how you sing the words to all the songs and, more than anything, our children want to see us happy.  They want to know that they can bring us joy and we can share joy with them.

The gifts, the parties, the Instagram-ready decorations and desserts can be wonderful, but ask your children what moments really matter to them, what moments they think of when they consider what the holidays mean to them.  The moments might be smaller than you think, and far more special.

From all of us at Portraits that Move, we wish you a season filled with the small moments that matter, with the people that truly bring you joy.

A Gift for You

Purchase a Signature Portrait by December 31, 2017, and receive a 20% discount with code HOLIDAY2017.

Road Trip Tips for Great Conversations with Kids

Now that we have kicked off the unofficial start of summer, we are planning ahead for road trips, vacations, and summer travel with kids.  Travel with kids can be the perfect time to reconnect with them and to start meaningful, fun, creative conversations.

Our Portraits that Move Team put together three easy and fun road trip games that get the kids - and you - talking, sharing, and laughing.  We know that every moment matters, and we are here to help you enjoy and document yours.  Here's to good times, good talks, and a great summer!

I Spy a Story

Try this new take on a familiar game.  Have each person in your car take a turn describing something they see.  

The next step is where it gets really fun.  In addition to describing it, have your child invent a story about it.  When it is the next person's turn, have that person do the same, using the thing they spy as a new character in the story that you are creating together.

vacation videos portraits that move

If I were...

This is another game that involves taking turns, using imagination and telling stories.  Go around the car, to the right, starting with the driver.  

Have the first person say to the second, "If you were a..." and pick a person, place or thing.  The person whose turn it is then has to answer a series of questions from that point of view.  Ask three or four questions to each player.

Example:
Mom: "If you were a monkey, what would your favorite food be."
Sam: "Banana ice cream!"
Mom: "If you were a monkey, what would your favorite color be, and why?"
Sam: "Brown, because it matches everything and it makes it hard to play hide and seek."
Mom: "If you were a monkey, what would your favorite song be?"
Sam: "Hmmm...."

Twenty Questions

This old favorite is a good way to build communication skills and to learn how your child understands the world around her.

Each person takes a turn thinking of something.  The other players ask questions (up to twenty) to determine what that person is thinking of.

All of these activities do more than pass the time while you are traveling with kids.  They help to connect you to each other by strengthening the bonds of communication.  You are sure to laugh, to go on some wacky tangents, and to discover new things about each other.  And isn't that what time away with family should be all about?

What My Son Taught Me About Listening

The other day I took my son to the pharmacy with me. When I got to the counter, the woman there, who has helped me many times noticed him and our relationship. "He is so cute she said, how old is he 9?" I agreed and then we got into a conversation of how fast the time goes, and how special life is with a young child.

Then something else happened, the woman started opening up to us. She told us that she had never had her own children, but had a nephew. She had been unemployed for the first year of his life and had been very involved in his care. He was very dear to her, almost like a son to her. She was deeply connected to how fast he was growing up, how short the time is and how precious each moment is. The conversation went on for a good ten to twelve minutes.

Eventually, we paid and left the store. After a pause, my son said to me, “Mom, she really wanted to talk to you today. She had a lot of things to tell you.”

I hugged him and said, “That’s true honey, but sometimes the best gift we can give someone…” He interrupted me: “I know mom, the best gift we can give someone is to listen because everyone has a story to tell, right?”

My eyes filled up with tears. I was so grateful that he knew this intuitively. He was open to her and to listening. My son showed me that he values storytelling and, more importantly, human connection. As parents we often wonder if we are doing a good job. We question whether the life lessons are sinking in and making sense. On this day, I was thrilled to realize that my son, had things to teach me.

And I was grateful that I was able to listen.

This week, take an extra moment to listen to the stories of those around you. Most importantly, take a moment to listen to your children, and to find those opportunities where they can teach you.

Keep the Conversation Going: How to Communicate and Connect with Kids from Wherever You Are

This morning I boarded a plane for a work trip to Orlando to attend a board meeting for the Kids in Need Foundation. I was looking forward to the trip. I am proud of the work we do and I always leave our meetings feeling inspired and energized.

Still, I felt sad as I said goodbye to my son. I hate missing time with him. And even though the tasks of parenting can sometimes feel monotonous, I enjoy making his lunch, our walks to school and our evening routines.

This morning he seemed a bit quiet which made me feel that he was having similar feelings. At nine years old, he may not be able to express them, but I think any time we are separated from our children there is a slight amount of discomfort for everyone involved. And perhaps with children of divorce this may be even more so. 

It got me thinking about how to stay close to him while I am traveling. How can we both stay in tune with each other when we are hundreds of miles away? I think technology is an amazing tool we can use. I will facetime to connect with my son when he gets home from school. I will show him my hotel room and encourage him to do the same for me. I’d like to see his homework sheet, his dinner, the smile on his face. 

And we can stay close by asking some good, deep questions. Here are some questions that evoke answers that go beyond yes or no:

  • What was your favorite part of your day today?
  • What was the worst part?
  • Did someone do something for you that made you feel really special?
  • Who did you have lunch with?
  • What is new with your friends (and name them specifically)?
  • Did you learn something today that made you feel excited? If so, what was it?

I will also tell my son details about my day, the same way I do at home. That way he has a sense of where I am and what is happening. I will do the same tomorrow, all the while, reassuring him that I will be home tomorrow evening. It will be great to be reunited and in the meantime, we will stay close and our conversations will continue.

 

Overcoming Shyness: Tips for Working with Kids on Camera

People often ask me what happens if their child is shy or does not want to participate on the day we arrive to film their Portraits that Move video. I always respond with complete sincerity that this is not a problem at all.

Our main goal for the film shoot is to create an open, loving space for the child to be who they are. If they feel pressured, pushed or coerced in any way, it will not work.  We want your kids to know that we love them exactly as they are.

working with kids on camera tips

We recently did a holiday shoot for two girls, Savannah and Derby. For the second year in a row, we documented the sisters for their family's Holiday Video Card. We had spent time with them last year, we cherished them and the entire family loved their first video.

Still, when we arrived to shoot the video the next year, one of the girls, Derby, was not into us being there. Initially, she refused to talk to me. She did not want to do anything we asked of her and, at one point, she even hid from us.

tips to overcome shyness on camera filmmaking tips from kids director

I showed Derby love at every turn, letting her know that her feelings were normal.  I assured her and made her feel comfortable with the filming process in the following ways:

  • I let her know that she could show us and tell us what SHE wanted. All of her answers were up to her.
  • We loved her and smiled at her even through her protest. It is a weird situation to have a camera there - we acknowledged that, and we acknowledged her feelings.
  • We encouraged anything that would bring her comfort. You will see a purple stuffed snake throughout the video. She wanted it close to her, and we agreed.
  • When she said it was over for her, we wrapped it up. There is no reason to push a child beyond the point they are willing to go. Safety and comfort are most important.  Children need and deserve to feel in control of their own experience. After all, how can our kids show us their best selves if they feel uncomfortable?

Ultimately, the film captures Derby’s spirit beautifully. She is sparkly and loving and filled with fun. I loved spending the afternoon with her. I hope she felt the same. 

The Joy of Watching Our Children Grow

This year we have had the great blessing of working with some of our Portraits that Move families for the third year in a row. It is an incredible experience and all that I hoped it would be when I started Portraits That Move.

It is fantastic to talk to our children about what moves them, inspires them and motivates them. I love hearing about all of their feelings and observing how their interests and passions change from year to year. I am able to see the incremental change in a way that you as their parent may not always recognize. I think it is also fun for the kids. They are excited to tell me things - to show me how they have grown.

I am a person that has a heightened sense of the passage of time. As a result of the health challenges that I have had, I have always had an intense awareness of the fragility of life and the quick passage of time.  I want to preserve moments in time for you, for your family and for your children’s children.

The families that work with us year after year love having a personal catalog of our work. They enjoy both the process and the final family videos. I feel grateful for the trust they extend to me to listen to and connect with their children. I am grateful to parents for inviting me to capture the passage of time, to give the gift of time back to them, and to their children.  

The work we do, creating custom documentary quality videos of families, is a gift to each of us as Portraits that Move filmmakers. As we enter into the holiday season, I look forward to giving that gift to all of you. 

Activities with Kids that Spark Conversation

Engaging our kids in activities that make them feel comfortable, creative, inspired and open encourages them - and makes them feel comfortable  to have good, honest conversations with us.

Because celebrating the real voices of our kids, their insights, dreams, observations, and joy is so much a part of our mission as filmmakers, we have come up with some ideas for fun activities that create conversation.  These are great things to do over summer vacation and throughout the year.

Play Outside

The outdoors is full of inspiration for kids and adults. As stimulating as the out of doors is, it is free of the distractions of home.  You won't be tempted to try and put away all the toys in the playroom or check your email "just one more time" when you are outside, immersed in nature. 

activities with kids

Playing a game of catch, going on a nature walk, collecting shells, or searching for the perfect shady spot in the park all provide opportunities to ask and answer questions about the world around us and to get insight into what is on our children's minds and in their hearts.

Go For a Walk

Again, you are limiting the distractions that try to steal attention away from our kids, and you are limiting the distractions that prevent kids from focusing on their thoughts and engaging in conversation with us (it's pretty difficult to answer a question fully when they are indulging in some screen time).

take a walk together stop and smell the roses

Walking together gives your child the chance to fill you in on his or her day.  If possible, walk home from camp or from school.  Ask a mixture of precise and open-ended questions to remind them of different moments in the day, and to get a sense of what they enjoyed, what they didn't, and what those moments made your child think about and feel.  

Questions like "what was the best part of your day" or "who did you sit with at lunchtime" are easier for kids to answer than "how was your day."

Build Something Together

When we work on something together we need to communicate and to focus.  All of this helps to create a comfortable environment for conversation and for sharing.  We feel connected when we are working on a project together and kids gain confidence and feel proud when they are able to build something from start to finish. 

build something together

Get out some puzzles, look through craft books and science experiments and find a project that is challenging but not intimidating, that is collaborative and fun.  Talk with your kids first and let them help you choose what project you want to do together.  Talk about why you are choosing that project and talk, as you go, about what comes next, how the steps connect, and who should do what to make your project work.

Learn Something Together

It's good for our kids to see that we can still learn something.  Kids feel less shy when they see that we also need to go step by step and they feel excited, right along with us, as we make progress to learn something new.  

learn something together

Learn simple sign language, or try another new language (especially if your child is taking lessons in school or through an afterschool program).  Discover facts about animals or regions of the world, try out some new dance steps, or go to a music class together.  Learning something new together gives you a sense of shared accomplishment.  You can practice together and discover together, all the while nurturing an environment of communication, trust and support.

Cook a Meal

Integrate conversation and special time with your kids into your daily life.  Cook breakfast or dinner together.  Let your child help you choose what to make and include him or her in the preparation process.  Reading recipes and measuring ingredients helps younger kids build literacy and math skills and making a meal together sets the stage for good conversations.

cook together.jpg

If you are making breakfast, talk about your plans for the day.  If you are making dinner, talk abut your favorite moments of the day.  Talk about ingredients, flavors, and family traditions.  Preparing and eating food is a time honored way of connecting and sharing with others.  Using this time intentionally with our kids passes along traditions and infuses an everyday task with joy.

What the End of School Year Means for Parents

There are few moments when the passage of time is felt as acutely as it is at the end of the school year.  Surely, we are all looking at (and posting) the side-by-side First Day of School/Last Day of School photos on social media and remarking at how much our children and our friends' children have changed over the course of a school year.

Likely, we are also thinking in our more quiet, private moments, about how fast the time is going, how different our kids are from when they started the school year, and anticipating, already, how much they will have changed by the end of the summer, by the end of next year...

Celebrate these moments, mark these changes.  Listen to and look at your children as they are right now, carrying with them what they learned over these past few months, hearing their dreams for vacation adventures and all that lies ahead of them. 

Schedule a Portraits that Move portrait video session today, to honor the now, to preserve this moment, this year, this child of yours.  It doesn't need to be a holiday in the traditional sense, and it doesn't have to be a formal gift to a parent or grandparent.  Let this be your time to celebrate your children, their accomplishments, this moment, right now.

What the Huffington Post #TalkToMe Series Teaches about the Power of Conversation on Film

We have been closely following the Huffington Post #TalkToMe Series in which luminaries and entrepreneurs are interviewed by their grown children.

Interviewees include Melinda Gates, Michael Bloomberg, Richard Branson, Arianna Huffington, Laura Bush and many more.  For us at Portraits that Move, we are captivated by the ways in which these individuals, all of whom have been interviewed countless times before by the best in the business, open up when they are speaking with their children.

Image via Huffington Post

Image via Huffington Post

With this seies, we are witnessing, again, the beauty of conversation between parents and children and the power of film to bring those conversations to life.  The children in these cases are adults who are accomplished in their own right.  As part of the Portraits that Move filmmaking process, we interview children when they are young and just beginning to discover their dreams - and their voices.  But we see, and we know that you all do, too, that the same bond we develop with our children when they are babies grows and develops just as they do.

The bonds we create with our children through the conversations we have with them - time spent listening as much as speaking - help to empower them to be leaders, just like the subjects of these wonderful interviews. 

What conversations are you having with your kids?  Try some of our conversation starter ideas today.

See Portraits that Move in the Huffington Post.

Peek at Our Filmmaking Process

We talked with Max and Julian about video games, superpowers and what they love about mom.  We talked about how it feels to have a brother and to be one.

Throughout the Portraits that Move filming process, we asked Max and Julian questions independently and together.  We gave them space and time to really talk to us, to do more than introduce themselves and some of their favorite books and keepsakes (Harry Potter, a panda photo). 

Our questions and the environment we create during a Portraits that Move film shoot, allowed these adorable, imaginative boys, ages seven and nine, to tell us about some of their aspirations and their concerns. And as always, we got some priceless responses.

"growing up makes me scared because I have to pay taxes and make money"

"I appreciate my family because they're nice to me and they care about me.  I love them."

Like all of our portrait length and snapshot films, we as filmmakers and the family who received the final product, developed a new insight into children's lives.  And what a gift that is!

Discover your own Portraits that Move Portrait or Snapshot.

Lessons from My Son in Honor of Mother's Day

I always knew I wanted to be a mother. I have always loved kids and have enjoyed being around them.  As a teenager I babysat and was a camp counselor. I am very close with my mother and have admired her and emulated her. I have found mothering with many other women in my life and have consistently sought it out. Intuitively, I knew that mothering would come easily to me and that I would enjoy it.  

mothers day portraits that move mother and son lessons

Motherhood has, however, been wonderful in ways I did not expect. In the past eight years I have learned so much about myself, and about life in general, through the lens of parenthood. In honor of Mother’s Day, I thought I would share some of the surprises that have come along the way:

  • Meaning can come out of the mundane ~ I walk my son to school every morning and in the 9 minutes it takes to do that, we often have profound conversations. I cherish this time with him and the fact that we both know it is something we share. Before I was a parent, I would never have guessed that something so routine as a walk to school could be so important.
  • Joy is everywhere ~ My son loves to laugh, tell jokes and be silly. He can find something funny in almost any situation or setting. I am a more naturally serious person, so seeing life through his eyes has opened me up to much more fun.
  • Things can be healed quickly ~ When there is an issue between my son and I or when I witness one with his friends, I notice that he has the ability to get over things quickly and easily. I have learned from him to let things roll more easily, to focus on the closeness and the positive rather than the negative interaction.
  • Asking for what you want is critical ~ Kids have the ability to be clear about what they want and need and to ask for it. As adults we are much more clouded by what we think SHOULD happen and the rules around that, so we often favor manners over directness.  It has been eye opening to admit that asking for what we need feels good and is the route to honest relationships and deeper fulfillment.

This weekend and always, I celebrate all of our client who are mothers and all of the special women in my life who have mothered my son and me in all kinds of ways. I tell my son every day that I am grateful to be his mom. He laughs it off, but I believe he knows I mean it.  I love this life we have together - the lessons, the surprises and the fun.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Give the Gift of Portraits that Move

Celebrate your family and the lessons you learn and share with your kids this Mother's Day.  Give the gift of a Portrait or Snapshot Film to a mom that matters to you - or to celebrate yourself! 

Things Kids Say

There is nothing like a conversation with a child, or an overheard observation, to put a smile on your face.  One of the daily joys of documenting the lives of children for their families, is getting to interact with kids and hear their take on the world around them.

Book a moving portrait from Portraits that Move. 

Talking with kids, and even more so, really listening kids, gives us a glimpse into the world through their eyes.  It is at once exciting, new, precious and nostalgic.  And occasionally, it is hilarious.

More than anything, though, it is fleeting - these observations and conversations that we so often miss in the hustle of school dropoff and shuttling back and forth to activities and balancing work and home and kids and life.  Through it all, there is this desire to hit the pause button, to freeze on a moment, to come back to that conversation you had with your son that showed you who he is, and who he is becoming.  You want to go back to that evening at the dinner table when your daughter made you laugh, really laugh, and you realized this family of yours, these moments, they are what is precious.  And no matter how long these days and weeks can feel, they won't last forever.

But maybe the memories can.

 

 

Dreaming of Growing Up

One of the things that I most love to ask kids is what they want to be when they grow up. I find the answers they provide exciting, compelling and quite astute.  Kids are able to dream, they do not let limitations inhibit them. They are tapped into their strengths, their interests and what brings them joy. The world is open to them and it is incredible.

I get really excited about the idea of following our kids, as they get older to see if they hold onto the same dreams or if they change them in the some way.  I want to reflect their beauty, power and greatness to them. I want them to know that I believe in their biggest dreams.

As I child I dreamed of being an actress, a gymnast or a teacher. Although I started making video at fourteen years old, I never imagined my work would bring me to this path, this place, this moment. It is more fun, and more fulfilling that I ever thought it could be.  I wish the same for all of our kids.

Here’s to them and to the dreams ahead.

Why We Love February

February is a special time of year here at Portraits that Move.  We are busy creating Valentine video gifts and listening to kids talk about love.  They share what love means to them, who they love and why, and what their own special plans are for celebrating and sharing love.

That's one of the beautiful things about creating documentary style short films for families.  We have the privilege - and the responsibility - of helping kids communicate their love and joy to the people they love the most.

And we get to celebrate right along with all of you.  Through every film shoot, every hour in the editing room, and all of our conversations with kids and parents, we are living and sharing love and joy.

As we head into Valentine's Day, know that we love every one of you - our clients, friends and readers.  And we are so grateful to help you spread the love today and always.

Happy Valentines Day! 


Week of Giving - Portaits that Heal

Here at Portraits that Move, we have decided to turn #GivingTuesday into a Giving Week!  We are celebrating #GivingWeek because our team is excited by the idea of sharing what we do and helping families and children who suffer with illness to have a voice.  This week we are highlighting several organizations that serve and support children. The organization we have been working with most closely is Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, a national non-profit that funds childhood cancer research.

Recently, we created a portrait video celebrating Zach, one of the Alex's Lemonade Stand Heroes.   Zach is an athlete, a kid who loves baseball, swimming and his trampoline. He loves feeding chickens on the farm where he lives with his family.  In telling Zach’s story, we have created a keepsake for his family and a portrait of his strength. We are also helping to share the mission and the work of Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation to encourage and support an organization that does so much good for children and their families.

For us filmmakers, spending time with Zach was a huge gift. Zach's mother calls him a “High Octane Boy,” and we experienced his zest for life first hand. We loved the day we spent with him and hope that the experience of telling his story was healing to him.

Give Forward - #GivingWeek and Beyond with Portraits that Heal

What child do you know that you think would benefit from their story being told? How could we help further their healing by sharing their story?  Contact us about gifting a healing portrait from Portraits that Heal.

Can your organization advance its mission by helping kids share their stories? Tell us about the work you do and bring our professional, award winning filmmakers out to better help those you serve. 

In this season of giving, it is our great privilege to give hope, joy and voice through Portraits that Heal.

DIY Craft Stick Conversation Starters for Kids and Tweens

Talking with kids never ceases to amaze - and inspire - our Portraits that Move team.

This weekend, we had the pleasure of participating in the Runnin' Wild Toys Pop Up Book Fair on Court Street in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn.

popsicle stick game diy mason jar projects kids

In addition to chatting with neighbors and friends about Portraits that Move and our work making moving portraits, snapshot films and our new video alternative to holiday cards, we set up a fun activity for kids.  And as we so often find, it was just as much fun for us as it was for them.

Here is a quick rundown of our activity and some tips for making your own DIY conversation starters for kids and tweens...

DIY Popsicle Stick Conversation Starters for Kids and Tweens
What you need:
2 mason jars
1 pack of large craft sticks
markers (we chose brightly colored and metallic Sharpies to make it extra fun)
a list of creative questions for kids

conversation starters for kids diy game

How to play:
Write one conversation starter question on each craft stick and fill one mason jar.

Invite your kids to pull out a craft stick and read and answer the question.  Place that stick in the other mason jar and continue the game.

This fun activity engages kids, helps them overcome shyness, and encourages them to share their ideas and their experiences in a way that makes everyone smile.  It worked so well for us at the Book Fair and would surely be a fun addition to classroom activities, team activities and around the table during dinner or over the holidays.

Tip: Get the kids to help come up with some of the questions.  They will feel proud to hear others read and answer their questions and you will get more insight into what they like to talk about.

Sample Questions

If I could fly, I would…

When I hear music, I…

If I could be a book character I would be...

What I love most about my home is...

I am most proud of….

The hardest thing I ever learned how to do was…

The superpower that I have is….

Who is your best friend and why?

diy craft stick mason jar projects kids

Share Your Stories with Us
Join us on facebook and share your photos, questions, answers and video clips!  We would love to hear about all the fun you have creating conversations with your kids.

Back to School Help: A Safe Space for Everything Kids Are Feeling

This week marks the beginning of a new school year in New York and with it comes much excitement. I know my son will be thrilled to reunite with his friends, many of whom have been away most of the summer.  It is a time of new beginnings, new teachers, new school supplies, new sneakers.  There is a rush, some anticipation, a jolt of energy that comes with the back to school season.

And it is not only this way for the kids. As parents, we get excited for the year of learning ahead.  We welcome the routines and we are on the edge of our seats, hoping the transition will go smoothly and be full of ease for everyone involved.

Most of all, we cannot believe the time has flown by - they are starting kindergarten, third grade, high school. How could it be possible? They need to feel both our confidence and our questions. In feeling both, we stay connected to them, united, and close.

back to school help manage transitions talk to kids about feelings new school year


It is important to create space to welcome all of the elements of the back to school transition - the fun parts and the challenges. Getting older is hard for everyone and we need to let our children know that all of their feelings make sense, that we, in fact, have and have had the same sorts of feelings.

There is an opportunity here for parents to let our children know that the spectrum of our feelings is healthy. We can feel confident and have excitement. We can trust, yet wonder.

We are in it together with them and even though we are not the ones starting school, the renewal is so for all of us.